Small and large businesses seeking to take advantage of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) new All Small Mentor-Protégé Program will now have to jump through an extra hurdle as part of the application process.

The SBA began accepting applications for the new program on Oct.1, 2016.  The program allows any qualifying small business to partner with a large business to bid on small business set-aside contracts as a joint venture, provided the small business qualifies for the award.  

As of Nov. 1, 2016, both mentor  and protégé applicants must complete a 30-minute training module, “Is SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program a good fit for my business?” as part of the application process.  The training module is available on the SBA website. Businesses that submitted their applications prior to Nov.1, 2016, will also have to complete the training module.

The SBA’s website also includes a form template for a Mentor/Protégé agreement; although, businesses should take care to tailor any agreements to their specific situations and not overly rely on the provided form.  The SBA is also reminding applicants that the relationship between the companies must be established prior to submission of an application – as the program is not designed to match prospective protégés and mentors.  Applications must be submitted to certify.sba.gov in order to be considered.