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This just in from the Mid-Tier Advocacy Group:

House Resolution 1611, dealing with advanced small business needs, is the most thoughtful and relevant piece of legislation for both growing small businesses and the federal government in years. It has the support of the DoD Office of Small Business Programs Director, Mr. Andre Gudger. Last week at the Army Material Command’s small business conference in Huntsville, Mr. Gudger talked about his support for this legislation both in its creation and his expectation that it passes as it is currently written in the House’s version of the 2013 Defense Authorization Act (HR 1611). Mr. Gudger stated:

so one thing I will do is make sure that small businesses who are successful, who grow their businesses because they’re good and they invest in their people and they take good care of them will not be penalized, and so I took over this program, as a pilot called the Mid-Tier Program…

…make no mistake about it, I don’t want to do anything that would stop us and harm the Department of Defense Industrial Base from creating entrepreneurs, whether it’s a one-man company or a five-man company. That’s first and foremost. We need more people starting more businesses in this country. So number one.

The number two, if we can successfully do that, then I think that there’s a place for programs that don’t penalize those companies who have grown to be more than a small business. So it’s in the FY13 National Defense Authorization that I do expect to pass, even before the budget talks pass.”

We are grateful for Mr. Gudger’s support and we hope to have support of the Senate as we do the House of Representatives. HR 1611 will not only help advanced small business continue to grow but will also help the federal government meet its current small business contracting goals, which it consistently fails to do.

Without HR 1611 we run the risk of creating a government contracting oligarchy that will reduce competition and drive up cost for the federal government. We can no longer continue to enable the great divide between large and small businesses in government contracting.

Please call your senators and congressmen and ask them to support HR1611 and see to it that it is added to final version of the 2013 Defense Authorization Act.

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The All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program

SBA had a well-established mentor-protégé program (MPP) for SBA 8(a) certified firms but lacked an MPP program for other small business concerns and specifically, one for specialized certified concerns such as WOSB, EDWOSB, SDVOSB, & HubZone. The 2010 Jobs Act and 2013 NDAA gave SBA the authorization to address this by establishing an all-encompassing mentor-protégé program. Ms. Sandi Clifford, deputy director of the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP), visited the Mid-Tier Advocacy (MTA) earlier this year to discuss the program. Here are some of the highlights of this candid and informative discussion: As Ms. Clifford explained, mentor services to protégés include: • Management and technical assistance (internal business management systems) • Financial assistance (in the form of equity investments and/or loans) • Contracting assistance (contracting processes, capabilities acquisitions and performance) • International trade education (learn how to export, international trade business plan, finding markets) • Business development assistance (strategy, finding contracting and partnership opportunities) • General and/or administrative assistance (business processes and support) As administrators of the program, SBA provides: • Central HQ as opposed to 8(a) distributive model • Online application – certify.sba.gov • Online course tutorial requirement • Annual review and evaluation • Template agreements, i.e., MPA (Mentor-Protégé Agreement) Other All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP) details: • A protégé may generally only have one mentor at a time; SBA may approve a second (two is the maximum) where no competition exists, or if the protégé registers under a new NAICS or otherwise requires new mentor skills.  • Both protégé and mentor must be for-profit (with exception of protégé being an agriculture cooperative). • A mentor may have no more than three protégés at same time (no lifetime limit). • A participant can be both a protégé and mentor at the same time, if there is no competition or conflict. • The ASMPP is self-certifying and is open to businesses who qualify as small in their primary NAICS code, or who are seeking business development assistance in a secondary NAICs where they also qualify as small.  • SBA will not authorize MPAs in second NAICS in which firm has never performed any work; or where firm would only bring “small” status to Mentor and nothing else. • Existing 8(a) firms in last 6 months of the 8(a) program may transfer their MPA to the ASMPP via the online application process. Coordinate with 8(a) office to fine tune the process but there is no reapplication required. • Application requirements include upload of business plan, but no financial statements or tax returns. • JV agreements: ASMPP will not review and approve joint venture agreements. How to apply for the ASMPP: • Applicants are required to register in the System for Award Management (SAM) prior to submitting their mentor/protégé application. • Complete your business profile in certify.SBA.gov. • Evaluate and select your mentor prior to applying. This is not a matching program. SBA will not find a mentor for you. • Begin the ASMPP application process. • Protégés and mentors must complete the online tutorial and have their certificate of completion and all other required documents ready for upload Thank you to Sandi Clifford, Deputy Director, All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, for this helpful overview. TAPE has mentored several small businesses over it’s life as a large business (we’re large in some NAICS codes, though still small in others) and it has been gratifying, satisfying, and integral to our success. As protégés ourselves, we have benefitted from working with some really classy large businesses, and have also had the experience of being a protégé and really getting no tangible benefits. We are currently working with two small businesses, and negotiating ASMPP agreements. You can learn more about the ASMPP on the SBA site. To join MTA and attend future events like this one, please visit www.midtier.org.
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