Legal Blog

SBA’s New Final Mentor/Protégé Program and Related Rules

SBA finally has cleaned up, or tried to clean up, its mentor/protégé and related rules.  You can read the Federal Register publication explaining SBA’s activity here.

Here’s a high-level summary:

  • Mentor-protégé rule changes: eliminates the separate 8(a) mentor protégé program and combines it with the all-small mentor protégé program; also clarifies what happens when a protégé is looking for a mentor in a NAICS different than its primary NAICS.
  • Joint Venture rule changes: alters when SBA approval is needed for a joint venture agreement, eliminates the 3-in-2 rule, and clarifies the limitations on protégé subcontracting.
  • Multiple award contracts: clarifies when a small business size certification is required, and differentiates task orders awarded under an unrestricted multiple award contract versus restricted MAC.
  • Size recertifications generally: changes when recertifications may be required, including when a merger or acquisition occurs.
  • 8(a) follow-on contracts: defines follow-on work, and clarifies how an agency can move 8(a) follow-on work outside of the 8(a) program.

The old rules had ambiguities, many of which the new rules eliminate.  But, the new rules have created new issues which will be fleshed out over the next year or so during size and related protests.  Stay tuned, and let us know if you have any questions about your particular current situations and how the rule changes may impact them.


Ed Tolchin is a Principal in the firm’s Government Contracting practice group. Mr. Tolchin’s practice is focused on government contracting, business litigation and transaction, and technology matters, including blockchain enterprise solutions.

In government contracting issues, Mr. Tolchin represents prime and subcontractors in contract negotiation and formation matters and in disputes involving both government and commercial business issues. He has been involved in procurement cases before many of the federal and state boards of contract appeal, Government Accountability Office, Small Business Administration, United States Court of Federal Claims, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and other federal and state courts across the United States.





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