A Path to Government Contracting

One of the Small Business Administration’s mission is to continuously expand Federal contracting opportunities for Small Business. In 2016, they established the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP) to extend SBA approved mentor-protégé relationships to every small business. The program was designed to enhance the capability of the protégé firms to win Federal business utilizing the mentor company’s business development capabilities and substantive project experience.

The SBA created the program in 2016 to apply a consistent requirement for all socioeconomic-program small business categories. The SBA ASMPP Program has a process for application and approval by the SBA ASMPP Qualifications include:


  • Be a small business with industry experience
  • Have a proposed mentor prior to applying for the program
  • Be organized for profit or as an agricultural cooperative
  • Have no more than two mentors in the business’ lifetime


  • Be organized for profit or as an agricultural cooperative
  • Have no more than three protégés at a time
  • For the SBA to approve the mentor-protégé agreement:
  • The SBA must determine that the mentor-provided assistance will promote real developmental gains for the protege, not just act as a vehicle to receive federal small business set-asides
  • An SBA “determination of affiliation” must not exist between the mentor and the protege
  • The qualification criteria are fully defined in Title 13 Part 125.9 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

The ASMPP includes the added benefit of allowing approved ASMPP vendors to develop a Joint Venture (JV) to compete on contracts, including small business set-asides.  While each socioeconomic category has its own regulations, they all share the same requirements for the creation and function of a JV.  Remember that the JV must be approved by the SBA in addition to the approval for the ASMPP program.

What is a Joint Venture Agreement?

There are specific requirements and roles for each member of the Joint Venture.  To receive SBA approval, the mentor and protégé must execute a JV agreement to be approved by the SBA.  There are only three rules to maintain the JV:

  • The Joint Venture must perform the appropriate percentage of work based on the subcontracting requirements;
  • The protégé must perform 40% of that and not be limited to “administrative or ministerial functions”;
  • The Joint Venture must submit annual reports to the SBA and the contracting agencies explaining how the work is being performed for each contract.

The ASMPP and subsequent JV are “training wheels” for small protégé firms—SDVOSBs, 8 (a)s, and HUBZones, etc.—to build confidence, past performance, and sound processes for winning and successfully delivering Federal contract work.

If you have additional questions, please contact Coley by email  at hello@coleygsa.com or phone at 210-402-6766.

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