One America Community Efforts
Little Bar

Program: Department of Defense Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program, Arlington, VA
Contact(s): Janet Koch, Program Manager: (703) 697-9383
Purpose: To increase the participation of small disadvantaged businesses in the Department of Defense marketplace

Background Program Operations Outcomes


The Department of Defense (DoD) Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program was enacted in 1991 to create an incentive for major DoD contractors to mentor or develop the capabilities of small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) or qualified organizations that employ the severely disabled. The prime objective of the program is to enhance the SDBs' technical and business capabilities and to enable these firms to participate more effectively in DoD prime contracting and subcontracting opportunities, as well as other federal and commercial contracts.

Program Operations

Participation in the DoD Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program is voluntary, with prospective mentor firms applying to and receiving approval from the DoD's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. An approved mentor firm selects an eligible protégé and enters into a mentor-protégé agreement with the identified firm to provide appropriate developmental assistance. Many protégé firms have received technical training and business assistance, quality assurance assistance and increased revenue as a result of their participation in the program. Mentors perform a needs assessment of the protégé business' concerns, identifying areas that require assistance. Together the mentor and protégé establish a developmental assistance plan with milestones that target those areas to be developed. This assistance plan is implemented according to a mutually agreed upon timetable.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

As of April 1998, there were 276 participants in the DoD Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program; 102 are mentors and 174 are protégés. These participants are spread geographically from New Hampshire to California and as far south as Puerto Rico. Since implementation, there have been 388 agreements in industry areas as varied as manufacturing, information systems and construction. Protégé firms often experience increases in revenue and accompanying profits attributable to an increase in market opportunities, as well as increases in employment. In many cases, mentors and their protégés have formed long-term strategic alliances enabling them to participate more effectively and competitively as a team on current and future DoD requirements. For more information, visit The Department of Defense Pilot Mentor-Protégé Program at

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