The success of the Mentor Protégé Program starts with a successful selection process consisting of a committed Selection Team. The Protégé process ensures that the best qualified small business can be identified and selected for the program to meet a required capability need. An important responsibility of the Small Business Program Office and the Selection Team is to define the specific requirements of eligibility for the Program, which are based on the DOE mentor protégé criteria.
The Selection Team comprises a representative cross-section of employees from various organizations at CNS. The selection process is led by the CNS Small Business Program Office Program Manager who acts as a non-voting facilitator and mediator.
Any small businesses that have participated in a DOE protégé agreement in the past are not eligible to participate in the CNS Mentor Protégé Program. The following types of small businesses are eligible:
- Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs) that meet the requirements of Title 13 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 124, subpart B
- 8(a) Contractors certified by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and eligible under section 8(a) of the Small Business Act
- Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) that meet the requirements of Title 15 United States Code (U.S.C.) 637(d)(3)(D)
- Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) as defined in Public Law (P.L.) 106 50, Veterans Entrepreneurship Small Business Development Act of 1999
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) determined by the Secretary of Education to meet the requirements of 34 CFR 608.2
- Other Minority Educational Institutions (MEIs) of higher learning determined by the Secretary of Education to meet the requirements of 20 U.S.C. 1067k
Companies must also:
- Be eligible for work under a government/federal contract
- Have been in business for a minimum of two years before applying for the Mentor Protégé Program
- Provide verification of a strong financial balance sheet
- Exhibit competent management organization, staff level, and technical experience for the purpose of performing and completing project-oriented assignments
- Have a proven accounting system that meets DCAA definition of generally accepted accounting practices to prove the company is capable of tracking costs associated with performing government contracts
- Have approved corporate business, marketing, human resource, health and safety, and quality assurance plans
- Prove company ownership and management commitment and involvement
- Provide at least two business references related to performance of projects or business practices
Local presence is a plus but is not mandatory. Experience in the completion of a DOE/NNSA contract/project is preferred.
In addition to the above criteria, the following will be given consideration:
- Experience in subcontracting with CNS
- Possession of a certified Quality Assurance Program (i.e., ISO 9000 or NQA1)
- Ability to maintain Foreign Ownership, Control and Influence (FOCI) approval
- Multi-site and multi-agency experience
- Bonding capacity (for construction)
- Number of employees
- Current annual revenues
A typical duration of a mentor protégé agreement is 2 years with the potential of three 1-year options. At the end of this period, the protégés graduate from the program.