The Small Business Administration (SBA) issued proposed rules that would establish a government-wide mentor-protégé program for all small business types, including participants in the HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Business and Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business programs. These rules would implement provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. 

Generally, under SBA regulations, two companies that form a joint venture are considered affiliates. This rule will make an exception to that rule, already enjoyed by 8(a) contractors, such that a mentor and protégé under the new program will not be considered affiliates on the basis of the approved mentor-protégé joint venture, though the two concerns may be found to be affiliated for other reasons. 

The new program will come with expanded risks and pitfalls, including additional certifications and reports to be made by mentors and protégés that lead to a higher level of scrutiny and the risk of a contractor being investigated for misrepresentation or fraud.