3. The protégé must certify to the SBA each year whether the terms of the contract have changed. (4) After approval, a mentor must certify each year that he or she maintains a good character and a favourable financial position. (i) any technical and/or management support given by the guardian to the protégé; This change is particularly important for a joint venture whose size status is based on the fact that each member of the joint venture is a small business. Regardless of joint ventures that are small on the basis of the SBA`s protected tutoring program, the SBA affiliation rules at 13 C.F.R. S. 121.103 confirm that a joint venture is also a small business if “each [partner] group is small below the size standard of the NAICS code assigned to the contract.” In general, the SBA`s size standards also provide that a company that is small at the time of the initial offer, including the price, is considered small for the duration of the contract, so that companies are not penalized for naturally growing up as a result of the performance of federal contracts. Accordingly, the SBA clarified that only the acquired, acquired or merged joint venture member must make recertifications, which protects other non-involved members of the joint venture from censoring themselves if they have naturally grown up but have not been acquired or merged. This is another welcome change that brings more clarity to small businesses. As noted above, one of the main benefits of the ASMPP is that a mentor and protégé is not considered to be bound for size purposes with an SBA-approved mentor and protégé agreement, based on the support a protégé has received from a mentor under the agreement. This membership exception also allows the mentor and protégé to create joint ventures to execute federal government contracts and subcontracting, provided the protégé is qualified as small for the size standard corresponding to the NAICS supply code. The creation of the ASMPP greatly expanded mentoring-protected opportunities and opened flood doors for small businesses seeking mentor-protected relationships.

Since the inception of ASMPP, Baker Donelson has assisted several clients in evaluating and creating these relationships and has also made several presentations on this subject to various state industry groups and other lawyers. At the time of this publication, there were more than 1,200 mentor-protected agreements active under the ASMPP. The program was very popular because there are more opportunities for small businesses to compete for larger and more demanding work, while mentors have the opportunity to do up to 60 per cent of the work on a federal decommissioning contract, whereas this mentor cannot qualify for one of the small businesses.