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Knight Introduces Bill To Help Small Businesses Compete For Federal Contracts

Legislation Would Reform Department of Defense Mentor Protege Program

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Washington, DC, January 6, 2016 | comments

Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would help some small businesses compete for federal contracts by making it easier for them to receive mentoring from larger, more experienced firms. 

H.R. 4322, the DOD Mentor-Protégé Cooperation Reform Act, would simplify the qualification process for small businesses that are eligible to participate in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Mentor-Protégé program. This program, which has existed since 1991, helps certain small businesses (protégés) compete for federal contracts by partnering them with large companies (mentors) that can provide them with technical assistance and business development services. 

“Our communities are in the unique position of having a huge presence of defense contracting companies as well as a large number of small businesses that are seeking government contacts,” said Rep. Knight. “The DOD Mentor-Protégé Cooperation Reform Act would help bridge the gap between those two groups so that our region’s economy can thrive.”

The Department of Defense’s Mentor-Protégé program is designed to assist firms considered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to be “disadvantaged,” such as small businesses owned by women and veterans. According to the SBA, there are over 250 such companies in Rep. Knight’s district, which covers the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valleys. Recently, issues with the Mentor-Protégé program’s qualification process have caused confusion for participating firms, and the DOD contends that it is not equipped to handle certain aspects of that process itself. Rep. Knight’s bill would solve this by authorizing the SBA to manage those trouble areas as they do for other federal agencies with similar Mentor-Protégé programs, thus streamlining the program and making it easier for companies to participate.  

 “This bill is another commonsense step toward ensuring that small businesses have the tools they need to compete and grow their operations,” said Rep. Knight.

H.R. 4322 was introduced this week and is expected to be heard in the House Small Business Committee in early February. 

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