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NASA Office of Small Business Programs, Where Small Business Makes a Big Difference

NASA Mentor-Protégé Program

NASA is committed to providing small businesses with opportunities to participate in both NASA prime contracts and subcontracts. The NASA Office of Small Business Programs is here to facilitate open and effective communication between our Centers and small businesses worldwide to make that com-mitment a reality. This Website includes invaluable information regarding how to do business with NASA, its Centers, and the Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) while focusing on the socioeconomic small business categories.

Glenn A. Delgado
Associate Administrator
Office of Small Business Programs

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible as a mentor, an entity

  • must be a large prime contractor performing under NASA contracts with at least one active and approved subcontracting plan, as required by FAR 19.7;
  • must be eligible to receive Federal contracting awards; and
  • must apply and be approved as a mentor by the NASA Office of Small Business Programs. Mentors must establish initial eligibility by submitting their mentor application for approval. Download the mentor application template .

To be eligible as a protégé, an entity must be one of the following:

  • A Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB),
  • A Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB),A Historically Black College or University (HBCU),
  • A Minority-Serving Institution (MSI),
  • A Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB)
  • ,A Service-Disabled Veteran–Owned Small Business (SDVOSB),
  • A Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Concern,
  • A small business with an active NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract, or
  • A company participating in the AbilityOne program.


The NASA Mentor-Protégé Program encourages NASA prime contractors to assist eligible protégés, thereby enhancing the protégés’ capabilities to perform NASA contracts and subcontracts, fostering the establishment of long-term business relationships between these entities and NASA prime contractors, and increasing the overall number of these entities that receive NASA contract and subcontract awards.

Types of Agreements

Credit Agreements

  • In a credit-based mentor-protégé agreement, a mentor receives credit on a one-to-one basis toward its subcontracting goals. The credit is reported on the Individual Subcontract Report (ISR) for the specific contract, as identified prior to the approval of the agreement.

Award Fee Pilot Program

  • Under the Award Fee Pilot Program, a mentor is eligible to receive an award fee at the end of the agreement period based upon the mentor’s performance of providing developmental assistance to its protégé. During the pilot program, only NASA SBIR Phase II protégés are eligible to participate with mentors.

NASA Responsibilities

  • NASA Center Small Business Specialists are responsible for the overall administration and management of the mentor-protégé agreements submitted to their Centers. The NASA Center small business office will ensure that the requirements of NASA FAR Supplement 1819.72 and the NASA Mentor-Protégé Program guidance are met and will coordinate the agreement’s requirements with NASA OSBP.
  • NASA contracting officers are responsible for adding mentor-protégé agreements to existing contracts through contract modification. A letter endorsing their support of the mentor-protégé agreement must be added to the agreement package before submission to NASA OSBP.
  • The NASA Office of Small Business Programs is responsible for the administration, policy, and oversight of the NASA Mentor-Protégé Program. OSBP will approve all mentor applications and conduct annual performance reviews of the progress and accomplishments realized under approved mentor-protégé agreements.

How To Participate

Below, you will find the basic steps necessary to establish a NASA mentor-protégé agreement. For a more detailed
explanation, please visit our Website at http://www.osbp.nasa.gov.

1. Locate a partner—Mentors and protégés are required to establish their own counterparts. Each company has
its own internal processes and procedures for locating partners. These processes are not mandated by NASA.

2. Determine developmental assistance to be provided—Prior to filling out the agreement template, the
mentor must perform a needs assessment of the protégé to determine what type of developmental assistance
is required. Typical examples of developmental assistance may be related to technical transfer or business
infrastructure. The dollar value associated with the technical transfer tasks should be approximately 70 percent of
the proposed hours and cost. The remaining 30 percent may be related to business development tasks.

3. Submit agreement for approval—The agreements are submitted to one of the NASA Centers for review and

If the agreement is endorsed at the Center level, it will be forwarded to the OSBP at NASA Headquarters for final
review and approval within 3 weeks of receipt. The agreement officially begins on the date of the incorporation
of the agreement into a contractual vehicle via a contract modification signed by the contracting officer. Once the
agreement begins, the mentor may start providing the developmental assistance outlined and reporting credit
is received.

4. Fulfill all reporting requirements—The reporting requirements for the NASA MPP include the following:

  • Semiannual reports
  • Annual reviews
  • Protégé post-agreement reports

Proposal Evaluation

The evaluation of all proposed agreements will be based on the following criteria:

  • Merit of the developmental assistance to the protégé
  • Perceived benefit and/or value of the agreement to NASA
  • Percentage of hours associated with the technical transfer
  • Subcontracting opportunities available to the protégé
  • Utilization of HBCU/MSIs, PTACs, and SBA Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
  • Proposed cost

Benefits of Participation

The MPP has the ability to uniquely transform a small business or minority-serving institution and enhance its capabilities to win contracts and subcontracts as a direct result of its participation. Some of the potential benefits of the program include the following:

For Mentors:

  • Develop long-term business relationships with small business concerns
  • Develop a qualified small business subcontracting base
  • Accrue credit toward small business subcontracting goals

For Protégés:

  • Receive relevant technical and developmental assistance
  • Qualify for sole-source contracts from mentors

For All Participants:

  • Cultivate teaming opportunities with their partners to win new contracts and/or subcontracts
  • Engage the MPP as a marketing tool
  • Foster networking opportunities

Contact Information

  • Telephone: 202-358-2088
  • E-mail: smallbusiness@nasa.gov (include “Mentor-Protégé Program” in the subject line)

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