Mentor-Protégé Program

Since 1991, the Department of Defense (DoD) Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) has offered substantial assistance to small disadvantaged businesses. Helping them to expand the overall base of their marketplace participation has produced more jobs and increased national income.

About this program

The DoD Mentor-Protégé Program assists small businesses (protégés) successfully compete for prime contract and subcontract awards by partnering with large companies (mentors) under individual, project-based agreements.

Traditionally, these partnerships have delivered a variety of products and services specialized in: environmental remediation, engineering services, information technology, manufacturing, telecommunications, and health care. Recently, new Mentor-Protégé agreements have focused on corrosion engineering, information assurance, robotics, circuit board and metal component manufacturing. The DoD hopes that future Agreements will focus on new technology areas such as radio frequency identification devices and enhanced security assurance.

Many Mentor firms have made the program an integral part of their sourcing plans; while the protégé firms have used their involvement in the program to develop much needed business and technical capabilities to diversify their customer base. Our protégé participants have established long-term business relationships with providers of government and commercial goods and services.

Successful mentor-protégé agreements provide a winning relationship for the protégé, the mentor, and the DoD.

How to participate

A Step-by-Step Approach to Participation in the Department of Defense Mentor-Protégé Program. Visit our Resources page for a list of templates, applications, and other useful documents. Below are the fundamental steps to participating in the DoD Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP). In addition to the simple outline provided here, detailed briefings are available in the OSBP office and are encouraged.

Establish a Counterpart

Mentors and Protégés are solely responsible for finding their counterpart. Legislatively, DoD Offices of Small Business Programs (OSBP) participation in the teaming of partnering Mentors and Protégés is prohibited. Therefore, we strongly encourage firms to explore existing business relationships in an effort to establish a Mentor-Protégé relationship.

Communication, Compatibility, and Commitment are key to a successful Agreement!

A Mentor firm must be currently performing under at least one active approved subcontracting plan negotiated with DoD or another Federal agency pursuant to FAR 19.702, and be currently eligible for the award of Federal contracts. New Mentor Applications must be approved and may be submitted to and approved by the OSBP of the cognizant Military Service or Defense Agency (if concurrently submitting a reimbursable Agreement) or to the DoD OSBP office prior to the submission of an Agreement.

A Protégé firm must be either a small disadvantaged business (SDB), a qualifying organization employing the severely disabled, a women-owned small business (WOSB), a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB), or located in a historically underutilized business zone (HUBZone).

Protégé certifications:

SDB: Review the policy memo for certification

WOSB: Self-certification is sufficient

Organization employing severely disabled:Must comply with Section 8046A PL 102-172

SDVOSB: As defined in Section 8(d)(3) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(d)(3))

HUBZone: As determined by the SBA in accordance with 13 CFR part 126.

Determine the Type of Agreement

There are two types of DoD MPP Agreements, directly reimbursed or credit.

Direct Reimbursed

Direct reimbursed Agreements are those in which the Mentor receives reimbursement for allowable costs of developmental assistance provided to the Protégé. These Agreements are approved by the OSBP of the Cognizant Military Service or Defense Agency as outlined in DFARS Appendix I.

Directly reimbursed Agreements may have additional requirements implemented by the Cognizant Military Service or Defense Agency OSBP. For more information on additional requirements for Directly Reimbursed agreements, contact the Cognizant Military Service or Defense Agency Program Manager.


Credit Agreements are those in which the Mentor receives a multiple of credit toward their SDB subcontracting goal based on the cost of developmental assistance provided to the Protégé. Credit agreements are currently approved by the DCMA.

Further details on Directly Reimbursed agreements and Credit agreements can be found in the FAQ section of this site.

Develop Agreement

An assessment of the needs of the Protégé, which includes measurable milestones, is strongly recommended prior to the development of an Agreement. Developmental assistance should align with the Protégé's strategic vision. MPP agreements must meet requirements set forth in DFARS Appendix I and the DoD Mentor-Protégé Agreement template.

Please note: A Protégé firm may have only one active DoD MPP Agreement at any given time.

Submit Agreement Proposal

For directly reimbursed Agreement submissions, submit your Agreement proposal to the OSBP of the cognizant Military Service or Defense Agency.

For credit Agreement submissions, submit your agreement proposal to the DCMA.

Start Agreement

Credit agreements start on the date they are approved. Directly reimbursed Agreements start on the date the specific contract vehicle is modified (the date funds obligated to the contract). Mentors cannot incur cost for credit or reimbursement until the agreement has been approved.

Reporting and DCMA Review Requirements

Semi-annual reports, annual DCMA performance reviews, and Protégé 2-year out reports are required for each DoD MPP Agreement. DCMA annual performance reviews shall be a major factor in determining the amount of reimbursement the Mentor firm is eligible to receive in the remaining years of directly reimbursed Agreement participation.

DoD MPP semi-annual reports (SARs) are due Monday, May 2, 2016. SARs, annual DCMA reviews, and post-agreement reports are required for each Mentor-Protégé Agreement (MPA).

Reporting templates can be found on our Resources page.

Ask Questions

Detailed Mentor-Protégé Program briefings are available by appointment. If you have any questions about the program process, protocol, requirements, or benefits, please email dodmpp@osd.mil.

Nunn-Perry Awards

All eligible nominations are reviewed and numerically scored by a review panel. The composition of the panel is at the discretion of the DoD Director, OSBP. The panel may consider other pertinent information regarding the particular Mentor-Protégé agreement.

The review panel presents their nominations in order of ranking to the DoD Director, OSBP, for consideration of award. Direct reimbursable and credit agreements are ranked separately. The number of awards are at the discretion of the Department of Defense.