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Mentor Protege Program

Introduction

The Mentor Protégé Program is one of the programs and services provided by the Small Business Development Unit. In partnership with the Minnesota Unified Certification Program (MnUCP), its purpose is to further the development of certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms by providing training and assistance from other firms so that the small businesses may:

  • Move into non-traditional areas of work
  • Compete in the marketplace outside the DBE program
  • Develop their capacity to compete on projects

Why mentoring?

Mentoring is a business-to-business relationship that allows firms to share their expertise and resources to further their business objectives and create a stronger economy with a more competitive business environment. Networking and cultivating relationships between larger and smaller firms allows both to learn, evolve, and compete on MAC/Met Council/MnDOT/MPLS projects and in new markets. The Mentor Protégé program is designed to increase the statewide capacity and availability of DBEs and help develop relationships that foster DBE participation on projects. Prime contractors benefit by receiving credit to partner with DBE firms, and DBEs receive assistance in developing their business.

What type of help is provided?

Common types of assistance that a mentor may provide a protégé include:

  • Business planning
  • Bidding and estimating
  • Record keeping
  • Technical assistance
  • Capital formation
  • Financial counseling
  • Bonding
  • Equipment use

Mentor Protégé agreements will vary based on the needs of the businesses involved.

What does the process look like?

MENTOR

PROTEGE

1) Notify Business Development Section of agency of your willingness to mentor.

1) Ensure DBE Certification is up-to-date.

2) Complete and submit a Mentor Protégé Application.

2) Notify Business Development section of your interest.

3) Attend a networking session to meet potential protégé.

3) Complete a Mentor Protégé Assessment.

4) Select potential protégé.

4) Prepare a marketing package for networking session.

5) Arrange brainstorming meeting with protégé.

5) Attend a networking session.

6) Outline tasks with selected protégé.

6) If selected, attend brainstorming meetings with potential mentor.

7) If both parties agree, prepare a draft agreement.

7) If both parties agree on tasks, draft the agreement. Contact agency for a sample agreement.

BOTH

8) Mentor and Protégé meet with the Business Development Staff.

9) A draft agreement is forwarded to the certifying agencies of the MnUCP.

10) The agreement will be revised and finalized per the Business Development Staff.

Where can I get more information?

If you would like to sign up or get more information about this opportunity, contact the MnDOT Small Business and Program Development Office.