Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Civil Rights

Committed to equality in transportation service

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 allow both to learn, evolve, and compete on projects of the Metropolitan Airport Commission, Met Council, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the City of Minneapolis 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?

  1. 1. Notify MnDOT Business Development staff that you would like to be a mentor.
  2. Complete and submit a Mentor Application.
  3. Attend a networking session to meet potential protégé.
  4. Select potential protégé.
  5. Arrange brainstorming meeting with protégé.
  6. Outline tasks with selected protégé.
  7. If both parties agree, prepare a draft agreement and a development plan.
  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.

  1. Ensure your DBE Certification is up to date.
  2. Notify MnDOT Business Development staff that you would like to be mentored. 
  3. Complete a Protégé Application.
  4. Attend a networking session.
  5. If selected, attend brainstorming meetings with potential mentor.
  6. If both parties agree, prepare a draft agreement and development plan.
  7. Mentor and Protégé meet with the Business Development staff.
  8. A draft agreement is forwarded to the certifying agencies of the MnUCP.
  9. The agreement will be revised and finalized per the Business Development staff.

Where can I get more information?

MnDOT
Office of Civil Rights
395 John Ireland Blvd, MS 170
St. Paul, MN  55155-1899
Contact Person: Tracey Jackson
612-391-0255
Tracey.Jackson@state.mn.us

Metropolitan Council
Office of Equal Opportunity
560 6th Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN  55411
Contact Person:  Mahad Omar
651-583-4443
Mahad.Omar@metc.state.mn.us

Metropolitan Airports Commission
Office of Diversity
6040 28th Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN  55450
Contact Person: Jeffrey Weinhagen
612.726.8193
Jeffrey.Weinhagen@mspmac.org

City of Minneapolis
Office of Civil Rights
350 South 5th Street
Minneapolis MN 55415
Contact Person: Hannah Franklin
612-673-2053
Hannah.Franklin@minneapolismn.gov