The SBA recently proposed regulations to implement something WIPP fought hard for more: the expansion of SBA’s mentor-protégé program to be inclusive of WOSBs. WIPP's government relations team worked on making this happen five years ago as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. At the time, and since, WIPP testified on several occasions about the importance of a statutory program to give WOSBs parity with other programs. While the delay (including additional legislation WIPP advocated for in 2013) was unfortunate, we are thrilled this important tool is finally being brought to our community. After soliciting, reviewing, and incorporating WIPP members views, WIPP recently submitted comments on the proposed rule.
WIPP is supportive of SBA’s decision to merge the new programs (four of them) into one program, but made clear we expect support for WOSB mentor-protégé relationships as was intended by Congress. In addition, WIPP asks SBA to carefully consider the future of other non-statutory mentor-protégé programs, and not to only have certain “open” periods for mentor-protégé applications.
The SBA has carefully considered the implementation of this program, and WIPP generally supports the effort put forth in the proposed regulations. WIPP is in continuous dialogue with SBA about how all of its procurement programs, including the WOSB Procurement Program, can best serve women business owners. WIPP is pleased that a change we advocated strongly for has taken one more step toward being a reality. Should you have any questions regarding the comment or procurement policy in general, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.