Farooq Mitha, director of small business programs at the Department of Defense, emphasized the role mentor-protege relationships play in DOD contracting efforts at a recent meeting with the Defense Business Board.
He said proteges have added to the military technology portfolio, but additional security requirements such as the updated Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification program could limit their ability to pursue work with the department.
“We came into this administration trying to make things easier for small businesses, but there’s only so much that can be done,” Mitha told the board.
DBB members have recommended that Congress make the Mentor-Protege Program a permanent initiative, update tools for capturing program-related data and establish a single point of contact for all small business opportunities across the department.
The board found that more than half of 1,200 former proteges in MPP continue to serve as defense suppliers and account for approximately 5 percent of the Pentagon’s $83.4 billion in small business contracting awards during fiscal year 2021.