Protégé firms are small businesses with $5 million or less in annual public contracting revenue that are seeking to improve their knowledge, skills and understanding about how to grow their business from more experienced, well established mentor firms. In addition to completing and submitting the Calmentor Program Protégé Firm application for Steering Committee approval, a protégé firm applicant must meet the following two conditions:
- Be certified as either a Small Business Enterprise, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, or a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise; and
- Provide professional services that are procured within the Caltrans A&E Program for the development of transportation projects.
After a firm’s application is approved by the Steering Committee, every effort is made to pair a protégé firm with one of their top mentor firm choices. Mentor firms make the final decisions as to whether they are able to accept new pairings. If accepted, a protégé firm will work over a 12-month period with their mentor firm toward achieving mutually agreed upon business development goals and Calmentor milestones including:
- Preparing all necessary SF330 documents for their respective firm;
- Gaining an understanding of requirements to ensure compliance with the Federal Accounting Regulations;
- Attaining Small Business Certification if appropriate; and
Fostering at least three new business contacts.
Additional protégé firm requirements include:
- Meeting with mentor firms at least four times per year to support the achievement of MOU goals;
- Designating one representative to attend each of the Jt. Professional Liaison – Calmentor Program Quarterly Meetings and the Calmentor Annual Awards Luncheon; and
- Notifying the Steering Committee when challenges arise with approved pairings that cannot be resolved between the mentor firm and protégé firm.
Protégé firms benefit from participation in the Calmentor Program through opportunities to:
- Learn valuable business knowledge, skills and information from mentor firms;
- Receive information about upcoming public sector contracts;
- Develop new business relationships and interact with Caltrans and other public sector transportation partner managers;
- Develop a better understanding about Caltrans and other public agency partners procurement requirements;
- Give input to Caltrans on small business issues.