The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently issued a notice in the Federal Register stating that it “is contemplating making substantive changes to the regulations” governing the 8(a) Business Development program, and that it “requests comments and input on how best to reduce unnecessary or excessive regulatory burdens” on the program.

Of particular importance, the SBA states that the “planned rulemaking contemplates consolidating the All Small Mentor Protégé Program and the 8(a) Mentor Protégé Program into one program and possibly eliminating SBA’s role in approving joint venture agreements for 8(a) competitive contracts.”

The SBA further states that it is contemplating an “amendment” to its regulations that “would allow mentors participating in SBA’s mentor protégé program to have more than three protégés at one time.” The SBA goes on to state, however, that it “is concerned that allowing a large business mentor to have additional protégé firms at one time could permit them to unduly benefit from small business contracts, through joint ventures with their protégé firms, which they would otherwise not be eligible for.” Nevertheless, the SBA “is seeking comments on whether lifting the current regulatory limit would benefit small businesses and further the programs’ purpose.”