(A) The purpose of this program element is to further the development of DBEs, including but not limited to assisting them to move into non-traditional areas of work and/or compete in the marketplace outside the DBE program, via the provision of training and assistance from other firms. To operate a mentor-protege program, a recipient must obtain the approval of the concerned operating administration.
(B)(1) Any mentor-protege relationship shall be based on a written development plan, approved by the recipient, which clearly sets forth the objectives of the parties and their respective roles, the duration of the arrangement and the services and resources to be provided by the mentor to the protege. The formal mentor-protege agreement may set a fee schedule to cover the direct and indirect cost for such services rendered by the mentor for specific training and assistance to the protege through the life of the agreement. Services provided by the mentor may be reimbursable under the FTA, FHWA, and FAA programs.
(2) To be eligible for reimbursement, the mentor's services provided and associated costs must be directly attributable and properly allowable to specific individual contracts. The recipient may establish a line item for the mentor to quote the portion of the fee schedule expected to be provided during the life of the contract. The amount claimed shall be verified by the recipient and paid on an incremental basis representing the time the protege is working on the contract. The total individual contract figures accumulated over the life of the agreement shall not exceed the amount stipulated in the original mentor/protege agreement.
(C) DBEs involved in a mentor-protege agreement must be independent business entities which meet the requirements for certification as defined in subpart D of this part. A protege firm must be certified before it begins participation in a mentor-protege arrangement. If the recipient chooses to recognize mentor/protege agreements, it should establish formal general program guidelines. These guidelines must be submitted to the operating administration for approval prior to the recipient executing an individual contractor/ subcontractor mentor-protege agreement.