Town hall for small business mentor program set in Oklahoma City

Kay Bills, president of The Mid-America Government Industry Coalition Inc., discusses changes to the SBA Mentor-Protege Program.
by Paula Burkes Published: March 6, 2013
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Q&A with Kay Bills

Small business mentor program to hold town hall meeting in OKC

Q: Your coalition is inviting small businesses throughout Oklahoma and four other states to attend a town hall meeting on proposed changes to the Small Business Administration's Mentor-Protege Program March 26-28 in northwest Oklahoma City. Can you explain what that is?

A: It's a mentoring program in which approved mentors provide proteges with assistance, from technical and management assistance to financial assistance. The latter may include a mentor's investment in a protege's company to raise capital or competing together for government contracts (from the U.S. Treasury and NASA to the Federal Aviation Administration, Veterans Affairs and Environmental Protection Agency).

Q: What's changing?

A: New regulations, which took effect in January, expand the program to all small businesses, not just disadvantaged, women-owned, hub zone or veteran-owned businesses. The rules must be published by Sept. 30 and our summit will help us gather recommendations early in the rule-making process. Coalition members will take their recommendations and comments to meetings in Washington, D.C., in May. For seasoned companies wanting to enter federal contracting, these agreements are a strategic way to move into the federal area. We expect open and frank discussion by government officials, mentoring companies and proteges about the ethical and compliance requirements of these programs.

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by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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