Mentor Protégé Program (MPP)

Mentor Protégé Program Guidelines
MPP Important Documents (scroll to bottom of this page)
MPP Approved Construction Teams
MPP Approved Professional Services Teams

What is its purpose?

This program is designed to develop viable and independent Minority-Owned, Women-Owned and Small Business Enterprise firms (M/W/SBE) that are capable of participating in the industry. The assistance provided by the Compliance Division and the Mentors is to encourage and offer advice and opportunities to perform on projects so that the M/W/SBE firms can gain the experience necessary to grow their businesses. The success of the program is not guaranteed, but it is hoped that an opportunity will be provided for success.

On what types of projects will the City give preference to Mentor-Protégé teams?

The Mentor-Protégé Program applies for projects the City of Columbia designates as Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) applicable. Engineering Bid, RFP and RFQ notices will indicate if a project is MPP applicable. Approved Mentor Protégé Teams are eligible and encouraged to bid on these projects.

How do I find a Mentor or Protégé? 

Your business will first need to apply to be either a Mentor or Protégé. The relationship between the Mentor and Protégé is voluntary. The Compliance Division maintains a listing of approved Protégé and Mentor Companies, which is available upon request. Approved Mentors and/or Protégés are encouraged to form MPP Teams in order to be permitted to bid on MPP designated projects.

What are the Mentor Qualification Requirements?

  • Have a good safety record as measured by OSHA (See: www.osha.gov) criteria
  • Be bonded and licensed
  • Be financially stable
  • Have the necessary skills and resources to guide and train the Protégé
  • Be an established corporation and/or contractor (general or mechanical), engineer, architect, or construction manager generating more than $3.5 million in annual revenue for professional services or $5 million in annual revenue for construction services
  • Have all necessary and current state and local licenses including a current City of Columbia Business License
  • Have at least five (5) years' experience in water/sewer and storm drainage construction or other pertinent fields of discipline
  • Demonstrate a willingness to provide developmental assistance that will enhance the ability of the Protégé to perform in a new area of operation
  • Demonstrate experience with previous minority, women and/or small business enterprise programs
  • Have current financial statements

What are the Protégé Qualification Requirements?

  • Have a good safety record as measured by OSHA (See: www.osha.gov) criteria
  • Designate a senior level officer from the company authorized to enter the Mentor-Protégé Agreement PDF document
  • Have current financial statements
  • Have at least one year’s cumulative experience on similar projects
  • Have less than $3.5 million in gross revenue in water and sewer projects (average over 3 years) for professional services and less than $5 million in gross revenue in water and sewer projects (average over 3 years) for construction services
  • Possess a current Contractor’s (general or mechanical), Engineer’s, or Architect’s license to perform in South Carolina, or be qualified as a Construction Manager pursuant to Title 40, Chapter 11 of the Code of Laws of South Carolina
  • Have all necessary and current state and local licenses including a current City business license
  • Have a place of business located in the South Carolina Counties of Richland, Kershaw, Lexington, Saluda, Newberry, Orangeburg, Fairfield, or Calhoun for a minimum of one year.

How does my business apply for the program?

  1. Before filling out any forms, businesses should make sure they meet the Mentor or Protégé Qualification Requirements. These will be confirmed by the Office of Business Opportunities - Compliance Staff during the application process.
  2. Businesses that want to be Mentors should fill out the Mentor Application for Construction Services or Professional Services. Businesses that want to be Protégés should fill out the Protégé Application for Construction Services or Professional Services and the Protégé Assessment for Construction Services or Professional Services. These applications should be submitted to the Office of Business Opportunities - Compliance, 1401 Main Street, 4th Floor, Columbia, SC 29201.
  3. The relationship between the Mentor and Protégé is voluntary. The foundation of this relationship is trust. 
  4. The Office of Business Opportunities - Compliance maintains a listing of approved Protégé and Mentor Companies, which is available upon request. Approved Mentors and/or Protégés are encouraged to form Teams in order to be permitted to bid on MPP designated projects.
  5. Mentoring firms and Protégé firms that plan to work together will fill out and submit a Mentor-Protégé Agreement.
  6. The Mentor-Protégé team should work together to develop a Business Plan for Construction Services or Professional Services that addresses the strategic and tactical steps designed to help the Protégé achieve its objectives. The plan may reflect any additional items that the Mentor or Protégé feels may be necessary to properly support the Protégé in accordance with the Mentor-Protégé Agreement.
  7. Office of Business Opportunities - Compliance will determine whether to authorize the Mentor-Protégé Agreement based on a review of the proposed Business Plan and the individual strengths and weaknesses of the two parties. Staff may require additional oversight, including use of a review committee.

What happens once a Mentor-Protégé team is formed?

  • Mentor-Protégé teams should hold developmental meetings at least on a quarterly basis. The Protégé should discuss with the Mentor the efforts to implement the Business Plan for Construction Services or Professional Services and the subsequent results. The specific items of the Business Plan should be reviewed to develop a course of action for any necessary corrections. Additionally, the Protégé should discuss the firm’s current needs and concerns.
  • The Protégé will need to send Quarterly Report to Office of Business Opportunities - Compliance.
  • Upon successful completion of the program, the Mentor and Protégé will receive a Certificate of Completion.

What are the Mentor's responsibilities?

  • Routinely communicate with the Protégé to review the Protégé’s growth, improvements in staff knowledge and expertise, financial management and profitability, and technical assistance needs, and to discuss issues and situations encountered by the Protégé
  • Communicate progress issues or problems encountered to the Office of Business Opportunities - Compliance as soon as possible after the concerns are identified
  • Carefully select staff to assign to the program
  • Introduce Protégé to various business resources, including banking, bonding, suppliers, management, and business industries
  • Quarterly progress reports reflecting the actions taken by the Mentor-Protégé team and its progress towards measurable objectives and criteria established in the Mentor-Protégé Agreement and Business Plan for Construction Services or Professional Services

What are the Protégé's responsibilities?

  • Pledge the time, personnel, and resources required for a successful relationship
  • Make substantial progress in implementing the business decisions developed during the course of the relationship
  • Provide complete up-to-date information on the business, including development plans, work in progress, and status of bids
  • Routinely communicate with the Mentor to discuss issues and situations encountered
  • The Protégé shall not relinquish managerial or administrative control to the Mentor
  • Communicate progress issues or problems encountered to the Compliance Division as soon as possible after the concerns are identified
  • Quarterly progress reports reflecting the actions taken by the Mentor-Protégé team and its progress towards measurable objectives and criteria established in the Mentor-Protégé Agreement and Business Plan for Construction Services or Professional Services

What are the Mentor-Protégé's team responsibilities?

  • Develop a Mentor-Protégé Agreement
  • Develop a Business Plan for Construction Services or Professional Services
  • Demonstrate a willingness to comply with the Mentor-Protégé Program
  • Schedule and attend all quarterly developmental meetings
  • Meet all deadlines for furnishing information required under the Mentor-Protégé Program
  • Demonstrate responsiveness and a willingness to work together and be open to the possibility of creating teaming agreements or joint ventures
  • Hold the City of Columbia, including its employees, or agents harmless from any claim, suit action, or demand of creditors, or any other person(s) arising out of this Program
  • Document and maintain copies of communications between the Mentor and Protégé
  • Complete a Quarterly Report form for each project included in this program and submit the report to the Compliance Division by the 10th day following the end of each quarter

MPP Important Documents
Mentor Application
Form 702 Mentor Application

Existing Protégé to Mentor Application
Form 799 Existing Protégé to Mentor Application

Protégé Application 
Form 703 Protégé Application
Form 704cs (Construction Services) Protégé Assessment
Form 704ps (Professional Services) Protégé Assessment

Team Agreement and Business Plan
Form 705 Mentor/Protégé Team Agreement & Business Plan Review

Quarterly Reporting
Form 708 Mentor/Protégé Team Quarterly Progress Report (Due the 15th of January (Q1), April (Q2), July (Q3), October (Q4)

Annual Reporting
Form 706 Mentor/Protégé Team Annual Business Plan (Due the 1st of August each year for the reporting period of July 1st - June 30th)
Form 707 Mentor/Protégé Annual Company Profile Update (Due the 1st of August each year for the reporting period of July 1st - June 30th)

Project Specific Reports
Form 709 Traditional Implementation Plan
Form 709 PO/PL Protégé Only & Protégé Led Implementation Plan
Form 100 Payment Application
Form 200 Change Order/Contract Amendment Implementation Plan Addendum (IPA)
Form 200 PO/PL Change Order/Contract Amendment Protégé Only & Protégé Led Implementation Plan Addendum (IPA)

Additional program information can be found in the Mentor-Protégé Program Guidelines. If you have questions that are not answered by the Mentor-Protégé Program Guidelines, contact the MPP Compliance Team at 1401 Main Street, 4th FL, Columbia, SC 29201 or phone (803) 545-3950.


Contact OBO Compliance Office at 803.545.4185| OBO Main Office 803.545.3950