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Shapiro Administration Launches Mentor-Protégé Program to Help Small Businesses Compete for Commonwealth Contracting Opportunities​


The program pairs experienced prime contractors with small businesses, small diverse businesses, and veteran business enterprises to develop their technical and administrative capabilities and ultimately help them secure more opportunities with the Commonwealth.

Harrisburg, PA – Today, as part of Governor Josh Shapiro's commitment to opening new doors of opportunity for Pennsylvania small businesses (SBs), the Department of General Services (DGS) announced the launch of its Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) that will help SBs, small diverse businesses (SDBs), and veteran business enterprises (VBEs) compete for more contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth.

The MPP pairs seasoned prime contractors with the owners of SBs, SDBs, and VBEs to help them improve their business management and contract bidding skills which could be useful in acquiring additional Commonwealth business.

“The introduction of the Mentor-Protégé Program is the latest action by the Shapiro-Davis Administration to create more opportunities for small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses," said DGS Secretary Reggie McNeil. "By participating in mentorships, these small businesses will gain familiarity with the Commonwealth's contracting procedures, respond to more contract opportunities, and ideally, eventually serve as mentors themselves."

“Pursuing state contracts might seem daunting for a small business, so having someone who can help — especially another business that knows how to navigate the whole process — will be enormously beneficial," said Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis, who leads the Pennsylvania Advisory Council on Inclusive Procurement. “This is just one more example of how the Shapiro-Davis Administration is getting stuff done and making state government work for the people of Pennsylvania."

 The inaugural MPP cohort comprises twelve proteges and six mentors who will collaborate for a year. DGS' Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities (BDISBO), which developed and manages the program, chose the mentor and protégé pairings, and monitors pairing activities.

 “Under the Shapiro-Davis Administration, BDISBO has made significant progress to continue our support of small, small diverse, and veteran-owned businesses by simplifying the process for businesses to work with the Commonwealth, raising awareness of contracting opportunities, implementing a prompt pay policy, and much more," said DGS Deputy Secretary of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities Kerry Kirkland. “The launch of our Mentor-Protégé Program is BDISBO's latest step to support Pennsylvania businesses and make it easier to compete effectively in the Commonwealth's contracting landscape – and the benefits will go directly back into Pennsylvania communities and the economy."


The first cohort of MPP pairings are as follows:


Inspiration Global LLC

Tansa Tech LLC



Renegade4 Solutions LLC


S&F Software Solutions Inc.



 Think Tank Technologies LLC

SE&M Solutions Inc.


 ACUTA Digital Inc.

Three-Twelve Staffing and Consulting LLC

Supply Source

 Wasatch Infotech LLC

Montez Parker II Enterprises

 To fill the first cohort of proteges, invitations were sent to small businesses that are pre-qualified to fill a Commonwealth IT services contract. These proteges were required to answer basic business operational questions and participate in mandatory online training. BDISBO chose mentors who are in good standing with the Commonwealth and have contracts with Pennsylvania valued at more than $300,000.

 Operational capacity, resources, and knowledge tend to be the biggest hurdles for small businesses in attempting to participate in contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth. Mentors will help protégés overcome these challenges by working with them to specify the type of Commonwealth contracts they would like to secure. Mentors will evaluate protégé operations, financial systems, marketing tactics, and bid submission processes to align with Commonwealth contract guidelines. Mentors will also guide the small businesses through the contract bidding process within the Commonwealth and in the private sector.​

To participate in the MPP, mentor and protégé firms must be registered suppliers in good standing with the Commonwealth. Mentors also must have served as a prime contractor on a Commonwealth contract worth $300,000 or more during the past three years. Protégé firms must be a DGS-verified SB and complete mandatory training to participate in the program.

Initiated under the Executive Order signed by Governor Shapiro in September 2023, the MPP is one of several measures DGS is leading to expand Commonwealth contracting opportunities for SBs, SDBs, and VBEs. Additional efforts include:  

  • Increasing outreach efforts to help more SBs and SDBs secure state contracting opportunities. Each month, BDISBO issues a Notice of Forthcoming Procurements and a Notice of Forthcoming Construction Opportunities to over 5,000 SB and SDB advocates and stakeholder organizations registered with BDISBO.

DGS is also working in coordination with the Department of State (DOS) to gather voluntarily submitted information from small businesses when they register their businesses with the Commonwealth. DOS' Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations (BCCO) has made it easier for filers to voluntarily submit information about whether their business qualifies as a small business, small diverse business, or a veteran business enterprise, and shares that collected information with BIDSBO each week.

Anyone interested in learning more about the MPP or registering their business with BDISBO should email For more information about DGS's Small Diverse Business Programs, visit the DGS website

MEDIA CONTACT: Eric Veronikis, DGS, ​

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