DHS chooses mentor-protégé team

Officials from the Homeland Security Department have apparently selected the first two technology vendors to participate in the agency's new mentor-protégé program.

Falls Church, Va..-based Evolvent Technologies Inc. will mentor the smaller Alexandria, Va.-based Information Management Resource Group Inc. (iMRG).

Evolvent chief executive officer and founder Peter Ramsaroop said he believed they are the first companies participating in the program, which will be advantageous to both. The federal government's goal, he said, is to make sure small businesses are able to compete fair and square against major competitors.

The Homeland Security Department program is designed to encourage large contractors to provide developmental assistance to small minority-, women-, and/or veteran-owned small businesses, also known as historically underutilized businesses. Among the benefits to the department is an expanded base of qualified small businesses, an alternative to contract bundling and increased subcontracting opportunities.

Participation, said Ramsaroop, gives the companies a couple of advantages.

"One, we will get added points in a solicitation," he said, explaining that if his company's bid matches other competitors vying for the same business then participation in the mentor-protégé program may give Evolvent an edge to win a contract.

Another advantage, said Ramsaroop, is if a mentor company wins, for example, a $1 million contract, then, as defined in the program, X percentage of the contract will go to protégé. "They're guaranteed work as long as we get it," he said.

In addition, he said Evolvent might provide a financial gift or loan to iMRG to develop the company's infrastructure. "Our job is not just to make money and for them to make money, our job is to really guide them through their growth phase, to make sure that human resources, financial, marketing — all those infra pieces — are defined and they can succeed going forward."

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