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Mentoring Defense Innovation

Industry Outreach

About This Case

Nick Harrison's expertise in defense contracting and small business development is highlighted through his successful advocacy for the reauthorization of the DoD's Mentor-Protégé Program and his leadership in organizing the Mentor Protege Training Week Conference, emphasizing the importance of strategic partnerships in the defense sector.

Under Nick Harrison’s strategic guidance, a proactive campaign was launched to secure the reauthorization of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Mentor-Protégé Program, a vital initiative fostering small business growth within the defense sector. Alongside this, Harrison effectively organized and led the Mentor Protege Training Week Conference in Atlanta, GA, marking the program’s 25th anniversary and drawing significant attendance from key industry stakeholders.


The main challenge was the impending need for reauthorization of the DoD’s Mentor-Protégé Program, which required a strategic approach to ensure its continuation and success.


The Mentor-Protégé Program, significant for its role in bridging small business innovators with larger defense contractors, was approaching a critical juncture for reauthorization. Its sustained impact on the defense industrial base made its continuation vital.


1. Strategic Advocacy for Reauthorization

Harrison, foreseeing the reauthorization challenge, engaged in a proactive campaign. Collaborating with colleagues, he navigated through government inquiries and studies, including those conducted by the Government Accountability Office, to articulate the program’s value and necessity to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees.

2. Organizing a Landmark Conference

Harrison led the planning and execution of the Mentor Protege Training Week Conference. This entailed meticulous coordination of logistics, preparation of engaging promotional materials, and creation of a compelling trade show presence.

3. Engagement and Networking

His leadership ensured the conference’s success, attracting over 400 attendees, including small businesses, contracting officers, program managers, and community organizations. The event served as a crucial platform for networking, celebrating the program’s legacy, and discussing future opportunities.


Harrison’s leadership and foresight in advocating for the program’s reauthorization, coupled with the successful orchestration of the conference, significantly enhanced the program’s profile. The reauthorization campaign and the conference’s success underscored the program’s importance in the defense sector, cementing its role in nurturing partnerships and contributing to economic and job growth​​​​​​.

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