Business Center

Application, Eligibility, & Selection


Applications are available each year in September, and are due at the end of November. The application changes somewhat each year but generally consists of the following elements:

  • Contact & Company Information
  • Eligibility Verification, Nature of Relationship, and Approach to Participation
  • Protégé Needs Assessment: Diagnostic tool to inform proposed goals
  • Proposed Team Goals: 3-5 goals including quarterly milestones and success metrics

2021 Program Eligibility

Eligibility criteria are designed to ensure that both Mentors and Protégés have the foundation necessary to be successful during their tenure in the program.

Mentors must meet the following criteria:

  • Completed a minimum of 3 CDOT projects as a prime or sub or performed a minimum of $3 million of work with CDOT;
  • Prequalified with CDOT;
  • Have skills and capacity to assist a Protégé business; AND
  • Have a commitment to assisting small and diverse firms in the transportation sector.

Protégés must meet the following criteria:

  • Have an active CDOT ESB certification
  • Been in business for at least 2 consecutive years;
  • Have a minimum of 2 full time employees (in addition to the owner), or the intent to hire while in the program;
  • Successful past performance on transportation related construction or professional services contracts; AND
  • Actively pursuing heavy civil contracts.

Selection Process

Each year a different group of key stakeholders reviews the submitted applications, scores them against a consistent set of criteria, and selects varying numbers of teams for the following year's cohort, depending on capacity and number of returning (second year) teams.

Among other factors, CDOT is particularly interested in teams that demonstrate the following characteristics:

  • Degree of familiarity between the Mentor and Protégé (i.e., not a brand new relationship)
  • Active or past DBE Certifications
  • Past mentoring experience or unique mentoring relationships (e.g., former Protégé applying as a Mentor, three-way mentoring teams, etc.)
  • Past participation in technical assistance and business development programs (e.g., Connect2DOT)
  • Targeted services in which CDOT is interested in building capacity (e.g., small- mid-sized construction contractors)

To receive updates about the ESB Mentor-Protégé program and associated events throughout the year, please sign up to receive emails from Connect2DOT.

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