Missing Mentor-Protege Reauthorization Sinks 8(a) JV’s Bid

An 8(a) joint venture was unable to show that its mentor-protege agreement had been renewed by the SBA for a particular year–and the missing reauthorization caused the joint venture to be ineligible for a small business set-aside contract.

In a recent decision, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that an 8(a) joint venture could not avail itself of the mentor-protege exemption from affiliation when there was no evidence to show that the SBA had renewed the mentor-protege relationship for the year in which the joint venture’s proposal was submitted.

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8(a) Mentor-Protege JV Didn’t Qualify For SDVOSB Set-Aside, Says SBA OHA

An 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture didn’t qualify for an SDVOSB set-aside because the mentor firm was not a small business.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a SDVOSB-specific regulation requires all members of an SDVOSB joint venture to be small–notwithstanding language in the SBA’s size regulations and 8(a) Program regulations specifying that an SBA-approved mentor-protege joint venture may bid, as a small business, on any government contractor or subcontract, provided that the protege is small.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: April 25-29, 2016

As a North Dakota native, I was excited to see a NDSU graduate picked second overall in last night’s NFL draft.  With the draft complete, my focus is back to government contracts news and notes from around the country.

In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, we take a look at how the DoD is working on a long process of acquisition improvement, the 2015 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard has been released, a proposed amendment looks to help small business and much more.

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SBA OHA Sets Low Bar For Common Investments Affiliation

As few as two common outside investments can result in a presumption of identity of interest, and therefore likely affiliation, according to a recent decision by the Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals.

OHA’s decision in W. Harris, Government Services Contractor, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5717 (Mar. 7, 2016), lends some clarity to the SBA’s identity of interest affiliation rule, which provides that businesses or firms are affiliated when they have identical or substantially identical business interests. Although it brings the rule more into focus, the decision in W. Harris could prove troublesome to some small business owners, who may have assumed that a handful of common outside investments would not result in affiliation.

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Thank You, Texas!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Alliance Texas procurement conference.  At the conference, I was part of a panel discussion on the legal aspects of joint venturing and teaming for small government contractors.

Many thanks to Cathy Doerr and the ShoWorks team for organizing this great event, Stephanie Lewis of the SBA for moderating the panel, and John Ruiz of Miratek for his insightful discussion of his company’s experiences with teaming.  And of course, thanks most of all to the small business owners and others who attended the panel and stopped by the Koprince Law trade show booth.  I enjoyed meeting everyone.

ShoWorks’ series of Alliance procurement conferences doesn’t end in Texas.  Up next: Alliance Baltimore on November 10.  As for me, I’ll next be traveling to the Quad Cities for the annual Midwest Small Business Government Contracting Symposium.  I hope to see you there!

8(a) Program: Utah SBA Imposes Tough New Restrictions on JVs & MPAs

The SBA’s Utah District Office has imposed tough new restrictions on the approval of 8(a) mentor-protege agreements and joint ventures.

The Utah SBA obviously hopes that these restrictions will lead to more successful 8(a) mentor-protege and joint venture relationships–but I worry that these District-specific restrictions may backfire, and put Utah 8(a)s at a significant competitive disadvantage against 8(a)s serviced by other SBA District Offices.

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Exercised Options May Be Protested At GAO–But Agency Discretion Is Broad

Contrary to a common misconception, GAO has jurisdiction to consider a protester’s challenge to the exercise of an option in a competitor’s contract. But GAO’s review is largely deferential to the agency: it will uphold the exercise of an option unless a protester is able to show the agency failed to follow applicable regulations or otherwise should have conducted a new procurement.

A recent bid protest illustrates this deferential review, as GAO denied a protest challenging the exercise of an option where the agency considered pricing and other factors before exercising its option.

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