Joint Ventures: SBA Proposes Major Changes

The SBA has proposed major changes to rules governing joint venturing for set-aside contracts.

As part of a proposed rule released last week, the SBA proposes to eliminate so-called “populated” joint ventures, and proposes additional changes regarding joint venture certifications, performance of work reports, and more.

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Mentor-Protege For All: SBA Proposes “Universal” Mentor-Protege Program

The SBA has proposed to establish a government-wide mentor-protege program available to all small businesses.

In a proposed rule released yesterday, the SBA proposed to establish a single, “universal” mentor-protege program, open to all small businesses, not just those with certain socioeconomic designations.  And critically, the SBA’s proposed mentor-protege program would allow SBA-approved mentor-protege joint ventures to qualify as “small” for any federal government prime contract or subcontract–a benefit currently available only to 8(a) companies.

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Subcontracting Plans: SBA Proposes Stronger Enforcement

Large businesses’ subcontracting plans would be subject to stricter compliance standards under a SBA proposed rule introduced December 29.

The intent of the new regulations is to compel prime contractors to make good faith efforts to comply with their subcontracting plans by implementing reporting mechanisms and harsher penalties for fraudulent actions or actions made in bad faith.  Small businesses subcontractors are likely to agree that these are positive changes.

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Ostensible Subcontractor Affiliation: SBA Proposes Exception For “Similarly Situated” Entities

The ostensible subcontractor affiliation rule would be modified to include an exception for “similarly situated” entities serving as subcontractors, if a recent rule change proposed by the SBA goes into effect.

Under the SBA’s proposal, a small business would be exempt from ostensible subcontractor affiliation with another small business for a small business set-aside contract, an 8(a) participant with another 8(a) participant for an 8(a) set-aside contract, and so on.

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Family Relationships & Affiliation: SBA Proposes Clarifications

The SBA’s regulations regarding affiliation between companies controlled by close family members would be clarified under a proposed rule introduced on December 29.

Under the SBA’s current affiliation regulations, companies controlled by family members may be presumed to be affiliated, but the regulation leaves it to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals to determine how close the family relationship must be for the presumption to apply.  The proposed rule would clarify exactly when the presumption applies.

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Limitations on Subcontracting: SBA Proposes Sweeping Changes

The limitations on subcontracting would undergo sweeping changes under a recent SBA proposal.

On December 29, the SBA issued a proposed rule to enact the changes implemented by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013–including a thorough re-write of the way that compliance with the subcontracting limits is calculated and enforced.

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GovConChat: The 2015 NDAA

Last week, I joined Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition for another segment of the popular “GovConChat” podcast series.

Guy and I discussed the impact of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act on small contractors, including provisions (or a lack thereof) involving SDVOSBs, WOSBs, and reverse auctions.  Guy and I also chatted about a recent allegation of HUBZone fraud stemming from a contractor’s alleged use of a “virtual office” as its supposed HUBZone location.

It’s always a pleasure speaking to Guy, who brings a great perspective to the issues (as well as a memorable voice tailor-made for podcasts).  Check out the full podcast by following this link, and be sure to check out the GovConChat archives for Guy’s conversations with other movers and shakers in federal procurement.