SBA Proposes Big Changes to the HUBZone Program

The SBA’s Historically Underutilized Business Zone program intends well—by directing awards to contractors in regions that have been passed by economically, the federal government has tried to lift these areas up. But the HUBZone program has exacting regulations, which (ironically) have helped cause it to be an underutilized tool for contracting officers. This could soon change.

On October 31, the SBA published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would bring clarity to the HUBZone regulations. In this post, we wanted to bring you up to speed on some of the more substantive proposed changes regarding certification requirements and the HUBZone protest process. Changes to employee definitions and requirements will be handled in another post.

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GAO: VA’s Compliance Oversight of Subcontracting Limitations Needs Improvement

Recently, the GAO issued a report discussing the VA’s Veterans First Program, made at the request of several members of Congress. The report focused on addressing ongoing implementation challenges regarding compliance with the Rule of Two following the Kingdomware decision.

One of the key challenges facing the VA is ensuring that SDVOSBs comply with the limitations on subcontracting. According to the GAO, the VA’s oversight needs improvement.

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FAR Update Clarifies SAM Registration Deadline

In last week’s edition of the SmallGovCon Week In Review, we referenced a FAR update that has important ramifications for prospective small business government contractors. This rule is potentially important enough that we figured it deserved its own stand-alone SmallGovCon post.

So what’s so important about this new rule? In a nutshell, it clarifies that offerors must be registered in SAM at the time of bid submission to be considered for an award.

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GAO Faults Contractor for General Manager’s Sickness

When an incumbent contractor’s general manager got sick and had to quit, the contractor promptly found a replacement, which the agency approved. But there was still one problem: the incumbent had already proposed to use the same general manager for the next contract.

According to GAO, the agency was right to eliminate the contractor from the competition, even though the agency knew that the contractor had a new general manager and had, in fact, approved the replacement.

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SBA Plans to Consolidate All Small and 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Programs

The SBA plans to issue a proposed rule consolidating the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program and the 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program.

According to a recent SBA publication in the Federal Register, the SBA has had a change of heart about whether it is necessary to run two similar mentor-protégé programs–one for everybody, and another only for 8(a) firms.

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Small Business Participation Declines, But SBA Still Gives Government High Marks

It’s that time of year again. School’s ending for the summer and kids are coming home (some sheepishly) with their report cards. And with the close of Fiscal Year 2017, the federal government has also been given its report card.

Like last year, the FY 2017 report card reveals a mixed bag. Though the SBA gave the federal government another “A,” the bottom-line numbers reveal a troubling trend for small business government contractors.

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