SBA Proposes to Remove the “Three” from the “Three-In-Two” Rule for Joint Ventures

The SBA recently proposed a rule that would amend the infamous three-in-two (AKA 3-in-2) rule for joint ventures. SBA’s current regulations provide that a joint venture can be awarded no more than three contracts over a two-year period. While SBA plans to keep the two-year lifespan for joint venture awards, it plans to get rid of the three contract maximum.

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5 Things You Should Know: Joint Ventures

In the age of consolidated contracts and increased competition, small business federal contractors are searching for a way to improve their odds of winning the next opportunity. One of the most important tools for doing so is to form a joint venture.

Here are five things you should know about small business joint ventures:

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Years after Expiration of Mentor-Protégé Agreement, Joint Venture Still Small Based on Status as of Proposal Date

SBA regulations say that size is determined as of the date an offeror submits its initial proposal, with price. On its face, this rule seems pretty straight forward. But what happens if the initial proposal was filed six years ago? And what if the joint venture that submitted the proposal has since expired? Following OHA’s recent logic, the proposal-date rule stands even in these unique circumstances.

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Failure to Update Joint Venture Agreement Costs Mentor-Protégé SDVOSB JV a Contract

Updating your joint venture agreement is essential to maintaining compliance with SBA’s regulations and failing to update could cost you contracts.

In Stacqme, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5976 (Dec. 10, 2018), the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a mentor-protege joint venture’s failure to update its JV agreement caused the agreement to be non-compliant with the SBA’s rules, and meant that the joint venture was ineligible for an SDVOSB set-aside contract.

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SBA Mentor-Protégé Joint Ventures: Even GAO Appears a Tad Confused

The SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program offers a tremendous opportunity for participants to pursue set-aside contracts as joint venture partners.  But misunderstandings and misconceptions about how SBA mentor-protégé joint ventures work are pervasive.

One very common misconception is that the SBA must pre-approve a mentor-protégé joint venture.  In most cases, that’s not so.  In a recent bid protest decision, even the GAO appeared a little confused, repeatedly mentioning SBA approval of a joint venture even though no such approval was required for the contract in question.

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Once Again, SBA Strictly Interprets SDVOSB Joint Venture Agreement Requirements

The SBA takes its SDVOSB joint venture requirements very seriously, and even a relatively minor deviation or omission can be enough to render a joint venture ineligible.

Time and time again, the SBA’s Office of Hearing and Appeals has shown that it will strictly enforce the rules governing SDVOSB status. OHA’s stance on SDVOSB joint venture agreements is no different. A recent OHA ruling reinforces that SDVOSB joint venture agreements must abide by the letter of the regulation when it comes to required items in the agreement.

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SBA May Eliminate 8(a) Joint Venture Approvals

The SBA is considering eliminating the requirement that contractors obtain the SBA’s prior approval to joint venture for 8(a) contracts.

There’s no doubt that eliminating the approval requirement would reduce burdens and expenses for 8(a) companies and their joint venture partners–but it could also lead to an uptick in sustained protests against 8(a) joint ventures.

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