Yes, Foreign-Owned Entities Can Be Small Businesses Under SBA Government Contracting Rules

Government contractors often assume that a foreign-owned company cannot qualify as a small business under the SBA’s government contracting size rules.

Not so.  As demonstrated by a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals size appeal decision, a foreign-owned entity can qualify as a small business, provided that it has a physical location in the United States and contributes to the U.S. economy.

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SBA OHA: Contracting Officer Can’t Extend Size Appeal Deadline

When you hear “15 days,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Perhaps, you pay your employees every 15 days. Maybe your birthday or favorite holiday happens to be in 15 days. Or if you’re like me, you might think that 15 days is two days fewer than Thirteen Daysa great movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Whatever your brain conjures up, don’t forget this: 15 days is the time limit to appeal an SBA size determination. Period. And nothing the contracting officer says can change it.

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GSA Schedule BPA Award Does not Allow for Size Protest

Generally, a size protest must be filed within five business days of when the protester receives notice of the identity of the awardee.  But there are some nuances to this rule, such as whether a corrective action will extend the deadline and whether the clock starts running upon notice of the prospective awardee or the actual contract award date (Hint: notice of awardee).

But when does the 5-day protest period start to run in the context of a Blanket Purchase Agreement issued under a GSA Schedule contract? A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision is a reminder that the award of a BPA does not trigger a new 5-day period to file a size protest.

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5 Things You Should Know: Size Protests and Appeals

I’m just back from El Paso, where I had a great time discussing small business size and affiliation issues at the Contract Opportunities Center. This presentation got me thinking: “Wouldn’t our loyal SmallGovCon readers want to know 5 Things about size protests and appeals?”

“Of course they would!” I immediately answered my own internal monologue. “After all, who wouldn’t?”

Here are 5 Things You Should Know about size protests and appeals:

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SBA OHA Rejects “Chain Affiliation” Theory

Ordinarily, a company isn’t affiliated with the affiliates of its affiliates.

That sentence may sound a little silly, but it encapsulates an important principle about the breadth of the SBA’s affiliation rules.  As demonstrated in a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision, the SBA doesn’t apply its rules to create “chain affiliation.”

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No Competitor Size Protests of 8(a) Sole Source Awards, Says SBA OHA

The SBA’s regulations do not allow an 8(a) company to file a size protest challenging the award of an 8(a) sole source contract to a competitor.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that size protests relating to 8(a) sole source awards can be filed by contracting officers or the SBA itself–but not by competitors.

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SBA Size Protests: Subsidiary Couldn’t File for Parent

A subsidiary cannot file an SBA size protest on behalf of its parent company.

Last week, I wrote about an SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals case holding that a parent couldn’t file a size appeal on behalf of its subsidiary.  Unsurprisingly, it turns out that the same principles apply to initial size protests, too.

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