The Basics: Socioeconomic Sole Source Awards

Just last week during a Govology webinar on Women-Owned Small Businesses, one of the attendees asked my colleague Haley Claxton and I an insightful question about the different standards for giving sole source awards to participants in various government programs. She wanted to know the difference between how contracting officers go about offering an 8(a) sole source award and a WOSB sole source award.

I had to admit, the practical, ground-level, nitty gritty business of how these awards are doled out doesn’t actually come across my desk that much.

So, let’s take a look, shall we?

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Legislative Updates: Small Business Bills in the House (& Senate)!

Just like the elves in Santa’s workshop, Congress has been busy this winter season! Among the chaos, three bills with the potential to impact small business Federal government contractors have been percolating. The first and third bill propose amendments to laws already in place covering surviving spouses of SDVOSB owners and the Department of Homeland Security’s Mentor-Protege Program, while the second bill proposes an entirely new SBA program for small businesses geared toward promoting research and development efforts. Here’s our brief summary of each bill:

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New Avenue for SBA Protests: Ostensible Subcontractor Status Protests

SBA has issued a final rule, effective December 30, that will now provide an avenue to protest situations where the prime contractor on a SDVOSB, HUBZone, or WOSB set-aside contract is subcontracting most or all of the work to a non-similarly situated—but still small business—concern. It will also allow SBA to review eligibility for 8(a) Program contracts on this ground as well.

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GAO Reminds Contractors to Update All Profiles After a Name Change or Risk Bid Rejection

Many businesses go through name changes and rebranding throughout their growth as a company. But if you’re a government contractor, a business name change requires added updates that, if not done correctly and promptly, can affect the business’s ability to win a contract. GAO’s recent decision hammered home just how important it is to make sure your contractor profiles are updated if you want to win contracts.

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Blindsided: AbilityOne Contractor Loses Work to SDVOSB, Has Protest Dismissed

As recently as May, the Department of Veterans Affairs told a nonprofit helping to employ blind workers that it intended to renew its contract. The organization was shocked, therefore, when on July 30, the VA issued a notice of award to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. To make matters worse, the nonprofit’s GAO protest of the award was promptly dismissed for being untimely.

What the heck happened?

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SDVOSB Start-Ups Continue to Face Obstacles to CVE Verification

Several years ago, we argued that VA’s rule, requiring a veteran to devote herself full time to an SDVOSB during normal working hours, unnecessarily handicapped SDVOSB start-ups seeking CVE verification. This same requirement–though now in a slightly different form–continues to impede new businesses from obtaining verification, a key credential for many SDVOSBs. Beyond that, CVE’s application of the managerial experience requirement also poses a potential hurdle for incipient SDVOSBs.

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Losing Key Owners of SBA Set-Aside Businesses – Now Out in Contract Management Magazine

Clients who own businesses under one of SBA’s socioeconomic designations have often asked us, what happens after I’m gone? Meaning, if the key owner becomes incapacitated or dies, what happens to the set-aside designation for future contracts and ongoing contracts, and are there restrictions on transferring the ownership interest?

While we can’t answer all their questions, my recent article in the March 2019 issue of Contract Management Magazine (the monthly publication of the National Contract Management Association), outlines some of the key issues and answers from the government contracting perspective.

The magazine has nicely allowed us to reprint the article. Click here to read!