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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8(a) Mentor-Protege Agreements Cannot Be Protested, Says SBA OHA

8(a) mentor-protege agreements cannot be protested by competitors, according to a recently-issued decision by the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.  In Size Appeal of Professional Performance Development Group, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5398 (2012), SBA OHA held that the SBA’s decision to approve an 8(a) mentor-protege agreement is outside the scope of the SBA size protest process.

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8(a) Mentor-Protege Joint Venture Shielded From “Three-In-Two” Rule Affiliation

According to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, an 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture may be entitled to an affiliation “shield,” even if the joint venture violates the so-called “three-in-two” rule by receiving more than three contracts over a two-year period.

SBA OHA’s decision in Size Appeal of Magnum Opus Technologies, Inc., SBA No. SIZ-5372 (2012), should reassure 8(a) proteges and their mentors that if the SBA District Office has approved a contract award to an 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture, the joint venturers are very unlikely to be found affiliated as a result of that contract award.

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SBA OHA: Contractors Must Be Permitted To Contest Affiliation

If you have ever gotten a traffic ticket, you know the ticket typically presents you with two options: send in your fine (essentially admitting guilt), or appear in court and contest the ticket.  The second option is available because in our democracy, a citizen accused of wrongdoing–even a minor traffic infraction–has the right to contest the charges.

The same is true when it comes to SBA size protests.  According to a recent decision by the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, a contractor cannot be found affiliated with another company unless the contractor is given the opportunity to respond to the particular basis of affiliation at issue.

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