8(a) Program and EDWOSB: Are they Economically Disadvantaged Twins or Siblings?

Two of the Small Business Administration’s programs require the applicant to demonstrate that they are economically disadvantaged: the 8(a) Business Development Program (8(a) Program) and the Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business Program (EDWOSB). The 8(a) Program requires applicants to be owned and controlled by both socially and economically disadvantaged individuals per 13 C.F.R. § 124.101. Applicants of the EDWOSB program must be owned and controlled by one or more economically disadvantaged women per 13 C.F.R. § 127.200(a)(2). But what exactly does it mean to be “economically disadvantaged,” and do both programs have the same requirements? Below I discuss the economically disadvantaged requirement contained in both programs. Read on to find out whether they are the same, and more.

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The Anatomy of a Solicitation: How to Read the Standard Sections of a Federal Solicitation

Being familiar with the structure of a solicitation is imperative if you hope to be a successful federal government contractor. However, the solicitations that accompany competitive procurements, in the form of a “request for quote,” “invitation for bid,” or “request for proposal,” are often lengthy, making it easy for contractors that are new to federal government contracting to get lost in the legalese, and unable to pinpoint the vital information. Does that mean that parts of the solicitation are not important? Not at all. Contractors should be familiar with all parts of the solicitation. But knowing what to expect, and how to quickly find information that may make or break your decision to submit an offer will increase your efficiency and effectiveness when drafting proposals, saving you precious time for other important things.

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Yes, No, Maybe? Understanding the Reason Behind SBA-Required Mentor-Protégé Agreement Questions

The SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program offers a myriad of benefits to both Mentors and Protégés who participate in the Program. Small business Protégés benefit from the assistance provided by their SBA approved Mentor, which can include anything from guidance on how to find solicitations and make offers, to financial support in the form of loans or bonding. Mentors benefit because participation allows them to compete for and be awarded contracts in which they may not otherwise qualify for. In fact, SBA even provides a bare bones template for Mentor-Protégé Agreements, complete with 21 yes or no questions that every Mentor-Protégé Agreement must include. A “yes” answer to any of those questions requires the applicant to provide additional information demonstrating why this should not disqualify the Mentor and Protégé from working together. But have you ever stopped to consider the reasoning behind these questions? Likely not, if you have never had to check a “yes” answer. However, knowing the “why” behind these questions is information that every small business federal contractor could benefit from. I’m going to take you through these questions to demystify their application, which will allow you to quickly identify potential problems in the future.

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Open to Interpretation? Don’t Guess if Your Joint Venture Agreement Plays by the Rules

A recent SBA decision showcased the strict manner in which SBA interprets its joint venture agreement rules. After an agency awarded a contract to a joint venture entity, SBA determined the joint venture was ineligible due to fairly small deficiencies in a joint venture agreement. It’s a situation that no federal contractor wants to encounter. SBA requires strict adherence to the requirements that must be contained in nearly all joint venture agreements. Unfortunately, one company learned this lesson the hard way.

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Congress Directs SBA to Take Stab at COVID-19 Loan Fraud

President Biden signed two bills aimed at preventing fraud by participants within the Small Business Association on August 2, 2022. H.R. 7334 is titled the COVID-19 EIDL Fraud Statute of Limitations Act of 2022 (EIDL Act). H.R. 7352 is titled the PPP and Bank Fraud Enforcement Harmonization Act of 2022 (PPP Act). Both Acts establish a ten-year statute of limitations for fraud by borrowers under their respective programs. The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman credited the Acts with a renewed ability to investigate and prosecute borrowers who committed fraud in SBA lending programs created to assist small businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For both programs, the main purpose is to put in place a a ten-year statute of limitations for fraud.

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SBA Issues 2021 Small Business Scorecard, Small Businesses Contracting Over $154 Billion!

The SBA recently released the Government Wide Small Business Procurement Scorecard for fiscal year 2021. This annual scorecard details information on the various categories of small businesses recognized by the SBA, including whether SBA met its goals related to small business federal contractors. Specifically, the scorecard is used to assess “how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals,” to “provide accurate and transparent contracting data,” and “report agency-specific progress.” SBA met or exceeded its goals in the majority of categories despite the fact that the overall number of small businesses decreased. Below, we take a look at the process, the numbers, and discuss which groups are, and which are not, receiving the greatest benefits.

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Nonprofit Parent Companies do not Automatically Cause Affiliation for SBA Size Determinations

The Office of Hearings and Appeals, more commonly referred to as OHA, is tasked with deciding size determination appeals that arise under the Small Business Act of 1958, as well as 13 C.F.R. parts 121 and 134. When an unsuccessful offeror raises a question, via a size protest, regarding an Awardee’s size under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code on any given solicitation, the SBA Area Office will review the protest and issue a size determination. Then, a losing party can appeal the size determination to OHA.

Affiliation is a common topic that OHA addresses. In a recent decision, OHA looked at the question of how nonprofits fit into the affiliation rules. Since a small business has to be a for-profit entity, can a small business be affiliated with a nonprofit parent company?

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