Top of the Class: 8(a) Early Graduation

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is the crème de la crème of federal government contracting and there is a high bar to entry for admission. Among other things, individuals that are not a member of one of the recognized groups that is automatically presumed to be socially disadvantaged must prove they were socially disadvantaged throughout their life through what is called a social disadvantage narrative. Beyond that, there are a number of other qualifications, such as being economically disadvantaged, a business’s potential for success, and evidence of good character that must also be met. 13 C.F.R. § 124.101. The process is difficult, and once an individual is admitted, they no doubt want to make the most of it.  

Oftentimes, small businesses that participate in the 8(a) SBA’s Business Development Program remain in the Program for the full 9 years that the SBA allows, which culminates in the small business “graduating” from the program. 13 C.F.R. § 124.302. Sometimes, the business grows so successfully that it no longer meets the qualifications of being small, and thus is required to graduate early from the 8(a) Program. So how exactly does that happen? Read on to find out.  

Continue reading

Back to Basics: 8(a) Program Eligibility

In a recent post, we discussed the basics of SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, including general information, benefits, program terms, and how to apply. This follow-up post focuses on the basics of SBA’s 8(a) eligibility requirements, discussing those in greater detail.

Continue reading

Back to Basics: SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program

If you’re a small business owner interested in government contracts, you’ve probably heard about the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. The 8(a) Program itself is complex, and its eligibility rules are some of stricter rules out there; but its potential benefits are tremendous. In this Back to Basics post, I’ll break down some of the very basics about the 8(a) Program. But don’t worry, not only will I follow this post up with another to unpack more of the complexities, I have also included links throughout this post to other posts doing the same.

Continue reading

SBA’s Approach to Monitoring 8(a) Firms is Focused on Eligibility Rather than Business Development, Says SBA’s OIG

Last week, the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report, entitled “SBA’s Business Development Assistance to 8(a) Program Participants.” The report detailed the OIG’s recent audit of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program to “determine to what extent SBA measures and monitors an 8(a) firm’s progress toward achieving individual business development goals” and “to ensure 8(a) firms receive the help needed to meet their goals and if the program adapted during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic.” Let’s take a closer look at the details and findings.

Continue reading

GAO Tested SBA on its Tribal 8(a) Verification Process and Found It Mostly Held Up

Federal and state-recognized Indian tribes and members of such tribes are presumptively socially disadvantaged, and if tribal association is verified, no further information is needed to verify social disadvantage for a Small Business Association (SBA) 8(a) program application. However, in 2021, the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported that, although the process for awarding 8(a) program status involves a multi-level eligibility review, the SBA does not have a formal verification procedure for verifying the federal or state-recognized status of Indian tribes associated with tribal applications. As such, GAO was asked to evaluate the SBA’s verification of 8(a) applications claiming federal or state-recognized tribal association. The following is a summary of those findings. 

Continue reading

Event: 8(a) Joint Ventures Webinar, Hosted by El Paso SBA

Koprince McCall Pottroff LLC will be presenting a webinar hosted by the El Paso SBA that covers an important topic in federal government contracting – 8(a) Joint Ventures.

In this webinar, government contracts attorneys Shane McCall and John Holtz cover the basics of joint ventures, the specifics of 8(a) joint ventures (including SBA requirements), and how the mentor-protégé program can benefit a joint venture arrangement.

If you’d like to join us for the webinar, mark the date of December 16 on your calendar and here is the link for the event.

SBA Suspends Bona Fide Place of Business Requirement for 8(a) Construction Contracts

SBA’s requirement that 8(a) participants maintain a bona fide place of business in the geographic location of any 8(a) construction contracts has been an encumbrance for many federal contractors–even prior to the global pandemic. But fortunately, SBA has recently recognized the additional challenges that COVID-19 has caused for 8(a) contractors seeking to comply with this rule. And as such, SBA has suspended this requirement in an effort to help our nation’s small disadvantaged businesses during these arduous times.

Continue reading