2020 Rewind: The Year’s Biggest Government Contracting News Affecting Small Businesses

Let’s face it: most people won’t look back on 2020 with anything remotely approaching nostalgia.  Here at Koprince Law LLC, we are eager to turn the page and move on with 2021, too. 

But small businesses shouldn’t forget 2020 completely.  The year brought many important developments, including major changes to some key government contracting rules that our readers should remember.  So here, in a nutshell, are the most important 2020 government contracting changes and legal developments for small businesses. 

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SBA Inspector General Questions Legality of Relaxed HUBZone Residency Rule

Last December, SBA overhauled its HUBZone Program rules in an effort to make it easier for companies to obtain and maintain HUBZone certification–and to help the Government stop falling so woefully short of the three percent HUBZone prime contracting goal.

But now, in a new report, SBA’s internal watchdog is questioning whether one of those HUBZone Program changes went too far.

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Clean-Up on Aisle “FAR”: Joint Venture and Subcontracting Plan Rules Get Modernized

Joint ventures and small business subcontracting are two issues near and dear to the hearts of many small business federal contractors. Well, the Federal Acquisition Regulation will soon be updated with respect to both of these topics. The new rules will align with SBA’s rules and remove any inconsistencies. Let’s dive in!

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SBA Provides Flexibility for HUBZone Compliance

We’ve written quite a few posts about how contractors can adapt and deal with the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some small businesses federal contractors, however, face unique challenges. This is particularly true of participants in the HUBZone Program. Specifically, while the OMB has encouraged agencies to allow contractor employees to telework, how will this affect HUBZone entities, where the location of their employees is key to maintaining their HUBZone status?

Well, the SBA has the answer in some recent guidance, and it’s something we could all probably do with a little more of–flexibility. Flexibility, in this case, means that SBA realizes complying with the principal office and employee residency requirements may be tough during a time when all people are encouraged to telework. The flexibility applies to a few of the HUBZone rules.

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Why Are There Two HUBZone Maps on the Internet?

If you were to fire up the ol’ Google and search for the phrase “hubzone map” guess what you would get—not one but two links that purport to be the Small Business Administration’s Historically Underutilized Business Development Zone (HUBZone) program map.

Is there any indication which is the correct map? No. Might one return false results? Yes.

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SBA Issues Guidance on New HUBZone Rules

Can a business seeking HUBZone status give employees bonuses or higher wages to entice them to live in a HUBZone?

According to new guidance published by the U.S. Small Business Administration, yes. But that’s not the only question addressed in the guidance.

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