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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SDVOSB Owner Avoids Brewing Up Trouble with a Second Job

In a recent SBA decision, SBA’s judges had the opportunity to review three different simultaneous challenges to whether a service-disabled veteran controlled a SDVOSB. Because there were three different challenges reviewed at once, SBA took a deep dive into the SDVOSB certification standards around the requirement of control of a SDVOSB. With such a deep dive, SBA provided some explanations of SDVOSB control concepts that could be helpful to contactors looking to certify or re-certify as an SDVOSB. In these cases, a SDVSOB owner had a second job, and job experience in a different field, but SBA found the owner had the necessary control over the SDVOSB to remain certified.

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Federal Court Confirms Strict SDVOSB Unconditional Ownership Requirements

As we’ve discussed, the SBA will soon take the reins over from VA to run the certification process for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) and Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs). Self-certification for SDVOSBs will go away on December 31, 2023, so be sure to get your SDVOSB ownership and control documents up to snuff in order to stay compliant with the SDVOSB rules. One of those rules concerns unconditional ownership by the veteran. A recent federal court case sheds some additional light on that topic, as explored in this post.

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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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OHA Remands Size Determination Because Area Office Failed to Provide Due Process to Protested Concern

SBA’s Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) recently said that the SBA Area Office should have informed the protested concern of the issues its adverse size determination focused on before ruling against the concern’s size eligibility on that basis. In addition to its lesson on due process, OHA also took this opportunity to distinguish totality of the circumstances affiliation (the basis on which the Area Office found affiliation here) from ostensible subcontractor affiliation (the basis for affiliation alleged in the size protest). OHA vacated and remanded the Area Office’s decision.

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Leaving OHA Email on “Unread” still Counts as Receipt For Appeal Timing Rules

The SBA’s OHA administrative judges recently sent a warning to all small business contractors that they need to keep an eye on their email inboxes no matter how late in the business day it is. In a size appeal decision, OHA found that even an unread email could derail a contractor’s plans for a size appeal, depending on when it arrived in your inbox.

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SBA Confirms that Size Status Relates Back to Time of Offer, Even After Sale of Small Business

Over the years, SBA size regulations have included the general rule that the size status of a business generally relates back the time of initial offer on a contract. Therefore, a small business generally stays small for the duration of a federal contract, with some exceptions. However, there was also language in the rule that required small businesses to recertify their size status after being acquired or going through similar transactions. The effect of this recertification requirement was always a little unclear. If you recertify as large, does that have any effect on your small business status for orders under contracts awarded when the business was small? Now, OHA has answered that concern.

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