Common Misconceptions: SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program (Part I)

The SBA’s Small Business Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) is arguably one of the federal government’s most successful undertakings when it comes to supporting our nation’s small business policies, economy, and contracting goals. It fosters the development of small business protégés, allowing many different forms of mentor assistance. It includes opportunity for eligible protégés and their mentors to joint venture (JV) for set-aside contracts—often otherwise off-limits to mentors that don’t qualify for the set-aside status/size standard and/or to protégés incapable of competing for or performing such contracts on their own. MPP JV awards may also incentivize federal government customers—simultaneously getting closer to meeting their set-aside quotas and getting the know-how, qualifications, resources, and personnel of more experienced (typically larger) contractors.

While it’s easy to see why this program enjoys immense popularity amongst small and large businesses alike, confusion consistently shrouds SBA’s MPP, nevertheless (hence the need for a two-parter here). In this article, we’ll skip over the “basics” of SBA’s MPP (which you can read all about here) and instead, jump right into the first few common misconceptions surrounding the program (with the rest to follow in Part II).

Continue reading

VOSB Program Possibly Expanding? Congress Takes Next Step Towards VOSB Expansion

The Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Program has long held a sort of unheralded position in SBA and federal contracting. Unlike its much more expansive counterpart, the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Program, the VOSB Program only allows for set asides for VOSBs for VA procurements (and even within VA SDVOSB companies are in a higher tier than VOSBs). In contrast, all agencies can set aside contracts for SDVOSBs. This has limited the desirability of admission to the program for many veteran owners, many of whom do not do work, that the VA needs. But things might be changing, as Congress has proposed a big step towards expanding what agencies can set-aside contracts for VOSBs.

Continue reading

Back to Basics: The Buy American Act

We get a lot of questions about federal government contracting as federal government contracting attorneys, which makes sense. One thing we get asked about a lot is the Buy American Act. This is also unsurprising, as the government really did not do the best job in making it clear what this act does. We have talked about the Act before, but now, let’s take a deeper dive into it.

Continue reading

SBA Proposed Rule: Make WOSB, SDVOSB, and 8(a) Regulations More Consistent

If you ask any small business federal government contractor or their attorney for the top complaints about the regulations that apply to the Small Business Administration, inconsistency between the various programs is likely to show up on that list. At first glance, it seems the requirements are pretty standard across the board. However, when you dive deeper, you’ll likely notice that even though the requirements are similar, there are enough small differences in the language you can’t just assume that, say, a requirement for service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) is going to be the same for a woman-owned small business (WOSB) or an 8(a) Program participant.

The differences make it crucial to look at the specific regulations for the specific SBA program to ensure compliance. You can’t just assume that they are the same. Thankfully, it looks like the SBA has finally heard our cries for consistency with a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, in which it attempts to align the WOSB Program with the new SDVOSB/VetCert Program and the 8(a) Program. And, as an added bonus, the beginnings of what appears to be a plan to make the WOSB certification process a bit easier if your business is already certified under either the 8(a) program or the SDVOSB program.

Continue reading

New FAR Final Rule Promotes Sustainability

As many know, a prominent goal of President Biden’s administration has been to promote green initiatives, and help reduce America’s carbon footprint. That initiative has now found its way to federal contracting. In a recent final rule, the FAR is being updated to facilitate federal contracting’s move, closer to net-zero emissions. This FAR update, updates and sets requirements for agencies to procure “sustainable products and services”, outlines what those products and services actually are, and places new expectations on contractors.

Continue reading

Back to Basics: Similarly Situated Entities

If you are a small business government contractor who ever utilizes subcontractors to complete federal set-aside contracts, knowing what a “similarly situated entity” is for a given contract is vital to your success. So, let’s take it back to the basics of “similarly situated entities.”

Continue reading

2024 NDAA will Update DFARS to Require Evaluation of Small Business Affiliate Past Performance

The 2024 NDAA is directing quite a change in past performance evaluations for offerors in Department of Defense acquisitions. Historically, an offeror’s affiliate’s past performance is not automatically considered along with the offeror’s proposal, although an agency could consider it. The 2024 NDAA, though, has actually mandated a change within the DFARS that will up-end this long-held tenet for Department of Defense contracts.

Continue reading