8(a) Social Disadvantage Narratives: What SBA is Looking For

Writing a social disadvantage narrative for application to SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program can be tricky. While SBA’s regulations can guide your pen, they are not the only source of helpful information out there. Let’s take a look at some SBA guidance and recommendations based on SBA’s actual decisions that may increase your chances for success.

Continue reading

SBA Area Office Double Counted Revenue in Denial of 8(a) Application, Says OHA

SBA sometimes makes mistakes in the 8(a) application process, but the appeals process may be able to remedy those miscues. Recently, an applicant appealed the SBA’s denial of her 8(a) status based on net worth. She argued that the SBA Area Office had double counted the value of her rental property, which automatically disqualified her from being found economically disadvantaged. SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) agreed and remanded the denial decision.

Continue reading

8(a) Program: SBA Final Rule Makes Important Changes

The 8(a) Program regulations will undergo some significant changes as part of the major final rule recently released by the SBA, and effective August 24, 2016.

Here at SmallGovCon, we’ve already covered big changes to the SDVOSB Program and HUBZone Program brought about by the new SBA rule.  But the 8(a) program is affected by the new rule too, and important changes involving eligibility, the application process, sole source awards, NHOs, and more will kick in later this month.

Continue reading

8(a) Program Participation Down 34% Since 2010

Participation in the SBA’s 8(a) Program has declined from about 7,000 firms in 2010 to only around 4,500 today–a sharp drop of approximately 34% in only six years.

These startling numbers come from a recent SBA Office of Inspector General report, which focuses on whether the SBA properly documented the reasons for admitting certain 8(a) participants.  While that matter is interesting in its own right, the most revealing part of the SBA OIG report is the rapid decline in 8(a) Program participation, and the SBA’s plans to reverse it.

Continue reading

8(a) Program Denial: Federal Lawsuit Available, Says SBA OHA

An 8(a) Program applicant may challenge the SBA’s denial of its application in federal court if the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.

According to a recent OHA decision, although OHA’s own jurisdiction in 8(a) denial matters is limited, a rejected applicant “is not utterly without recourse” because relief can be sought in court.

Continue reading

8(a) Program: Accent, Lack of English Proficiency Not Evidence of Bias

A Bulgarian immigrant’s thick accent and lack of English proficiency were not evidence of bias, and did not support the immigrant’s 8(a) Program application.

In a recent 8(a) Program decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals expressed sympathy for the language difficulties many immigrants face, but held that such difficulties, by themselves, do not constitute evidence of “social disadvantage” for 8(a) Program purposes because the 8(a) Program requires a showing of bias or prejudice.

Continue reading

8(a) Fraudster Hit With 42-Month Prison Sentence

A federal judge has sentenced a Maryland man to 42 months in prison for fraudulently obtaining contracts under the 8(a) Program.

According to a Department of Justice press release, after Vernon J. Smith III serves his prison sentence, he will be subject to three years of supervised release.  And on top of the prison sentence, the federal judge ordered Smith to pay more than $7 million in restitution and forfeiture.

Continue reading