It’s the moment many have been waiting for–SBA has reopened its Certify portal to new applicants seeking admission into the 8(a) Business Development Program. SBA closed the portal to all new 8(a) Program applicants in early August 2023, following a decision from the Federal District Court of the Eastern District of Tennessee that took away applicant’s presumption of social disadvantage for certain designated groups. This resulted in all 8(a) participants being required to submit a social disadvantage narrative. To address this issue, SBA opened Certify bit by bit to current participants who had not previously submitted a social disadvantage narrative, prioritizing current 8(a) participants with pending awards followed by current 8(a) participants without pending awards. Now, SBA has opened Certify to new applicants that wish to apply for participation in the 8(a) Program who now must demonstrate their social disadvantage.Continue reading
Our very own Nicole Pottroff was featured in the Washington Post yesterday, in an article titled: “SBA program upended in wake of Supreme Court affirmative action ruling.” This article covers SBA’s 8(a) Program and its recent changes, as well as the federal court decisions that sparked the changes and some of the more widespread concerns moving forward. We have been fortunate enough to help countless companies get into the 8(a) Program, stay in the program, and navigate all the opportunities and benefits it has to offer. We have blogged consistently on everything from the federal court decisions at issue to the SBA’s implementation of the ordered changes to the 8(a) Program–doing our best to ensure our readers stay up-to-date on all things 8(a) in these times of uncertainty and change (a collection of all these articles can be found here).
So suffice it to say, we are excited to see the program being talked about on such a highly-esteemed, public, national forum. We are also very proud to see Nicole’s name in such a significant article on that forum. If you haven’t yet, go give it a read.
As you likely know if you have been anywhere around federal government contracting lately, the SBA’s 8(a) Program is in a little bit of an upheaval. Due to a court case we have blogged on, SBA is subject to a court order with how it administers certain aspects of the 8(a) Program and has temporarily suspended new 8(a) Program applications. However, there are many contractors already in the 8(a) Program that SBA is now asking to complete social disadvantage narratives to allow for continued eligibility. SBA held a webinar on August 24, 2023 to discuss what they expect from social disadvantage narratives submitted by these current 8(a) Program participants. What SBA expressed represents a change to how SBA has reviewed social disadvantage in the past. But we are here to walk you through some of these changes.Continue reading
A lot has been happening in the 8(a) Business Development Program world over the past couple of weeks. SBA has been busy updating regulations applicable to the 8(a) Program to both bring SBA rules into alignment with the economic realities in a post-COVID world and to make 8(a) requirements more uniform across the board. Here, we focus on a change to ownership rules for non-disadvantaged owners of 8(a) Program participants that are also part of an SBA-approved Mentor-Protégé Agreement.Continue reading
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
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