Update 5/14/2020: Since this post was originally published, SBA’s website has clarified when SBA Certification will be available and when Self-Certification will end. The post has been updated to reflect this information.
On Monday, the Small Business Administration will publish a Final Rule updating the certification methods for businesses applying for and participating in the Women-Owned Small Business program. The new Rule will also impose new thresholds for demonstrating economic disadvantage, impacting applicants not only for the WOSB program, but also the 8(a) Business Development program.
In its report published last week, GAO both commends and criticizes SBA for its handling of tribally affiliated 8(a) business development firms—particularly Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and ANC-owned businesses participating in the 8(a) program.
OHA recently affirmed the 8(a) status denial of a 100% woman-owned small business performing in the historically male-dominated renewable energy field. The applicant—who SBA called an “advocate” and “mentor” to women in the industry—detailed specific instances of gender-based-discrimination that plagued her education, employment, and career. But SBA was unmoved, instead focusing its analysis on the applicant’s triumph over these obstacles—apparently an indication that she was not socially disadvantaged in the first place. Unfortunately, this perplexing holding does fall in line with many past SBA denials of women-owned companies for 8(a) status.
We recently discussed at length the SBA’s proposed rule to get rid of WOSB self-certification and revise some of the other WOSB certification rules. Well, it seems like SBA is crossing a lot of things off its to-do list, because in that same proposed rule, SBA also proposes to “to make the economic disadvantage requirements for the 8(a) BD program consistent to the economic disadvantage requirements for women-owned firms seeking EDWOSB status” and to “eliminate the distinction in the 8(a) BD program for initial entry into and continued eligibility for the program.”
If the rule is approved, the dollar amounts for initial 8(a) economic disadvantage eligibility would increase quite a bit, making more people economically eligible. Read on for the details on this proposed change.
The 8(a) Program can offer incredible opportunities: sole source contracts, set-aside competitions, mentor-protege relationships, SBA business training and much more.
But for business owners older than 59 1/2, getting admitted to the 8(a) Program can be very difficult: unlike their younger counterparts, funds these owners have saved in traditional retirement accounts will likely count against the 8(a) Program’s $250,000 adjusted net worth cap.
How is this fair? (Spoiler alert: in my opinion, it ain’t).
Last year, we wrote about the SBA’s Office of Inspector General’s concerns with the SBA’s review of potential 8(a) participants’ eligibility. In this report, the OIG made three recommendations aimed at improving to verify applicants’ eligibility.
Just last week, the OIG released a new report analyzing the 8(a) Program. This report picks up where the earlier report left off—it addressed several issues in the SBA’s evaluation of participants’ continuing eligibility.
The results of this report are rather alarming: based on its review, the OIG identified almost $127 million in 8(a) set-aside awards to ineligible firms.
To qualify for the 8(a) Program, a firm must be a small business that is unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially- and economically-disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and citizens of the United States and that demonstrates a potential for success.
What does this really mean? Here are five things you should know about 8(a) Program eligibility.