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.
If you are a government contractor participating in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program, there is a good chance you received an email this week about COVID-19 and the SBA’s 8(a) suspension authority. What is this authority and, more importantly, how would suspension impact your 8(a) status? In this post, we aim to provide some answers to frequently asked questions about these suspensions.
Effective March 17, DOD contracting officers won’t have to issue a justification or obtain approval for award of a sole-source contract under the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program for awards up to $100 million, up from the prior $22 million limit. This Department of Defense class deviation implements the higher dollar amount that Congress set in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. This change will likely matter most for 8(a) concerns owned by an Indian Tribe, Alaska Native Corporation (ANC) or Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO), as other 8(a) firms are limited to a smaller dollar amount for sole source awards unless only one 8(a) firm can perform the work.
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.
Just last week during a Govology webinar on Women-Owned Small Businesses, one of the attendees asked my colleague Haley Claxton and I an insightful question about the different standards for giving sole source awards to participants in various government programs. She wanted to know the difference between how contracting officers go about offering an 8(a) sole source award and a WOSB sole source award.
I had to admit, the practical, ground-level, nitty gritty business of how these awards are doled out doesn’t actually come across my desk that much.
The SBA has published a final rule that would allow for quite the change to small business set-aside multiple award contracts (MACs) and orders issued under them. This final rule amends the SBA’s regulations to authorize task and delivery orders issued under a small business set-aside MAC, to be set-aside for HUBZone businesses, 8(a) businesses, SDVOSBs, or WOSBs. While agencies had set aside orders under MACs before, SBA has now clarified its regulations to allow socioeconomic set-asides of orders under small business set-aside MACs.
Last week, SBA proposed big changes for some of its small business regulations, particularly those in the 8(a) Program. This blog post is Part 2 in our coverage of the proposed amendments (see Part 1 here) and will cover SBA’s potential changes to the procurement process for 8(a) contracts.