The Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently released its report discussing the top management and performance challenges facing the SBA in 2024. The report highlights a number of issues currently plaguing the SBA and its various programs, including abuse of economic relief programs, disaster assistance programs, and loan programs, cyber security shortcomings within the agency, and oversight of grant management. The report also notes concerns with the HUBZone and small disadvantaged business programs. However, today I want to focus on the issues identified in two programs that we at Koprince McCall Pottroff work with day in and day out: the Woman-Owned Small Business Program and the 8(a) Business Development Program.Continue reading
The FAR Council has released updates that will impact a couple aspects of small business contracting. One is that contractors can now file size and socioeconomic status protests for certain types of orders, under strict timelines. Second is that agencies must notify SBA when they seek to remove certain contracts from the 8(a) Program. While these rules were present in some form in SBA rules, they are now firmly ensconced in the Federal Acquisition Regulation as well. Below, I discuss the highlights of these rules as well as any differences from the SBA rules.Continue reading
This week, the SBA published a press release affirming its continued support of its 8(a) Business Development Program in response to recent 8(a) Program attacks in the courts. In the press release, business industry leaders across the nation joined SBA Administrator, Isabella Casillas Guzman, in praising the 8(a) Program, its successful history, and its driving policy and spirit.Continue reading
As we have previously written about in several recent 8(a) articles and updates, which can all be found on our 8(a) landing page here, SBA had previously told all 8(a) participants not pending an 8(a) award to “sit tight” and wait for the go-ahead to submit their social disadvantage narratives. Well, according to SBA’s just-released Certify Help Desk Guidance, it appears that go-ahead was just given to all the (justifiably) anxious 8(a) participants out there hoping to confirm their continued 8(a) Program eligibility as soon as possible.Continue reading
To keep federal contractors apprised of recent decisions affecting the 8(a) Program, we are launching the 8(a) Contractors’ Toolkit. The goal is to provide relevant and useful information for government contractors about eligibility, contract requirements, and best practices. We are here to help federal contractors navigate the rapidly changing waters of the 8(a) Program.
Check back regularly as we cover various topics bearing on federal contractors currently participating in or hoping to gain entry into the 8(a) Program. We will regularly and promptly update the site to keep our readers informed of all updates, clarifications, and guidance regarding the 8(a) Program, as they are released.
We understand that things may feel a bit uncertain and overly complex in the 8(a) Program at this time. Our greatest hope is that this collection of specific information on the current changes to the 8(a) Program and social disadvantage narratives will guide contractors in drafting their narratives, but we are also here to help anyone who needs assistance. More information is available at this link.
If you are needing legal assistance, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 785-200-8919.
Writing a social disadvantage narrative for application to SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program has always been an arduous undertaking–to say the least. And up until a recent Federal District Court decision (which we blogged on here), only a small portion of 8(a) Program applicants had to submit this time-consuming, highly personal, difficult task. But now (as discussed in the above-linked blog and in this blog on SBA’s recent actions in response to the decision), this requirement is being expanded to all individual applicants that haven’t already provided a social disadvantage narrative. You can read much more about SBA’s implementation of this here. But essentially, you will need to write a social disadvantage narrative if you are an individually-owned1 8(a) applicant or program participant who is trying to get into the 8(a) Program or already in the 8(a) Program–even if you were planning to or already had relied on the rebuttable presumption of social disadvantage (which SBA can no longer use).
Fortunately, we have been drafting these narratives for a long time now, meticulously studying and utilizing: (i) SBA’s rules, policies, and guidance on social disadvantage narratives (recent guidance can be found here); (ii) SBA’s feedback on individual narratives; and (iii) SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) decisions covering the SBA’s initial appealed decisions on applicants’ social disadvantage eligibility–as well as OHA’s final decisions on the appeals. So, while SBA’s current regulations and guidance can guide your pen, they are certainly 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
As you likely know, there are some major changes going on in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. And like many, I am sure you have a lot of questions—given the fact that these changes are being implemented right now without a published final rule explaining the details, limitations, and new requirements. While we may not have a rule, we have been closely following any and all SBA guidance on the matter as it has released. And as usual, we are here to pass that valuable information along to you.
On August 17, SBA counsel John Klein provided an important update as part of the National 8(a) Association’s regular update series. The recording will be available soon, so check back on their website if you missed it. A key takeaway is that the SBA will require social disadvantage narratives for all individually-owned entities to establish social disadvantage. But there were some other updates as well.Continue reading