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
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
It’s no secret that the 8(a) federal government contracting world has been in a bit of an upheaval this summer. When the Eastern District of Tennessee published its decision for the Ultima Services Corporation case, small business federal contractors everywhere began scrambling to keep up to date on how various agencies would react. We here at SmallGovCon have been keeping up to date on the developments as they happen. This time, we have more information on how the Ultima Services Corporation case will affect procurements with the Department of Defense, thanks to a new class deviation effective August 24, 2023.Continue reading
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
The SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, the office that handles the 8(a) Business Development Program applications, has just confirmed that SBA has “temporarily paused” the submission of new 8(a) Program applications in light of the recent decision by the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee.Continue reading
On July 19, 2023, the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee issued a decision regarding a case involving the rebuttable presumption of social disadvantage in place under the 8(a) Business Development Program. Ultima Servs. Corp. v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., 220CV00041DCLCCRW, 2023 WL 4633481, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. July 19, 2023). This decision found that this presumption is unconstitutional as it violates the right to equal protection. This, understandably, has caused a great deal of confusion and concern for current and potential 8(a) Program participants. In this post, we will not be providing our opinion on the correctness of the court’s decision (or analyze it from a policy perspective), as we will leave that to attorneys who specialize in constitutional law. Instead, we will go over the decision, what it means, and what it could affect down the road.Continue reading