Under 13 C.F.R. § 124.506, if an 8(a) contract price would exceed a certain threshold ($7 million for manufacturing contracts, $4.5 million for others), in most cases, the agency must compete the set-aside. 13 C.F.R. § 124.506(a)(5) is a provision meant to close up what otherwise would be a loophole in the rules. It states that “[a] proposed 8(a) requirement with an estimated value exceeding the applicable competitive threshold amount may not be divided into several separate procurement actions for lesser amounts in order to use 8(a) sole source procedures to award to a single contractor.” But this rule does not apply in all circumstances. In particular, it does not apply to bridge contracts.Continue reading
SBA recently issued new guidance on how to demonstrate social disadvantage–one of the elements an individual must meet to be eligible for SBA’s illustrious 8(a) Business Development Program. The guidance implements a streamlined social disadvantage narrative format–limiting the number of social disadvantage instances to two and asking only for direct answers to six questions for each instance. The “new” format really just hones in on the elements SBA has always asked for 8(a) social disadvantage narratives to demonstrate, substantively, not changing a thing. Nevertheless, SBA has been quite firm in requiring this new, short and sweet, structured format–so let’s dig into it a bit.Continue reading
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
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
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
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.