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
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.
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
A few months ago, we explored SBA’s new rule that made changes to the 8(a) program, the limitations on subcontracting rules, and the ostensible subcontractor rule. There was another aspect of that new rule that also makes some needed clarification on how contracting officers can limit 8(a) competitions, and we want to briefly explore that here.Continue reading
SBA’s Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) recently said that the SBA Area Office should have informed the protested concern of the issues its adverse size determination focused on before ruling against the concern’s size eligibility on that basis. In addition to its lesson on due process, OHA also took this opportunity to distinguish totality of the circumstances affiliation (the basis on which the Area Office found affiliation here) from ostensible subcontractor affiliation (the basis for affiliation alleged in the size protest). OHA vacated and remanded the Area Office’s decision.Continue reading
Last week, the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a report, entitled “SBA’s Business Development Assistance to 8(a) Program Participants.” The report detailed the OIG’s recent audit of the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program to “determine to what extent SBA measures and monitors an 8(a) firm’s progress toward achieving individual business development goals” and “to ensure 8(a) firms receive the help needed to meet their goals and if the program adapted during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic.” Let’s take a closer look at the details and findings.Continue reading