According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General, potential fraudsters have obtained $250 million in federal funds intended to help businesses survive the impact of COVID-19.
The Inspector General also identified $45.6 million in potentially duplicate payments and warned that with well over $220 billion left to give out, rapid changes were needed.
The SBA Office of the Inspector General has taken it upon itself to look at the SBA’s programs and activities in order to determine what risks the SBA may face in the 2020 Fiscal Year. It appears that the OIG did not like what it found. The examination found multiple risks and problems associated with SBA programs, including the 8(a) program, the WOSB program, and SBA’s small business contract goaling methods.
On September 18, 2019, SBA’s Office of Inspector General released an Audit Report summarizing a recent audit of SBA’s Suspension and Debarment Process. The purpose of the audit was to determine whether SBA “had sufficient controls in place to prevent suspended or debarred entities from receiving federal contracts through SBA’s preference contracting programs and small business loans.” Through its investigation, OIG discovered SBA lent and awarded millions of dollars to businesses otherwise ineligible to receive these funds under SBA’s suspension and debarment guidelines. While SBA disagreed with some of OIG’s findings, SBA did agree to take some steps to address OIG’s findings and recommendations.
In 2016, SBA established the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program, or ASMPP, enabling mentors of any size to provide business development assistance to small protégé businesses to enhance the protégé’s ability to compete for federal contracts. Since then, the ASMPP has served as a powerful tool for many businesses and, as of August 1, there were 885 active mentor-protégé agreements.
Recently, however, the SBA’s Office of the Inspector General released a report highlighting some opportunities to improve the program and recommending SBA take additional steps to ensure compliance with the program’s requirements.
To be eligible to participate in the 8(a) Business Development Program, an applicant firm must be a small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a socially- and economically-disadvantaged individual (or individuals) who are of good character and citizen(s) of the United States. The firm, moreover, must show a potential for success.
The Small Business Administration’s internal watchdog (the Office of Inspector General, or OIG) recently raised its continuing concerns regarding the admission of several entities to the 8(a) Program. The OIG’s report is worth reading, as it may lead to changes in the 8(a) Program’s eligibility criteria.
The SBA should implement a women-owned small business certification program, according to the SBA’s own Inspector General.
In a recent report on management challenges facing the SBA, the SBA Office of Inspector General urged the SBA to adopt a WOSB certification program–and stated that failing to do so may allow ineligible firms to receive WOSB set-aside contracts.
Of 34 WOSB and EDWOSB set-aside awards examined by the SBA Office of Inspector General, 15 of those awards were improper.
The SBA OIG’s conclusion comes in a new WOSB program report, and suggests that some Contracting Officers are unaware of the WOSB progran’s unique requirements, including the NAICS code limitations for WOSB and EDWOSB set-asides.