SBA’s Approach to Monitoring 8(a) Firms is Focused on Eligibility Rather than Business Development, Says SBA’s OIG

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.

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GAO Tested SBA on its Tribal 8(a) Verification Process and Found It Mostly Held Up

Federal and state-recognized Indian tribes and members of such tribes are presumptively socially disadvantaged, and if tribal association is verified, no further information is needed to verify social disadvantage for a Small Business Association (SBA) 8(a) program application. However, in 2021, the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported that, although the process for awarding 8(a) program status involves a multi-level eligibility review, the SBA does not have a formal verification procedure for verifying the federal or state-recognized status of Indian tribes associated with tribal applications. As such, GAO was asked to evaluate the SBA’s verification of 8(a) applications claiming federal or state-recognized tribal association. The following is a summary of those findings. 

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SBA Inspector General Questions Legality of Relaxed HUBZone Residency Rule

Last December, SBA overhauled its HUBZone Program rules in an effort to make it easier for companies to obtain and maintain HUBZone certification–and to help the Government stop falling so woefully short of the three percent HUBZone prime contracting goal.

But now, in a new report, SBA’s internal watchdog is questioning whether one of those HUBZone Program changes went too far.

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SBA Inspector General Says SBA’s Corrective Actions Have Effectively Resolved 8(a) Eligibility Concerns

SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently inspected SBA’s 2019-2020 corrective actions to determine whether they had effectively reduced the risks previously found in SBA’s 8(a) Program eligibility determinations. Apparently, the OIG liked what it saw.

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SBA Inspector General Warns of ‘Widespread’ Fraud in COVID-19 Loan Program

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.

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Running the Numbers: SBA OIG Tallies Up Handling of PPP Loans

The SBA’s Office of Inspector General released an early report on SBA’s handling of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The report identified some important areas where SBA has not quite hit the mark in matching the priorities of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act with SBA’s implementation and guidance for PPP loans.

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SBA Inspector General Identifies “Challenges” with Multiple SBA Programs

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.

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