SBA to Small Businesses: Be Careful with Ostensible Subcontractors on SBIR Awards

In a recent decision, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) examined a company that received two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant awards. The SBA Area Office had determined that the awardee was not an eligible small business due to ostensible subcontractor affiliation and other reasons. This decision is an important reminder for SBIR candidates on how they should structure subcontracting teams, as SBA will examine SBIR awardee eligibility.

Continue reading

Congress Reauthorizes SBIR/STTR, Adds a Few Wrinkles

Congress recently approved reauthorization of both the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The law, known as the ‘‘SBIR and STTR Extension Act of 2022’’, was ratified by the House on September 29 and became law on October 3, 2022. While the big takeaway is that the SBIR and STTR programs will continue, this post will highlight a few additional restrictions that were put into place for these important programs. Included among these are some additional reporting and oversight for companies with a lot of awards and foreign influence over companies.

Continue reading

House Subcommittee Proposes New SBIR/STTR Phase III Transition Pilot Program

Congress is at work on the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act–major annual legislation that often includes significant changes to the laws impacting government contractors.

This year’s NDAA promises to be no different. Among potential changes: the House Subcommittee on Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems has proposed to establish a pilot program to help transition more Phase II SBIR/STTR awardees to Phase III.

Continue reading

Debriefing Exception to Protest Timeliness Rule Doesn’t Apply to SBIR Procurements, Period

Equitus Corporation was sure it was following the right procedures when it requested a debriefing after receiving a letter stating its proposal under an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) solicitation had been rejected. The Air Force even provided the debriefing as requested, and Equitus filed a protest less than 10 days later. However, they made an easy-to-miss but crucial error that resulted in dismissal of their protest.

Continue reading

SBIR Program: Agencies Have Broad Discretion Over Phase III Awards, GAO Confirms

A federal agency has broad discretion to make a sole source award under Phase III of the Small Business Innovation Research program.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that an agency may make a Phase III award when the contract “derives from, extends, or completes efforts made under prior funding agreements under the SBIR program.” What’s more, an agency has “relatively limited requirements to justify a phase III award,” and considerable discretion when it comes to determining whether a new contract fits this definition.

Continue reading

SBA Clarifies that SBIR and STTR Programs Will Allow Successor-In-Interest Transfers of Awards

SBA recently issued a technical amendment to its SBIR and STTR Programs Policy Directive to clarify that successor-in-interest entities are, in fact, eligible to receive phase III awards. The amendment will take effect on October 1 of this year.

Continue reading

Novation Disaster: SBIR Phase III Award Stripped by GAO

Contractors interested in acquiring participants in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program beware: successfully novating SBIR contracts has been made significantly harder by a recent GAO decision.

Worse still, SBIR novation mistakes can jeopardize future awards under the SBIR contract vehicles. Tread lightly.

Continue reading