Back in 2020, we discussed an SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) decision stating that the managing venturer must control every aspect of the joint venture. This position, which we questioned in that article, has changed since that time, and we explored the changes to the regulatory language in question not long thereafter. But this regulatory language was still vague. Since that time, there has been much case law development. The Court of Federal Claims (COFC) held in 2022, “[a] minority owner’s control over “extraordinary” actions, such as actions intended to protect the investment of minority shareholders, will not result in a finding of negative control” and applied this idea to a populated joint venture. Swift & Staley, Inc. v. United States, No. 21-1279, 2022 WL 1231428 (Fed. Cl. Mar. 31, 2022), aff’d, No. 2022-1601, 2022 WL 17576348 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 12, 2022). It now appears, fairly established at this point, that non-managing venturers can have a say in what can best be described as “extraordinary actions.” These are the sorts of decisions that can completely change the trajectory of the joint venture. But contractors must still be very careful in giving the non-managing venturer a say in the joint venture’s decisions. As one firm learned the hard way in a recent COFC case, a joint venture with too many actions controllable by the non-managing venturer may end up ineligible for set-asides. Here, we explore this decision.Continue reading
A joint venture agreement must closely follow Small Business Administration rules to be compliant for a small business set-aside. And SBA interprets those rules strictly. If they are not followed, a joint venture that was up for award, can see that award go up in smoke. Here, SBA said that a joint venture involving a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) was not compliant because it was both (a) not specific enough and (b) too detailed in providing for oversight of actions of the JV partners.Continue reading
Joint ventures operating under the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protege Program may need to adjust their joint venture agreements because of a little-noticed change to SBA’s joint venture rules.
In its recent final rule, effective November 16, SBA amended two of the mandatory requirements for mentor-protege joint ventures pursuing small business set-aside contracts. SBA did not make corresponding changes to the joint venture rules for SBA’s four major socioeconomic programs–meaning that a joint venture agreement that complies with the small business set-aside rules may not be valid if the joint venture pursues 8(a), SDVOSB/VOSB, HUBZone or WOSB/EDWOSB contracts (and vice versa).Continue reading
It’s no secret that federal contract opportunities are becoming more and more competitive. But as we’ve previously gushed, small businesses enjoy a tremendous tool for enhancing their competitiveness: participating in a joint venture with another company.
Properly formed, a joint venture allows its participants to augment their capabilities and experiences in the quest to win (and successfully perform) a particular opportunity. But there’s the trick—to enjoy the benefits of a joint venture, that joint venture must meet various regulatory requirements. One misstep and the joint venture might not be eligible for the award.
A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision shows the importance of making sure these regulatory requirements are met.Continue reading
Joint venture agreements continue to be a hot topic among small business federal contractors. For good reason: if the agreement is properly prepared, a joint venture allows two companies (including, in the case of an approved mentor and protégé, a large business) to augment their capabilities and jointly bid on a federal project.
But to avail themselves of this benefit, the venturers must first prepare a joint venture agreement that complies with the SBA’s requirements. Sometimes, this task can be quite tricky. And as a recent decision of the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals shows, the failure to have a compliant joint venture agreement can cost the joint venture an award.Continue reading
Updating your joint venture agreement is essential to maintaining compliance with SBA’s regulations and failing to update could cost you contracts.
In Stacqme, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5976 (Dec. 10, 2018), the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a mentor-protege joint venture’s failure to update its JV agreement caused the agreement to be non-compliant with the SBA’s rules, and meant that the joint venture was ineligible for an SDVOSB set-aside contract.Continue reading
The SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program offers a tremendous opportunity for participants to pursue set-aside contracts as joint venture partners. But misunderstandings and misconceptions about how SBA mentor-protégé joint ventures work are pervasive.
One very common misconception is that the SBA must pre-approve a mentor-protégé joint venture. In most cases, that’s not so. In a recent bid protest decision, even the GAO appeared a little confused, repeatedly mentioning SBA approval of a joint venture even though no such approval was required for the contract in question.