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
As you likely know, there are some major changes going on in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program. And like many, I am sure you have a lot of questions—given the fact that these changes are being implemented right now without a published final rule explaining the details, limitations, and new requirements. While we may not have a rule, we have been closely following any and all SBA guidance on the matter as it has released. And as usual, we are here to pass that valuable information along to you.
On August 17, SBA counsel John Klein provided an important update as part of the National 8(a) Association’s regular update series. The recording will be available soon, so check back on their website if you missed it. A key takeaway is that the SBA will require social disadvantage narratives for all individually-owned entities to establish social disadvantage. But there were some other updates as well.Continue reading
The SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, the office that handles the 8(a) Business Development Program applications, has just confirmed that SBA has “temporarily paused” the submission of new 8(a) Program applications in light of the recent decision by the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee.Continue reading
On July 19, 2023, the federal district court of the Eastern District of Tennessee issued a decision regarding a case involving the rebuttable presumption of social disadvantage in place under the 8(a) Business Development Program. Ultima Servs. Corp. v. U.S. Dep’t of Agric., 220CV00041DCLCCRW, 2023 WL 4633481, at *1 (E.D. Tenn. July 19, 2023). This decision found that this presumption is unconstitutional as it violates the right to equal protection. This, understandably, has caused a great deal of confusion and concern for current and potential 8(a) Program participants. In this post, we will not be providing our opinion on the correctness of the court’s decision (or analyze it from a policy perspective), as we will leave that to attorneys who specialize in constitutional law. Instead, we will go over the decision, what it means, and what it could affect down the road.Continue reading
The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is the crème de la crème of federal government contracting and there is a high bar to entry for admission. Among other things, individuals that are not a member of one of the recognized groups that is automatically presumed to be socially disadvantaged must prove they were socially disadvantaged throughout their life through what is called a social disadvantage narrative. Beyond that, there are a number of other qualifications, such as being economically disadvantaged, a business’s potential for success, and evidence of good character that must also be met. 13 C.F.R. § 124.101. The process is difficult, and once an individual is admitted, they no doubt want to make the most of it.
Oftentimes, small businesses that participate in the 8(a) SBA’s Business Development Program remain in the Program for the full 9 years that the SBA allows, which culminates in the small business “graduating” from the program. 13 C.F.R. § 124.302. Sometimes, the business grows so successfully that it no longer meets the qualifications of being small, and thus is required to graduate early from the 8(a) Program. So how exactly does that happen? Read on to find out.Continue reading