Small Business Regulations and Programs

I recently authored an article for Strategic Consulting Solutions, Inc. (SCS) GovCon Advisor – a monthly news source for the government contracts industry. The article outlines the requirements of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) All Small Mentor-Protégé Program (ASMPP), focusing on the Mentor-Protégé Agreement (MPA) and the recent Hendall case. As I point out, “The Hendall case is a great example of one of the primary business development benefits under the ASMPP – the ability for a large business and small business to form a joint venture and pursue a small business set aside contract as a team. Without the ASMPP JV affiliation exception – these businesses would normally be considered affiliates and unable to pursue the opportunity as a joint venture.  The case also highlights the importance of carefully drafting the MPA and being very specific as to the benefits the protégé will receive.”

The full article, “SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé Program Provides Critical Affiliation Exception for Eligible Joint Ventures,” is available on the SCS website.

On September 24, 2018, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued a final rule that alters its regulations governing the Veteran-Owned Small Business Verification Program.  The final rule, “VA Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Verification Guidelines,” will go into effect on October 1, 2018.  This new rule brings much awaited clarity and uniformity to the regulations governing the VA’s ownership and control requirements for VOSBs and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs).

Details of the VA VOSB Verification Guidelines

The rule places exclusive authority to implement VOSB verification regulations in the Small Business Administration (SBA), and goes so far as to seek the removal of all references to “ownership” or “control” from VA regulations.  Additionally, the rule provides clarification on certain portions of the VA verification process, and outlines the circumstances that will allow a company to qualify as a VOSB or SDVOSB under a surviving spouse or active employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).

Continue Reading VA Concedes Sole Responsibility for Verifying Veteran Contractor Ownership and Control to the SBA

Teaming 101: Utilizing Teaming Arrangements and Joint Ventures in Subcontracting as a Competitive AdvantageRichard Arnholt will speak at the 17th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo. Richard will speak on the topic of, “Teaming 101: Utilizing Teaming Arrangements and Joint Ventures in Subcontracting as a Competitive Advantage.”

Topics include:

  • Practical guidance about teaming agreements and joint venture agreements
  • Key terms that both types of arrangements should contain
  • Pros and con of each arrangement type
  • Overview of associated risks

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading Event: Teaming 101 – Utilizing Teaming Arrangements and Joint Ventures in Subcontracting as a Competitive Advantage

Congress created the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs in 1982 and 1992, respectively. These programs require certain government agencies to set aside a percentage of their extramural budgets so domestic small businesses can engage in research and development (R&D) with a strong potential for technology commercialization. Accordingly, 11 agencies support the SBIR program with five of them also having STTR programs. The Small Business Administration serves as the coordinating agency for the programs.

Small businesses receive multiple benefits by applying for SBIR/STTR awards. The funding is stable, predictable, and not a loan. In addition, the capital is non-dilutive, and the small business retains certain intellectual property rights for their developments. Companies can use their proposals for SBIR/STTR awards as an opportunity to develop a relationship with a university or other research institutions. These programs allow innovative small businesses to offset the cost of R&D while leaving them in control of any developed IP.

Continue Reading Additional Funding Available for SBIR/STTR Awardees at the State Level

In late March, Tennessee Governor Haslam proposed an amended budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2018, which included $3 million toward LaunchTennessee Grants—demonstrating that Tennessee’s implementation of a matching program for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (STTR) survived as more than just a 12-month initiative.

Previous State Funding

Within the last year, Tennessee became the seventeenth state to implement a matching program for SBIR and STTR federal funding. However, there was no guarantee that the program would be funded for a second year. While Tennessee is among national leaders in terms of research funding, Tennessee-based businesses have not been as successful as other states in winning SBIR and STTR awards. This matching program sought to help increase the success rate.

Continue Reading LaunchTennessee’s SBIR/STTR Matching Fund Program Hoping for Another Successful Year

Todd Overman will be presenting at the 31st Annual Government Small Business Conference in Tampa on May 4, 2018. The event, co-hosted by the Florida Procurement Technical Assistance Center at USF and the Florida SBDC at USF, is a unique conference for small business owners to learn how to optimize business opportunities through informative workshops, panel discussions, and a Business Opportunity Expo featuring federal agencies.

Todd’s presentation, “Early Themes for Government Contractors Under the Trump Administration,” will highlight regulatory updates implemented by the Trump Administration that impact government contractors, as well discuss enforcement trends that could impact certain industries.  Issues to be covered include domestic preference, small business developments, and cybersecurity enforcement.

EVENT DETAILS:

Continue Reading Event – Regulatory and Enforcement Update: Early Themes for Government Contractors Under the Trump Administration

Two Washington, D.C. area government contractors have agreed to pay the government for their respective roles in defrauding the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in schemes to fraudulently obtain government contracts set aside for small businesses.  These two cases highlight the importance of small business compliance and the submission of accurate and complete certifications. Continue Reading Small Business Fraud Leads to Large Monetary Liability in Recent Cases

Teaming Arrangements under the FAR

Under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 9.6, a contractor teaming arrangement is when:

  1. Two or more companies form a partnership or joint venture to act as a potential prime contractor; or
  2. A potential prime contractor agrees with one or more other companies to have them act as its subcontractors under a specified government contract or acquisition program.

Both of these arrangements have the potential to help small businesses increase the number of solicitations they can confidently bid on, but both also come with their own set of limitations to consider.

Continue Reading What Small Businesses Must Consider When Using Teaming Arrangements or Joint Ventures

Veteran-owned small businesses have long faced inconsistencies between the regulations of the Small Business Administration (SBA) and those of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, these inconsistencies can lead to companies qualifying as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) under VA standards yet but not SBA standards—or vice versa. This issue came to a head recently at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC) in Veterans Contracting Group, Inc. v. United States.

In a decision issued on December 15 and made public on December 21, the COFC restored a company’s ability to pursue contracts set aside for small businesses owned by disabled veterans by the VA. The decision came a day after the COFC reluctantly backed the SBA’s determination that the same company did not qualify for set-aside contracts under its rules. These conflicting decisions show the struggle the COFC and contractors face when dealing with inconsistent small business rules from two agencies.

Continue Reading COFC Decision Foreshadows VA Proposed Rule on Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Eligibility Rules

The Government recently indicted an Army veteran for allegedly using his status as a service-disabled veteran to help a company qualify as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business and falsely obtain nearly $40 million in healthcare facility construction task orders from the Department of Defense.

The indictment is an indication that the government is continuing to aggressively pursue small businesses that fail to comply with set-aside requirements, and is a reminder that businesses benefiting from small business programs must be fully compliant with the complex regulations governing those socio-economic programs. It is also a reminder that the consequences of failing to meet those requirements are real – the Army veteran, Joseph Dial Jr., is facing over a century in prison.

Continue Reading If You Don’t Do the Work, You Might Do Time Instead: Service-Disabled Veteran Faces Jail Time for Failing to Run Day-to-Day Operations