Changes to SBA’s 8(a) program, prompted by a recent district court decision, will make it more difficult for current participants to remain eligible for the 8(a) program and may dissuade potential participants from applying. With the SBA requiring social disadvantage narrative statements from current participants to be eligible to receive 8(a) contracts, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how the SBA will evaluate the narratives of thousands of owners of 8(a) firms.   

In an interview with Law360, PilieroMazza’s Managing Partner, Tony Franco, said: “The distinction between those who qualify under the narrative requirement and those who don’t may ultimately come down to the subjective views of who specifically at the SBA reviews a narrative submission. A narrative, by its nature, can’t be judged through strict metrics of what is sufficiently discriminatory to result in disadvantage.”

“What one person may view as having been an obstacle, someone else may view as, ‘That’s just the challenges that life presents,'” Franco said. “There’s just going to be some folks who the SBA reviewer, applying their subjective standards, are going to believe … are giving a narrative that in one situation may pass muster, but this other individual for some other reason doesn’t. People are going to have to put some time and effort into telling good, compelling stories.”

Excerpt taken from the article “SBA Small Biz Program Changes Likely To Limit Participation” by Daniel Wilson for Law360. Please visit this link for the full article (subscription required) and this link for PilieroMazza’s recent client alert on this topic.

About Tony Franco

In addition to serving as Managing Partner of PilieroMazza, Tony has an active practice in the Firm’s Government Contracts Group where he has over 30 years of experience representing government contractors and commercial businesses. His practice encompasses all aspects of federal government contracting. Tony also works closely with attorneys in the Firm’s Business & Transactions Group on corporate transactions and the Labor & Employment Group to address employer-employee challenges in the highly regulated market of government contracting.

Tony counsels clients on a wide range of complex legal and regulatory matters, including (i) protests and claims against the federal government; (ii) commercial and contractual disputes; (iii) investigations and compliance audits; (iv) suspension and debarment proceedings; and (v) entity formation, including joint ventures, operating agreements, and shareholder agreements.

Tony primarily represents government contractors—large and small—interested in pursuing set-aside opportunities under SBA’s small business programs. He advises firms on teaming, joint ventures, mentor protégé arrangements, and strategies to defend awards from size, status, and bid protests. Tony assists firms in complying with the FAR and rules applicable to all small business contracting programs. His practice also encompasses the representation of Tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, and their government contracting subsidiaries.