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SBA 8a Certification Consultants & Lawyers

SBA 8a Certification Consultants & Lawyers

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The Small Business Administration (SBA) 8a certification Program is a congressional program designed to help socially and economically disadvantaged small business to better position themselves in the business world. This is does by tacking advantaged of uniquely targeted sole source requirements and 8aset asides where only 8(a) Program participants get bid for federal projects. However, to get to the powerful benefits of the program you must become 8(a) certified. This can be a daunting process simply because most 8a certification applicants are unaware of the detailed review by the SBA. More importantly many small business believe the application process to be easier than it really is. There is legal threshold that you must meet within the numerous sections of the 8a certification process. This is where our government contracts consultants and lawyers can help.

·         Get A-Z help with your 8a certification applications

·         Avoid affiliation mistakes that can cost you a contract

·         Get help with joint venture agreements and teaming agreements

·         Litigate and appeal averse decisions from the SBA

·         Take advantage of our flat rate offerings

·         Free initial consultations

Watson & Associates, LLC are 8a certification  consultants and lawyers that provide detailed assistance to small businesses and minority owned business to get past the hurdles in the certification process. The 8a certification program is tough business. The SBA rejects about 70% of 8a certification applications after its first review. We help you analyze net worth, business relationships and ownerships, social narrative and economic narratives, ownership and control problems and more. We can either perform a complete review of your package before submission or we can help you prepare the entire 8a application.

Sign up for our 8a Application Training Classes.

8a Certification, 8a Status and Eligibility Requirements

Entrepreneurs seeking to gain entrance into the SBA's 8a program must meet a number of criteria in such areas as ownership, management, and likelihood of success.

  • An applicant must qualify as a small business enterprise as defined by the Small Business Administration's rules and regulations.
  • An applicant firm must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) by an individual or individual(s) who is an American citizen. If the business is a corporation, "at least 51 percent of each class of voting stock and 51 percent of the aggregate of all outstanding shares of stock must be unconditionally owned by an individual(s) determined by SBA to be socially and economically disadvantaged," stated the Small Business Administration.
  • Majority owners of the applicant firm have to meet the SBA definition of a socially and economically disadvantaged group. Socially disadvantaged individuals are defined by the SBA as those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identification of members of groups without regard to their individual qualities. Economically disadvantaged individuals, meanwhile, are defined by the SBA as socially disadvantaged people whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been diminished as a result of lesser capital and credit opportunities. Individuals from a broad array of social/ethnic groups have been found eligible for the 8a program under the above criteria, including black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Americans, and members of other ethnic groups. Individuals who are not members of recognized socially disadvantaged groups may also apply, but the SBA notes that such applicants "must establish social disadvantage on the basis of clear and convincing evidence."
  • Stock status is also considered. For example, a business may not claim to be unconditionally owned by socially/economically disadvantaged individuals if they make that claim on the basis of unexercised stock options. Similarly, the SBA considers options to purchase stock held by non-disadvantaged entities when determining ownership.
  • One 8a certified firm may not hold more than a 10 percent equity ownership interest in any other 8a firm. Moreover, no individual owner of an 8(a) firm, even if he or she qualifies as disadvantaged, may hold an equity ownership interest of more than 10 percent in another firm involved in the 8a program.
  • According to the SBA, "the management and daily business operations of a firm must be controlled by an owner(s) of the firm who has (have) been determined to be socially and economically disadvantaged. For a disadvantaged individual to control the firm, that individual must have managerial or technical experience and competency directly related to the primary industry in which the firm is seeking SBA 8a certification for those industries requiring professional licenses, SBA determines that the firm or individuals employed by the firm hold(s) the requisite license(s)."
  • At least one full-time manager who qualifies under SBA 8a status definitions as a disadvantaged person must hold the position of president or CEO in the company.
  • The individual or individuals claiming disadvantage must demonstrate that they personally suffered disadvantage, not just that the group of which they are a member has historically been considered to be disadvantaged. Moreover, the SBA stipulates that social disadvantage must be 1) rooted in treatment received in American society, not other countries; 2) chronic and substantial;3) and hindered their entrance or progress in the world of business. Applicants can point to several kinds of experiences to demonstrate the above, including denial of equal access to institutions of higher education; exclusion from social and professional associations; denial of educational honors; social pressures that discouraged the individual from pursuing education; and discrimination in efforts to secure employment or secure professional advancement.
  • Individuals claiming economic disadvantage can not have a personal net worth in excess of $250,000, no matter what their origins are.
  • Applicants have to show that they have been in business in the industry area to which they are applying for at least two years prior to the date of their 8a certification  application. They can do this by submitting income tax returns showing revenues for those years.
  • Applicants have to be deemed by the SBA to have a good probability of success in the industry in which they are involved. In making this determination, the Small Business Administration considers many factors, including the technical and managerial abilities and experiences of the owners, the financial situation of the applicant firm, and the company's record of performance on prior federal and private sector contracts.

8a Application and 8a Certification process

Your 8a application will be submitted the central SBA 8a  Program Office in California for final review. You will be asked to provide a wide range of materials, ranging from personal and business financial statements to organization charts, licenses, and schedules of business insurance. The 8a certification process can take up to six months for the SBA to make a decision. This is why it is critical to have a complete package the first time. If you make mistakes, your 8a Program Application can be delayed,

What Happens When You are Denied 8a Status?

Typically, when the SBA returns your package as incomplete, you will have 45 days to submit a Request for Reconsideration. However, upon final denial, you can only resubmit you 8(a) application after 12 months. As SBA 8a certification consultants, we can help with allegations of SBA 8a fraud.

Appeal from Denial into the SBA 8a Certification Program

After the SBA’s size protest final denial, you can appeal the denial to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeal. Caution must be taken since, there are legal and procedural rules that you must follow. Without having a government contracts lawyer on your side that understands the 8(a) Program, you can be at a great disadvantage. See winning sample case

Special Rules for Sole Sources in the SBA 8a Program

·         Get help in preparation for an upcoming effort targeted for sole source

·         Lear how to overcome common hurdles faced with 8a Program sole source contracts

·         Develop internal practices to avoid affiliation  and violations of Mentor Protege rules

·         Learn how to stay compliant once you are approved for the 8a Program

Newly-published rules by the Small Business Administration (SBA) address the justification and approval process associated with large sole-source contract awards to 8(a) firms; address parity among 8(a), HUBZone, and SDVOSB firms; set a minimum for the amount of work an 8a firm must do when joint venturing with a large business; and propose increases in the small business size standards for some industries. Public comment is being solicited on the last item.

Specifically, the rules:

  1. Require federal agencies to issue a Justification and Approval prior to the award of 8(a) sole source contracts over $20 million;
  2. Clarify a contracting officer’s ability to use discretion when determining whether an acquisition will be restricted to small businesses participating in the 8(a), HUBZone or service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) programs;
  3. Quantify the amount of work that an 8a certified firm must perform when joint-venturing with a large business; and
  4. Propose increases in the small business size standards for dozens of service industries in NAICS codes 54 and 81. (The last major size standard changes took place 25 years ago.)

The first two rules were issued as interim rules by the SBA and the Federal Acquisition (FAR) Council, and are effective immediately. The third item is a proposed rule. All were published on March 16, 2011 in the Federal Register.

The FAR Council issued an interim rule implementing Section 811 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (Pub. L. 111-84), which requires federal agencies to issue a Justification and Approval (J&A) prior to awarding a sole-source contract over $20 million under the 8(a) program. The J&A must be approved by an appropriate official (as currently defined by FAR 6.304) and made public after award of the contract

Nationwide SBA 8a Application Services

Federal law allows any government contracts lawyer or consultant at Watson to provide 8a certification services to business throughout the United States including Denver, Colorado, Wyoming, Washington State, California, Maryland, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Colorado Springs, Utah, Oklahoma, Ohio, Maine, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Maryland, Louisiana, Las Vegas, Georgia, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Florida, Indiana, Washington State, Mississippi, California, Tennessee, Tampa, Miami, Virgin Islands, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, Arizona, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Montana.

Contact us for Help in the 8a Certification Program

If you contemplating applying for the 8(a) Certification Program or need legal assistance such as terminations or appeals, contact the 8a certification consultants and government contract lawyers at Watson & Associates, LLC today. Call toll free 1-866-601-5518.

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