Posts Tagged SBA

ATTENTION: All Previously Certified 8(a) Firms

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Please be aware with the recent lower court ruling and resulting interim guidance issued by SBA regarding the 8(a) Business Development Program, it may be necessary to write a Social Disadvantage Narrative to respond to 8(a) Set-Aside Solicitations or receive a Sole Source award. You may need to provide this narrative to the Contracting Officer to be approved by the SBA before the award can be finalized. This appears to include upcoming option year modifications.

Please take advantage of this new resource guide provided by the SBA that firms can use when writing the social disadvantage narrative: https://sbaone.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/CHDB/pages/2768076819/Guide+for+Writing+a+Social+Disadvantage+Narrative

Register for our next live webinar on the topic of SBA’s 8(a) Certification Application Process on October 2nd: https://virginiaptac.ecenterdirect.com/events/4044 and follow us on LinkedIn to stay in the loop.

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SBA Now Allows Capabilities Statement in DSBS

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SBA launched a new feature in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) tool that allows you to link your capabilities statement to help market your business to agencies.

This new field is now available in DSBS allowing small businesses to add a URL for their Capabilities Statements.

For 8(a) small businesses who have already uploaded a Capabilities Statement on Certify.SBA.gov as of 6/22/2023, the field will already be populated with the Capabilities Statement URL. For all other small businesses, add a Capabilities Statement Link by visiting the DSBS profile (also known as “Pronet supplemental pages”) to add a link.

Instructions on logging into the DSBS profile through SBA Connect and adding a Capabilities Statement Link are found here: https://sbaone.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/DSBS/pages/2742910980/Add+a+Capabilities+Statement+Link

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CVE Stops Taking SDVOSB and VOSB Applications until January

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CVE will cease accepting new applications for verification or reverification in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) Portal on Monday, October 24, 2022, at 5:00 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time to implement the transfer of the verification function from VA to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Applications must be submitted as of October 24, 2022. Initiating an application is not sufficient to meet this deadline. Submitting change requests will still be permitted. The change affects only the receipt of new or reverification applications as of October 24, 2022.

Read more on CVE’s Frequently Asked Questions page here: https://www.va.gov/osdbu/faqs/veteran-business-certification-changes.asp

Review the most up to date information on the grace period for those who are self-certified SDVOSB in SAM in this Memorandum from 9/23/2022: https://www.va.gov/osdbu/docs/memorandum-guidance-for-self-certified-sdvosbs-concerning-transfer-of-verification-function-to-sba-20220923.pdf and on this SBA Press release from 11/3/2022: https://www.sba.gov/article/2022/nov/03/administrator-guzman-announces-path-forward-veteran-small-business-certification-program?fbclid=IwAR34FLk80wCIaLJyCBdKCI_4AVbondjGYFdMNqYAtp5usgU7otJaptXqCFI

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Attention Veteran Owned Small Businesses

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Please review the latest message from Small Business Administration (SBA) to Veteran-Owned Businesses and Stakeholders regarding the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation Transfer (CVE) from VA to SBA:

Dear Veteran-Owned Businesses and Stakeholders,  

We are one month closer to the transfer of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) to the SBA. Effective January 1, 2023, all functions of the CVE will be managed by the SBA.  

As we near the transfer date, please review the following scenarios and take the necessary steps to ensure a smooth transition: 

  1. If you are a self-certified SDVOSB and you are currently doing business with the government or you’re interested in pursuing work with the government in the near future, you will need to become certified in order to do business with the government once the transfer is effective on Jan. 1, 2023. Please consider getting certified through the VA now. Your VA certification will then transfer over to the SBA on Jan. 1, 2023. If not, you will have a one-year grace period after the transfer date to become certified through the SBA. Please start the VA process here: https://vetbiz.va.gov/vip/ 
    • Example: Linda runs a self-certified SDVOSB. Linda should consider getting certified now through the VA or otherwise she will need to become certified through the SBA after Jan. 1, 2023. She can keep her contract through the period of performance but if she wants to compete for sole source and set-aside contracts with the government in the future then she will need to be certified through the SBA.  
  2. If you are a VOSB or SDVOSB certified through the VA and your certification is within 120 days from expiration between now and December 2022, please recertify with the VA now before the transfer is complete. Follow instructions provided in reminder emails from the VA.  
    • Example: Stacey owns a VOSB, and her VA certification expires in December 2022. Stacey should follow the steps provided in the notification/reminder email from the VA and recertify through the VA now before the transfer. Her certification will then transfer over to the SBA effective Jan. 1, 2023.  
  3. If you are a VOSB or SDVOSB certified through the VA and you’re not up for recertification soon, no action is required. Your status will transfer to the SBA.  
    • Example: John owns a VOSB, and his business is certified through the VA through 2024. John’s certification status will transfer over to the SBA, and he does not need to take any steps at this time before the transfer.  

Lastly, please join us for the next public briefing on the CVE transfer which will take place during the Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at 9 a.m. ET. To join the meeting from your computer, go to https://bit.ly/JuneACVBA or dial-in by phone at 202-765-1264 and enter code 147 026 343#.  

Thank you, 

Larry 

Larry Stubblefield 

Associate Administrator 

Office of Veterans Business Development U.S. Small Business Administration

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Attention All WOSB/EDWOSB Firms RE: Annual Attestation with SBA

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To remain eligible as an EDWOSB or WOSB, program participants must submit an annual attestation to SBA each year, per 13 CFR Part 127.400. If you have received a letter from SBA about your annual attestation, and you are able to navigate to their dashboard, you will be able to go through the process of attestation, these are the steps:


• At the dashboard select the link to your application which states you are “approved”

• Then, select from the options (not a drop down) update/change

• Then, select the update you are doing, “WOSB Annual Update One”

• Carefully answer the questions presented that show nothing has changed

• After the questions are answered you will be asked to attest that everything is correct, then submit   

• You will receive an email from SBA saying there has been a change to your certification, it is really vague, and you will be instructed to go to your dashboard again and access the letter from your documents saying you have successfully done your annual attestation. 

Save the document to a handy folder on your computer and/or print out if you prefer a hard copy.


As a reminder, 13 CFR Part 127.401 states, “Once certified, a WOSB or EDWOSB must notify SBA of any material changes that could affect its eligibility within 30 calendar days of any such change. Material change includes, but is not limited to, a change in the ownership, business structure, or management.”

PTAC Counselors are here to help you through this process if you do not feel comfortable navigating it on your own.

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Notice to all WOSB/EDWOSB firms with annual attestation due: Temporary Suspension of Annual Update Requirement

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To remain eligible as an EDWOSB or WOSB, program participants must submit an annual attestation to SBA each year, per 13 CFR Part 127.400. Currently, SBA is experiencing technical difficulties with the annual attestation process.

As an interim solution and to mitigate negative impact to firms, SBA is suspending annual attestation until 1 Mar 2022. SBA will notify firms when the issue has been resolved to allow participants to complete their annual attestation.

As a reminder, 13 CFR Part 127.401 states, “Once certified, a WOSB or EDWOSB must notify SBA of any material changes that could affect its eligibility within 30 calendar days of any such change. Material change includes, but is not limited to, a change in the ownership, business structure, or management.”

Currently, reporting material changes is fully available under beta.Certify.sba.gov and instructions are available within the beta.Certify Knowledgebase.

A participant’s failure to notify SBA of a material change may result in decertification and removal from SAM and DSBS (or any successor system) as a designated certified WOSB/EDWOSB concern. In addition, SBA may seek the imposition of penalties under §127.700.

Lastly, once we respond to a help ticket and move it to a closed status, we are unable to directly view any updated responses. If there is any follow-up question or concern, please create a new ticket and if needed please include the previous ticket’s Case Number for reference.


Best,  
Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program Office of Government Contracting & Business Development 
U.S. Small Business Administration 
https://beta.certify.sba.gov/help-csh/

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Government-wide SDVOSB Certification

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With the passage of the FY21 NDAA, government-wide SDVOSB verification is coming. Check out the Koprince Law, LLC article on what to expect: https://smallgovcon.com/service-disabled-veteran-owned-small-businesses/congress-approves-government-wide-sdvosb-certification-requirement-transfers-cve-to-sba/

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8(a) certification extended

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8(a) certification extended to 10 years for companies admitted before 9/9/2020

From page 400 of the FY2021 NDAA (Public Law No: 116-283):

“SEC. 889. EXTENSION OF PARTICIPATION IN 8(A) PROGRAM.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator of the Small Business Administration shall ensure that a small business concern participating in the program established under section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637) on or before September 9, 2020, may elect to extend such participation by a period of 1 year, regardless of whether the small business concern previously elected to suspend participation in the program pursuant to guidance of the Administrator.

(b) EMERGENCY RULEMAKING AUTHORITY.—Not later than 15 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Administrator shall issue regulations to carry out this section without regard to the notice requirements under section 553(b) of title 5, United States Code.

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Changes to SBA WOSB/EDWOSB Certification

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It’s important to be aware of the SBA’s new certification process for WOSB/EDWOSB. As of October 15, 2020, all new WOSB/EDWOSB set asides posted in this socio-economic category will only be awarded to firms who have officially applied for, and were approved by, the SBA on their new site, https://beta.certify.sba.gov/. If you are only self-certified in the old site, certify.sba.gov, you will not be qualified to bid on new set asides and still need to apply through the new site. If you are third party certified, you still need to apply on the new site and need to upload your 3rd party certifier certificate.  

As a PTAC client, assistance in the certification process is part of the service we provide free of charge.  We have already assisted dozens of firms to successfully navigate the application process so please allow us to go through the process with you. If you want to know more about how we may assist with this process please reach out to your counselor or email us directly at ptac@gmu.edu. Not yet a client? Learn more: https://virginiaptac.org/services/counseling/  

Lisa Wood

Statewide Director of the Virginia APEX Accelerator

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Ode to the NAICS Code

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A fundamental building block of your company’s government contracting existence. The NAICS codes define you, quite literally, by associating your offerings with a certain segment of the universe of products and services sold in North America.    Then why are they so difficult to get right?

First, let’s define the problem.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, NAICS, or “North American Industrial Classification System”, is the standard used by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy. NAICS was developed under the auspices of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and adopted in 1997 to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. It was developed jointly by the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC)Statistics Canada, and Mexico’s Instituto Nacional de Estadistica y Geografia  to allow for a high level of comparability in business statistics among the North American countries.

As of February 2016, there are 1045 active NAICS codes.  536 of them refer to services (from banking to industrial launderers to fur-bearing animal production), 509 refer to wholesalers and manufacturers (from music stores to dental labs to fasteners/buttons/needles).

And there must be one out there that perfectly describes you, and if you find it, everything is smooth sailing…

Not so fast.

Federal contractors need to look at NAICS Codes, much like they need to look at everything else they’re doing in pursuit of business: from their customer’s viewpoint.

So here are some best practices for figuring out what your NAICS codes should be.

Step I: Easy Stuff

  1. The Obvious ones. Go to naics.com, type in a keyword or two for what you do, and a couple will pop up. There might be even several that are close enough or fall within the range of your products and services. Write them all down. You don’t have to pick a “primary” one yet.
  1. Follow the Leader. What NAICS are your teaming partners and competitors using? Look at their websites, business cards, capabilities statements – the numbers aren’t a secret code. They’re a common denominator for associating similar products/services. If your direct competitors are using them, you might want to.
  1. Procurement History. I happen to love award analysis and historical data – it’s the best prediction of future behavior in government entities, because they tend to follow similar processes when doing the same work.  So if you look at usaspending.gov and www.fpds.gov and even www.fbo.gov, you’ll find that the NAICS codes associated with most of the work they’re going to be procuring are NAICS codes they’ll use again and again.  Much of the time, the NAICS codes will be the same as you found in steps 1 and 2.  So why bother?

Step II: Secret Squirrel  Methodology [The logic behind seemingly illogical coding]

When you searched procurement history, you probably came across NAICS Codes that did not make sense. I have found “frozen foods” purchases coded as IT services. I recently even ran across a Piano purchase that was coded as an armored vehicle (Contract # VA24416F6918 if you want to see for yourself).  There are 2 things you need to think about: why does that happen, and what do you need to do about it.

First, Why, oh why, do NAICS codes used by my customers make no sense to me?

  1. Government is buying something to Meet Their Mission. Like I said earlier, put yourself in your customer’s shoes – they are not buying landscaping or cloud software because they want that particular product. They’re buying it because it is part of their mission – and the agencies’ budgets are allocated into big buckets to be spent on missions. It’s much easier to budget, track, award, and maintain contracts in those same buckets, therefore the NAICS Code will often reflect the customer’s end goal, not the (product/service) means they are using to meet it.  If you are building a data center to support a mission to Mars, it might be coded as a data center – but it’s a lot easier for your customer to track the expenditures and justify to Congress an expense that is aligned with a mission vs. just a purchase for the back office.
  2. Mistakes Were Made. Government entities have procurement cycles, when something expires, they buy it again.  If the NAICS Code powers change the code and you missed it, you might be buying something under an expired code without realizing it.  Or maybe you transposed a digit and typed 12 where you meant to type 21. And now you have a whole new NAICS code and that’s how pianos get turned into tanks.
  3. “Small” Business affinity. NAICS Codes aren’t uniform, they have many different standards for determining whether an entity is small. While they vary across individual codes, the two major delineations are:
    1. For services, the standard is the average of the last 3 years annual revenues
    2. For products / manufacturers / wholesalers, it’s the number of employees

Let’s say there’s a $20 million dollar business that has been doing great work and when the contract comes up for recompete, the government customer wants the company to be included in the competition – have a chance to win the work.  Would the government ever put that procurement, if it’s a small business set-aside, under a NAICS code where the small business threshold is $6M? No, because that would preclude them from competing altogether.

So what do you do? Stay calm and do research.  When you are searching for opportunities and past awards, use a variety of search cirteria – keywords, agencies, vendors, not just NAICS, because if that’s the only criteria – it will be both too broad, and at the same time, too limiting as you are likely to miss good opportunities.

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