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PART 124 - 8(a) BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT/SMALL DISADVANTAGED BUSINESS STATUS DETERMINATIONS
Authority:

15 U.S.C. 634(b)(6), 636(j), 637(a), 637(d), 644 and Pub. L. 99-661, Pub. L. 100-656, sec. 1207, Pub. L. 101-37, Pub. L. 101-574, section 8021, Pub. L. 108-87, Pub. L. 116-260, sec. 330, and 42 U.S.C. 9815.

Source:

63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A - 8(a) Business Development
Provisions of General Applicability
§ 124.1 What is the purpose of the 8(a) Business Development program?

Sections 8(a) and 7(j) of the Small Business Act authorize a Minority Small Business and Capital Ownership Development program (designated the 8(a) Business Development or “8(a) BD” program for purposes of the regulations in this part). The purpose of the 8(a) BD program is to assist eligible small disadvantaged business concerns compete in the American economy through business development.

§ 124.2 What length of time may a business participate in the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Except as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section, a Participant receives a program term of nine years from the date of SBA's approval letter certifying the concern's admission to the program. The Participant must maintain its program eligibility during its tenure in the program and must inform SBA of any changes that would adversely affect its program eligibility. The nine-year program term may be shortened only by termination, early graduation (including voluntary early graduation) or voluntary withdrawal as provided for in this subpart.

(b) Pursuant to section 330 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, and section 869 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, a small business concern participating the 8(a) BD program on March 13, 2020, may elect to extend such participation by a period of one year from the end of its program term, regardless of whether it previously elected to suspend participation in the program under the procedures set forth in § 124.305(h)(1)(iii).

(1) Unless expressly declined in writing, SBA will extend a Participant's program term by one year if the concern was a Participant in the 8(a) BD program on March 13, 2020, and continued its participation through January 13, 2021. Declines of such extension must be submitted to: Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416, or email to .

(2) Except as set forth in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section any concern that was a Participant in the 8(a) BD program on March 13, 2020, but graduated or otherwise left the program before January 13, 2021 may elect to be readmitted to the 8(a) BD program for the period of time equal to one year from the date of the original expiration of the concern's program term. A concern seeking to be readmitted to the 8(a) BD program must notify SBA of its intent to be readmitted no later than March 15, 2021.

Example 1 to paragraph (b)(2) introductory text.

Business Concern A was a Participant in the 8(a) BD program on September 9, 2020, and its program term expired on November 25, 2020. On January 28, 2021, Business Concern A notified SBA of its election to be readmitted to the 8(a) BD program under the process outlined in this paragraph (b)(2). Business Concern A would be eligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program until November 25, 2021.

(i) All requests for readmittance must be submitted to: Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416, or email to .

(ii) As part of a concern's notification to SBA of its intent to be readmitted to the 8(a) BD program, the concern must certify that it continues to meet the applicable 8(a) BD program eligibility requirements as set forth in §§ 124.101 through 124.111. SBA may, in its discretion, request information or documentation to assess whether the concern meets the eligibility criteria for readmittance.

(iii) Business concerns that were Participants in the 8(a) BD program on March 13, 2020, but were terminated or early graduated by SBA or elected to voluntarily withdraw or early graduate in lieu of termination are not eligible to extend their program terms.

(iv) The readmittance of a business concern owned and controlled by a tribe, ANC, NHO, or CDC to the 8(a) BD program under this paragraph (b)(2) will be disregarded for purposes of the ownership restrictions applicable to Participants owned by a tribe, ANC, NHO, or CDC as set forth in §§ 124.109(c)(3)(ii), 124.110(e), and 124.111(d). The date to commence the two-year waiting period for the tribe, ANC, NHO, or CDC to own another business concern in the 8(a) BD program with the same primary NAICS code as the readmitted concern will not be readjusted with the firm's readmittance.

[86 FR 2532, Jan. 13, 2021]

§ 124.3 What definitions are important in the 8(a) BD program?

Alaska Native , as defined by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (43 U.S.C. 1602), means a citizen of the United States who is a person of one-fourth degree or more Alaskan Indian (including Tsimshian Indians not enrolled in the Metlaktla Indian Community), Eskimo, or Aleut blood, or a combination of those bloodlines. The term includes, in the absence of proof of a minimum blood quantum, any citizen whom a Native village or Native group regards as an Alaska Native if their father or mother is regarded as an Alaska Native.

Alaska Native Corporation or ANC means any Regional Corporation, Village Corporation, Urban Corporation, or Group Corporation organized under the laws of the State of Alaska in accordance with the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended (43 U.S.C. 1601, et seq.)

Bona fide place of business, for purposes of 8(a) construction procurements, means a location where a Participant regularly maintains an office which employs at least one full-time individual within the appropriate geographical boundary. The term does not include construction trailers or other temporary construction sites.

Community Development Corporation or CDC means a nonprofit organization responsible to residents of the area it serves which has received financial assistance under 42 U.S.C. 9805, et seq.

Concern is defined in part 121 of this title.

Days means calendar days unless otherwise specified.

Day-to-day operations of a firm means the marketing, production, sales, and administrative functions of the firm.

Follow-on requirement or contract. The determination of whether a particular requirement or contract is a follow-on includes consideration of whether the scope has changed significantly, requiring meaningful different types of work or different capabilities; whether the magnitude or value of the requirement has changed by at least 25 percent for equivalent periods of performance; and whether the end user of the requirement has changed. As a general guide, if the procurement satisfies at least one of these three conditions, it may be considered a new requirement. However, meeting any one of these conditions is not dispositive that a requirement is new. In particular, the 25 percent rule cannot be applied rigidly in all cases. Conversely, if the requirement satisfies none of these conditions, it is considered a follow-on procurement.

Immediate family member means father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, and mother-in-law.

Indian tribe means any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community of Indians, including any ANC, which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians, or is recognized as such by the State in which the tribe, band, nation, group, or community resides. See definition of “tribally-owned concern.”

NAICS code means North American Industry Classification System code.

Native Hawaiian means any individual whose ancestors were natives, prior to 1778, of the area which now comprises the State of Hawaii.

Native Hawaiian Organization means any community service organization serving Native Hawaiians in the State of Hawaii which is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the State of Hawaii, is controlled by Native Hawaiians, and whose business activities will principally benefit such Native Hawaiians.

Negative control is defined in part 121 of this title.

Non-disadvantaged individual means any individual who does not claim disadvantaged status, does not qualify as disadvantaged, or upon whose disadvantaged status an applicant or Participant does not rely in qualifying for 8(a) BD program participation.

Participant means a small business concern admitted to participate in the 8(a) BD program.

Primary industry classification means the six digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code designation which best describes the primary business activity of the 8(a) BD applicant or Participant. The NAICS code designations are described in the North American Industry Classification System book published by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. SBA utilizes § 121.107 of this chapter in determining a firm's primary industry classification. A Participant may change its primary industry classification where it can demonstrate to SBA by clear evidence that the majority of its total revenues during a three-year period have evolved from one NAICS code to another.

Principal place of business means the business location where the individuals who manage the concern's day-to-day operations spend most working hours and where top management's business records are kept. If the offices from which management is directed and where the business records are kept are in different locations, SBA will determine the principal place of business for program purposes.

Program year means a 12-month period of an 8(a) BD Participant's program participation. The first program year begins on the date that the concern is certified to participate in the 8(a) BD program and ends one year later. Each subsequent program year begins on the Participant's anniversary of program certification and runs for one 12-month period.

Regularly maintains an office means conducting business activities as an on-going business concern from a fixed location on a daily basis. The best evidence of the regular maintenance of an office is documentation that shows that third parties routinely transact business with a Participant at a location within a particular geographical area. Such evidence includes lease agreements, payroll records, advertisements, bills, correspondence, and evidence that the Participant has complied with all local requirements concerning registering, licensing, or filing with the State or County where the place of business is located. Although a firm would generally be required to have a license to do business in a particular location in order to “regularly maintain an office” there, the firm would not be required to have an additional construction license or other specific type of license in order to regularly maintain an office.

Same or similar line of business means business activities within the same four-digit “Industry Group” of the NAICS Manual as the primary industry classification of the applicant or Participant. The phrase “same business area” is synonymous with this definition.

Self-marketing of a requirement occurs when a Participant identifies a requirement that has not been committed to the 8(a) BD program and, through its marketing efforts, causes the procuring activity to offer that specific requirement to the 8(a) BD program on the Participant's behalf. A firm which identifies and markets a requirement which is subsequently offered to the 8(a) BD program as an open requirement or on behalf of another Participant has not “self-marketed” the requirement within the meaning of this part.

Tribally-owned concern means any concern at least 51 percent owned by an Indian tribe as defined in this section.

Unconditional ownership means ownership that is not subject to conditions precedent, conditions subsequent, executory agreements, voting trusts, restrictions on or assignments of voting rights, or other arrangements causing or potentially causing ownership benefits to go to another (other than after death or incapacity). The pledge or encumbrance of stock or other ownership interest as collateral, including seller-financed transactions, does not affect the unconditional nature of ownership if the terms follow normal commercial practices and the owner retains control absent violations of the terms.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8253, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 28237, May 14, 2012; 85 FR 66183, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.4 What restrictions apply to fees for applicant and Participant representatives?

(a) The compensation received by any packager, agent or representative of an 8(a) applicant or Participant for assisting the applicant in obtaining 8(a) certification or for assisting the Participant in obtaining 8(a) contracts, or any other assistance to support program participation, must be reasonable in light of the service(s) performed by the packager, agent or representative.

(b) In assisting a Participant obtain one or more 8(a) contracts, a packager, agent or representative cannot receive a fee that is a percentage of the gross contract value.

(c) For good cause, the AA/BD may initiate proceedings to suspend or revoke a packager's, agent's or representative's privilege to assist applicants obtain 8(a) certification, assist Participants obtain 8(a) contracts, or any other assistance to support program participation. Good cause is defined in § 103.4 of these regulations.

(1) The AA/BD may send a show cause letter requesting the agent or representative to demonstrate why the agent or representative should not be suspended or proposed for revocation, or may immediately send a written notice suspending or proposing revocation, depending upon the evidence in the administrative record. The notice will include a discussion of the relevant facts and the reason(s) why the AA/BD believes that good cause exists.

(2) Unless the AA/BD specifies a different time in the notice, the agent or representative must respond to the notice within 30 days of the date of the notice with any facts or arguments showing why good cause does not exist. The agent or representative may request additional time to respond, which the AA/BD may grant in his or her discretion.

(3) After considering the agent's or representative's response, the AA/BD will issue a final determination, setting forth the reasons for this decision and, if a suspension continues to be effective or a revocation is implemented, the term of the suspension or revocation.

(d) The AA/BD may refer a packager, agent, or other representative to SBA's Suspension and Debarment Official for possible Government-wide suspension or debarment where appropriate, including where it appears that the packager, agent or representative assisted an applicant to or Participant in the 8(a) BD program submit information to SBA that the packager, agent or representative knew was false or materially misleading.

[76 FR 8253, Feb. 11, 2011]

Eligibility Requirements for Participation in the 8(a) Business Development Program
§ 124.101 What are the basic requirements a concern must meet for the 8(a) BD program?

Generally, a concern meets the basic requirements for admission to the 8(a) BD program if it is a small business which is unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and citizens of and residing in the United States, and which demonstrates potential for success.

[76 FR 8254, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.102 What size business is eligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program?

(a)

(1) An applicant concern must qualify as a small business concern as defined in part 121 of this title. The applicable size standard is the one for its primary industry classification. The rules for calculating the size of a tribally-owned concern, a concern owned by an Alaska Native Corporation, a concern owned by a Native Hawaiian Organization, or a concern owned by a Community Development Corporation are additionally affected by §§ 124.109, 124.110, and 124.111, respectively.

(2) In order to remain eligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program after certification, a firm must generally remain small for its primary industry classification, as adjusted during the program. SBA may graduate a Participant prior to the expiration of its program term where the firm exceeds the size standard corresponding to its primary NAICS code, as adjusted, for three successive program years, unless the firm demonstrates that through its growth and development its primary industry is changing, pursuant to the criteria described in 13 CFR 121.107, to a related secondary NAICS code that is contained in its most recently approved business plan. The firm's business plan must contain specific targets, objectives, and goals for its continued growth and development under its new primary industry.

(b) If 8(a) BD program officials determine that a concern may not qualify as small, they may deny an application for 8(a) BD program admission or may request a formal size determination under part 121 of this title.

(c) A concern whose application is denied due to size by 8(a) BD program officials may request a formal size determination under part 121 of this title. A favorable determination will enable the firm to immediately submit a new 8(a) BD application without waiting one year.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8254, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.103 Who is socially disadvantaged?

(a) General. Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities. The social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control.

(b) Members of designated groups.

(1) There is a rebuttable presumption that the following individuals are socially disadvantaged: Black Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans (Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, or enrolled members of a Federally or State recognized Indian Tribe); Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, China (including Hong Kong), Taiwan, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Vietnam, Korea, The Philippines, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Samoa, Macao, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru); Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal); and members of other groups designated from time to time by SBA according to procedures set forth at paragraph (d) of this section. Being born in a country does not, by itself, suffice to make the birth country an individual's country of origin for purposes of being included within a designated group.

(2) An individual must demonstrate that he or she has held himself or herself out, and is currently identified by others, as a member of a designated group if SBA requires it.

(3) The presumption of social disadvantage may be overcome with credible evidence to the contrary. Individuals possessing or knowing of such evidence should submit the information in writing to the Associate Administrator for Business Development (AA/BD) for consideration.

(c) Individuals not members of designated groups.

(1) An individual who is not a member of one of the groups presumed to be socially disadvantaged in paragraph (b)(1) of this section must establish individual social disadvantage by a preponderance of the evidence. Such individual should present corroborating evidence to support his or her claim(s) of social disadvantage where readily available.

(2) Evidence of individual social disadvantage must include the following elements:

(i) At least one objective distinguishing feature that has contributed to social disadvantage, such as race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society, or other similar causes not common to individuals who are not socially disadvantaged;

(ii) The individual's social disadvantage must be rooted in treatment which he or she has experienced in American society, not in other countries;

(iii) The individual's social disadvantage must be chronic and substantial, not fleeting or insignificant; and

(iv) The individual's social disadvantage must have negatively impacted on his or her entry into or advancement in the business world. SBA will consider any relevant evidence in assessing this element, including experiences relating to education, employment and business history (including experiences relating to both the applicant firm and any other previous firm owned and/or controlled by the individual), where applicable.

(A) Education. SBA considers such factors as denial of equal access to institutions of higher education, exclusion from social and professional association with students or teachers, denial of educational honors rightfully earned, and social patterns or pressures which discouraged the individual from pursuing a professional or business education.

(B) Employment. SBA considers such factors as unequal treatment in hiring, promotions and other aspects of professional advancement, pay and fringe benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment; retaliatory or discriminatory behavior by an employer; and social patterns or pressures which have channeled the individual into nonprofessional or non-business fields.

(C) Business history. SBA considers such factors as unequal access to credit or capital, acquisition of credit or capital under commercially unfavorable circumstances, unequal treatment in opportunities for government contracts or other work, unequal treatment by potential customers and business associates, and exclusion from business or professional organizations.

(3) An individual claiming social disadvantage must present facts and evidence that by themselves establish that the individual has suffered social disadvantage that has negatively impacted his or her entry into or advancement in the business world.

(i) Each instance of alleged discriminatory conduct must be accompanied by a negative impact on the individual's entry into or advancement in the business world in order for it to constitute an instance of social disadvantage.

(ii) SBA may disregard a claim of social disadvantage where a legitimate alternative ground for an adverse employment action or other perceived adverse action exists and the individual has not presented evidence that would render his/her claim any more likely than the alternative ground.

Example 1 to paragraph (c)(3)(ii).

A woman who is not a member of a designated group attempts to establish her individual social disadvantage based on gender. She certifies that while working for company X, she received less compensation than her male counterpart. Without additional facts, that claim is insufficient to establish an incident of gender bias that could lead to a finding of social disadvantage. Without additional facts, it is no more likely that the individual claiming disadvantage was paid less than her male counterpart because he had superior qualifications or because he had greater responsibilities in his employment position. She must identify her qualifications (education, experience, years of employment, supervisory functions) as being equal or superior to that of her male counterpart in order for SBA to consider that particular incident may be the result of discriminatory conduct.

Example 2 to paragraph (c)(3)(ii).

A woman who is not a member of a designated group attempts to establish her individual social disadvantage based on gender. She certifies that while working for company Y, she was not permitted to attend a professional development conference, even though male employees were allowed to attend similar conferences in the past. Without additional facts, that claim is insufficient to establish an incident of gender bias that could lead to a finding of social disadvantage. It is no more likely that she was not permitted to attend the conference based on gender bias than based on non-discriminatory reasons. She must identify that she was in the same professional position and level as the male employees who were permitted to attend similar conferences in the past, and she must identify that funding for training or professional development was available at the time she requested to attend the conference.

(iii) SBA may disregard a claim of social disadvantage where an individual presents evidence of discriminatory conduct, but fails to connect the discriminatory conduct to consequences that negatively impact his or her entry into or advancement in the business world.

Example to paragraph (c)(3)(iii).

A woman who is not a member of a designated group attempts to establish her individual social disadvantage based on gender. She provides instances where one or more male business clients utter derogatory statements about her because she is a woman. After each instance, however, she acknowledges that the clients gave her contracts or otherwise continued to do business with her. Despite suffering discriminatory conduct, this individual has not established social disadvantage because the discriminatory conduct did not have an adverse effect on her business.

(4) SBA may request an applicant to provide additional facts to support his or her claim of social disadvantage to substantiate that a negative outcome was based on discriminatory conduct instead of one or more legitimate non-discriminatory reasons.

(5) SBA will discount or disbelieve statements made by an individual seeking to establish his or her individual social disadvantage where such statements are inconsistent with other evidence contained in the record.

(6) In determining whether an individual claiming social disadvantage meets the requirements set forth in this paragraph (c), SBA will determine whether:

(i) Each specific claim establishes an incident of bias or discriminatory conduct;

(ii) Each incident of bias or discriminatory conduct negatively impacted the individual's entry into or advancement in the business world; and

(iii) In the totality, the incidents of bias or discriminatory conduct that negatively impacted the individual's entry into or advancement in the business world establish chronic and substantial social disadvantage.

(d) Socially disadvantaged group inclusion -

(1) General. Representatives of an identifiable group whose members believe that the group has suffered chronic racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias may petition SBA to be included as a presumptively socially disadvantaged group under paragraph (b)(1) of this section. Upon presentation of substantial evidence that members of the group have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as group members and without regard to their individual qualities, SBA will publish a notice in the Federal Register that it has received and is considering such a request, and that it will consider public comments.

(2) Standards to be applied. In determining whether a group has made an adequate showing that it has suffered chronic racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias for the purposes of this section, SBA must determine that:

(i) The group has suffered prejudice, bias, or discriminatory practices;

(ii) Those conditions have resulted in economic deprivation for the group of the type which Congress has found exists for the groups named in the Small Business Act; and

(iii) Those conditions have produced impediments in the business world for members of the group over which they have no control and which are not common to small business owners generally.

(3) Procedure. The notice published under paragraph (d)(1) of this section will authorize a specified period for the receipt of public comments supporting or opposing the petition for socially disadvantaged group status. If appropriate, SBA may hold hearings. SBA may also conduct its own research relative to the group's petition.

(4) Decision. In making a final decision that a group should be considered presumptively disadvantaged, SBA must find that a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the group has met the standards set forth in paragraph (d)(2) of this section based on SBA's consideration of the group petition, the comments from the public, and any independent research it performs. SBA will advise the petitioners of its final decision in writing, and publish its conclusion as a notice in the Federal Register. If appropriate, SBA will amend paragraph (b)(1) of this section to include a new group.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8254, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48579, July 25, 2016]

§ 124.104 Who is economically disadvantaged?

(a) General. Economically disadvantaged individuals are socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same or similar line of business who are not socially disadvantaged.

(b) Submission of narrative and financial information.

(1) Each individual claiming economic disadvantage must submit personal financial information.

(2) When married, an individual claiming economic disadvantage must submit separate financial information for his or her spouse, unless the individual and the spouse are legally separated. SBA will consider a spouse's financial situation in determining an individual's access to credit and capital where the spouse has a role in the business (e.g., an officer, employee or director) or has lent money to, provided credit support to, or guaranteed a loan of the business. SBA does not take into consideration community property laws when determining economic disadvantage.

(c) Factors to be considered. In considering diminished capital and credit opportunities, SBA will examine factors relating to the personal financial condition of any individual claiming disadvantaged status, including income for the past three years (including bonuses and the value of company stock received in lieu of cash), personal net worth, and the fair market value of all assets, whether encumbered or not. An individual who exceeds any one of the thresholds set forth in this paragraph for personal income, net worth or total assets will generally be deemed to have access to credit and capital and not economically disadvantaged.

(1) Transfers within two years.

(i) Except as set forth in paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section, SBA will attribute to an individual claiming disadvantaged status any assets which that individual has transferred to an immediate family member, or to a trust a beneficiary of which is an immediate family member, for less than fair market value, within two years prior to a concern's application for participation in the 8(a) BD program or within two years of a Participant's annual program review, unless the individual claiming disadvantaged status can demonstrate that the transfer is to or on behalf of an immediate family member for that individual's education, medical expenses, or some other form of essential support.

(ii) SBA will not attribute to an individual claiming disadvantaged status any assets transferred by that individual to an immediate family member that are consistent with the customary recognition of special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, and retirements.

(iii) In determining an individual's access to capital and credit, SBA may consider any assets that the individual transferred within such two-year period described by paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section that SBA does not consider in evaluating the individual's assets and net worth (e.g., transfers to charities).

(2) Net worth. The net worth of an individual claiming disadvantage must be less than $750,000. In determining such net worth, SBA will exclude the ownership interest in the applicant or Participant and the equity in the primary personal residence (except any portion of such equity which is attributable to excessive withdrawals from the applicant or Participant). Exclusions for net worth purposes are not exclusions for asset valuation or access to capital and credit purposes.

(i) A contingent liability does not reduce an individual's net worth.

(ii) Funds invested in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other official retirement account will not be considered in determining an individual's net worth. In order to properly assess whether funds invested in a retirement account may be excluded from an individual's net worth, the individual must provide information about the terms and restrictions of the account to SBA and certify that the retirement account is legitimate.

(iii) Income received from an applicant or Participant that is an S corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or partnership will be excluded from an individual's net worth where the applicant or Participant provides documentary evidence demonstrating that the income was reinvested in the firm or used to pay taxes arising in the normal course of operations of the firm. Losses from the S corporation, LLC or partnership, however, are losses to the company only, not losses to the individual, and cannot be used to reduce an individual's net worth.

(iv) The personal net worth of an individual claiming to be an Alaska Native will include assets and income from sources other than an Alaska Native Corporation and exclude any of the following which the individual receives from any Alaska Native Corporation: cash (including cash dividends on stock received from an ANC) to the extent that it does not, in the aggregate, exceed $2,000 per individual per annum; stock (including stock issued or distributed by an ANC as a dividend or distribution on stock); a partnership interest; land or an interest in land (including land or an interest in land received from an ANC as a dividend or distribution on stock); and an interest in a settlement trust.

(3) Personal income for the past three years.

(i) SBA will presume that an individual is not economically disadvantaged if his or her adjusted gross income averaged over the three preceding years exceeds $350,000. The presumption may be rebutted by a showing that this income level was unusual and not likely to occur in the future, that losses commensurate with and directly related to the earnings were suffered, or by evidence that the income is not indicative of lack of economic disadvantage.

(ii) Income received from an applicant or Participant that is an S corporation, LLC or partnership will be excluded from an individual's income where the applicant or Participant provides documentary evidence demonstrating that the income was reinvested in the firm or used to pay taxes arising in the normal course of operations of the firm. Losses from the S corporation, LLC or partnership, however, are losses to the company only, not losses to the individual, and cannot be used to reduce an individual's personal income.

(4) Fair market value of all assets. An individual will generally not be considered economically disadvantaged if the fair market value of all his or her assets (including his or her primary residence and the value of the applicant/Participant firm) exceeds $6 million. The only assets excluded from this determination are funds excluded under paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section as being invested in a qualified IRA account.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8254, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48580, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 27660, May 11, 2020]

§ 124.105 What does it mean to be unconditionally owned by one or more disadvantaged individuals?

An applicant or Participant must be at least 51 percent unconditionally and directly owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are citizens of the United States, except for concerns owned by Indian tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations, or Community Development Corporations (CDCs). See § 124.3 for definition of unconditional ownership; and §§ 124.109, 124.110, and 124.111, respectively, for special ownership requirements for concerns owned by Indian tribes, ANCs, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and CDCs.

(a) Ownership must be direct. Ownership by one or more disadvantaged individuals must be direct ownership. An applicant or Participant owned principally by another business entity or by a trust (including employee stock ownership trusts) that is in turn owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged individuals does not meet this requirement. However, ownership by a trust, such as a living trust, may be treated as the functional equivalent of ownership by a disadvantaged individual where the trust is revocable, and the disadvantaged individual is the grantor, a trustee, and the sole current beneficiary of the trust.

(b) Ownership of a partnership. In the case of a concern which is a partnership, at least 51 percent of every class of partnership interest must be unconditionally owned by one or more individuals determined by SBA to be socially and economically disadvantaged. The ownership must be reflected in the concern's partnership agreement.

(c) Ownership of a limited liability company. In the case of a concern which is a limited liability company, at least 51 percent of each class of member interest must be unconditionally owned by one or more individuals determined by SBA to be socially and economically disadvantaged.

(d) Ownership of a corporation. In the case of a concern which is a corporation, at least 51 percent of each class of voting stock outstanding and 51 percent of the aggregate of all stock outstanding must be unconditionally owned by one or more individuals determined by SBA to be socially and economically disadvantaged.

(e) Stock options' effect on ownership. In determining unconditional ownership, SBA will disregard any unexercised stock options or similar agreements held by disadvantaged individuals. However, any unexercised stock options or similar agreements (including rights to convert non-voting stock or debentures into voting stock) held by non-disadvantaged individuals will be treated as exercised, except for any ownership interests which are held by investment companies licensed under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958.

(f) Dividends and distributions. One or more disadvantaged individuals must be entitled to receive:

(1) At least 51 percent of the annual distribution of dividends paid on the stock of a corporate applicant concern;

(2) 100 percent of the value of each share of stock owned by them in the event that the stock is sold; and

(3) At least 51 percent of the retained earnings of the concern and 100 percent of the unencumbered value of each share of stock owned in the event of dissolution of the corporation.

(g) Ownership of another current or former Participant by an immediate family member.

(1) An individual may not use his or her disadvantaged status to qualify a concern if that individual has an immediate family member who is using or has used his or her disadvantaged status to qualify another concern for the 8(a) BD program and any of the following circumstances exist:

(i) The concerns are connected by any common ownership or management, regardless of amount or position;

(ii) The concerns have a contractual relationship that was not conducted at arm's length;

(iii) The concerns share common facilities; or

(iv) The concerns operate in the same primary NAICS code and the individual seeking to qualify the applicant concern does not have management or technical experience in that primary NAICS code.

Example 1 to paragraph (g)(1).

X applies to the 8(a) BD program. X is 95% owned by A and 5% by B, A's father and the majority owner in a former 8(a) Participant. Even though B has no involvement in X, X would be ineligible for the program.

Example 2 to paragraph (g)(1).

Y applies to the 8(a) BD program. C owns 100% of Y. However, D, C's sister and the majority owner in a former 8(a) Participant, is acting as a Vice President in Y. Y would be ineligible for the program.

Example 3 to paragraph (g)(1).

X seeks to apply to the 8(a) BD program with a primary NAICS code in plumbing. X is 100% owned by A. Z, a former 8(a) participant with a primary industry in general construction, is owned 100% by B, A's brother. For general construction jobs, Z has subcontracted plumbing work to X in the past at normal commercial rates. Subcontracting work at normal commercial rates would not preclude X from being admitted to the 8(a) BD program. X would be eligible for the program.

(2) If the AA/BD approves an application under paragraph (g)(1) of this section, SBA will, as part of its annual review, assess whether the firm continues to operate independently of the other current or former 8(a) concern of an immediate family member. SBA may initiate proceedings to terminate a firm from further participation in the 8(a) BD program if it is apparent that there are connections between the two firms that were not disclosed to the AA/BD at the time of application or that came into existence after program admittance.

(h) Ownership restrictions for non-disadvantaged individuals and concerns.

(1) A non-disadvantaged individual (in the aggregate with all immediate family members) or a non-Participant concern that is a general partner or stockholder with at least a 10 percent ownership interest in one Participant may not own more than a 10 percent interest in another Participant that is in the developmental stage or more than a 20 percent interest in another Participant in the transitional stage of the program. This restriction does not apply to financial institutions licensed or chartered by Federal, state or local government, including investment companies which are licensed under the Small Business Investment Act of 1958.

(2) A non-Participant concern in the same or similar line of business or a principal of such concern may not own more than a 10 percent interest in a Participant that is in the developmental stage or more than a 20 percent interest in a Participant in the transitional stage of the program, except that a former Participant in the same or similar line of business or a principal of such a former Participant (except those that have been terminated from 8(a) BD program participation pursuant to §§ 124.303 and 124.304) may have an equity ownership interest of up to 20 percent in a current Participant in the developmental stage of the program or up to 30 percent in a transitional stage Participant.

(i) Change of ownership. A Participant may change its ownership or business structure so long as one or more disadvantaged individuals own and control it after the change and SBA approves the transaction in writing prior to the change. The decision to approve or deny a Participant's request for a change in ownership or business structure will be made and communicated to the firm by the AA/BD. The decision of the AA/BD is the final decision of the Agency. The AA/BD will issue a decision within 60 days from receipt of a request containing all necessary documentation, or as soon thereafter as possible. If 60 days lapse without a decision from SBA, the Participant cannot presume that it can complete the change without written approval from SBA. A decision to deny a request for change of ownership or business structure may be grounds for program termination where the change is made nevertheless.

(1) Any Participant that was awarded one or more 8(a) contracts may substitute one disadvantaged individual for another disadvantaged individual without requiring the termination of those contracts or a request for waiver under § 124.515, as long as it receives SBA's approval prior to the change.

(2) Prior approval by the AA/BD is not needed where all non-disadvantaged individual (or entity) owners involved in the change of ownership own no more than a 20 percent interest in the concern both before and after the transaction, the transfer results from the death or incapacity due to a serious, long-term illness or injury of a disadvantaged principal, or the disadvantaged individual or entity in control of the Participant will increase the percentage of its ownership interest. The concern must notify SBA within 60 days of such a change in ownership.

Example 1 to paragraph (i)(2).

Disadvantaged individual A owns 90% of 8(a) Participant X; non-disadvantaged individual B owns 10% of X. In order to raise additional capital, X seeks to change its ownership structure such that A would own 80%, B would own 10% and C would own 10%. X can accomplish this change in ownership without prior SBA approval. Non-disadvantaged owner B is not involved in the transaction and non-disadvantaged individual C owns less than 20% of X both before and after the transaction.

Example 2 to paragraph (i)(2).

Disadvantaged individual C owns 60% of 8(a) Participant Y; non-disadvantaged individual D owns 30% of Y; and non-disadvantaged individual E owns 10% of Y. C seeks to transfer 5% of Y to E. Prior SBA approval is not needed. Although non-disadvantaged individual D owns more than 20% of Y, D is not involved in the transfer. Because the only non-disadvantaged individual involved in the transfer, E, owns less than 20% of Y both before and after the transaction, prior approval is not needed.

Example 3 to paragraph (i)(2).

Disadvantaged individual A owns 85% of 8(a) Participant X; non-disadvantaged individual B owns 15% of X. A seeks to transfer 15% of X to B. Prior SBA approval is needed. Although B, the non-disadvantaged owner of X, owns less than 20% of X prior to the transaction, prior approval is needed because B would own more than 20% after the transaction.

Example 4 to paragraph (i)(2).

ANC A owns 60% of 8(a) Participant X; non-disadvantaged individual B owns 40% of X. B seeks to transfer 15% to A. Prior SBA approval is not needed. Although a non-disadvantaged individual who is involved in the transaction, B, owns more than 20% of X both before and after the transaction, SBA approval is not needed because the change only increases the percentage of A's ownership interest in X.

(3) Continued participation of the Participant with new ownership and the award of any new 8(a) contracts requires SBA's determination that all eligibility requirements are met by the concern and the new owners.

(4) Where a Participant requests a change of ownership or business structure, and proceeds with the change prior to receiving SBA approval (or where a change of ownership results from the death or incapacity of a disadvantaged individual for which a request prior to the change in ownership could not occur), SBA may suspend the Participant from program benefits pending resolution of the request. If the change is approved, the length of the suspension will be restored to the Participant's program term in the case of death or incapacity, or if the firm requested prior approval and waited 60 days for SBA approval.

(5) A change in ownership does not provide the new owner(s) with a new 8(a) BD program term. For example, if a concern has been in the 8(a) BD program for five years when a change in ownership occurs, the new owner will have four years remaining until program graduation.

(j) Public offering. A Participant's request for SBA's approval for the issuance of a public offering will be treated as a request for a change of ownership. Such request will cause SBA to examine the concern's continued need for access to the business development resources of the 8(a) BD program.

(k) Community property laws given effect. In determining ownership interests when an owner resides in any of the community property states or territories of the United States (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin), SBA considers applicable state community property laws. If only one spouse claims disadvantaged status, that spouse's ownership interest will be considered unconditionally held only to the extent it is vested by the community property laws. A transfer or relinquishment of interest by the non-disadvantaged spouse may be necessary in some cases to establish eligibility.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8255, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48580, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66183, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.106 When do disadvantaged individuals control an applicant or Participant?

Control is not the same as ownership, although both may reside in the same person. SBA regards control as including both the strategic policy setting exercised by boards of directors and the day-to-day management and administration of business operations. An applicant or Participant's management and daily business operations must be conducted by one or more disadvantaged individuals, except for concerns owned by Indian tribes, ANCs, Native Hawaiian Organizations, or Community Development Corporations (CDCs). (See §§ 124.109, 124.110, and 124.111, respectively, for the requirements for concerns owned by Indian tribes or ANCs, for concerns owned by Native Hawaiian Organizations, and for CDC-owned concerns.) Management experience need not be related to the same or similar industry as the primary industry classification of the applicant or Participant. Disadvantaged individuals managing the concern must have managerial experience of the extent and complexity needed to run the concern. A disadvantaged individual need not have the technical expertise or possess a required license to be found to control an applicant or Participant if he or she can demonstrate that he or she has ultimate managerial and supervisory control over those who possess the required licenses or technical expertise. However, where a critical license is held by a non-disadvantaged individual having an equity interest in the applicant or Participant firm, the non-disadvantaged individual may be found to control the firm.

(a)

(1) An applicant or Participant must be managed on a full-time basis by one or more disadvantaged individuals who possess requisite management capabilities.

(2) A disadvantaged full-time manager must hold the highest officer position (usually President or Chief Executive Officer) in the applicant or Participant and be physically located in the United States.

(3) One or more disadvantaged individuals who manage the applicant or Participant must devote full-time to the business during the normal working hours of firms in the same or similar line of business. Work in a wholly-owned subsidiary of the applicant or participant may be considered to meet the requirement of full-time devotion. This applies only to a subsidiary owned by the 8(a) firm, and not to firms in which the disadvantaged individual has an ownership interest.

(4) Any disadvantaged manager who wishes to engage in outside employment must notify SBA of the nature and anticipated duration of the outside employment and obtain the prior written approval of SBA. SBA will deny a request for outside employment which could conflict with the management of the firm or could hinder it in achieving the objectives of its business development plan.

(5) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, a disadvantaged owner's unexercised right to cause a change in the control or management of the applicant concern does not in itself constitute disadvantaged control and management, regardless of how quickly or easily the right could be exercised.

(b) In the case of a partnership, one or more disadvantaged individuals must serve as general partners, with control over all partnership decisions. A partnership in which no disadvantaged individual is a general partner will be ineligible for participation.

(c) In the case of a limited liability company, one or more disadvantaged individuals must serve as management members, with control over all decisions of the limited liability company.

(d) One or more disadvantaged individuals must control the Board of Directors of a corporate applicant or Participant.

(1) SBA will deem disadvantaged individuals to control the Board of Directors where:

(i) A single disadvantaged individual owns 100% of all voting stock of an applicant or Participant concern;

(ii) A single disadvantaged individual owns at least 51% of all voting stock of an applicant or Participant concern, the individual is on the Board of Directors and no super majority voting requirements exist for shareholders to approve corporation actions. Where super majority voting requirements are provided for in the concern's articles of incorporation, its by-laws, or by state law, the disadvantaged individual must own at least the percent of the voting stock needed to overcome any such super majority voting requirements; or

(iii) More than one disadvantaged shareholder seeks to qualify the concern (i.e., no one individual owns 51%), each such individual is on the Board of Directors, together they own at least 51% of all voting stock of the concern, no super majority voting requirements exist, and the disadvantaged shareholders can demonstrate that they have made enforceable arrangements to permit one of them to vote the stock of all as a block without a shareholder meeting. Where the concern has super majority voting requirements, the disadvantaged shareholders must own at least that percentage of voting stock needed to overcome any such super majority ownership requirements.

(2) Where an applicant or Participant does not meet the requirements set forth in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, the disadvantaged individual(s) upon whom eligibility is based must control the Board of Directors through actual numbers of voting directors or, where permitted by state law, through weighted voting (e.g., in a concern having a two-person Board of Directors where one individual on the Board is disadvantaged and one is not, the disadvantaged vote must be weighted - worth more than one vote - in order for the concern to be eligible for 8(a) participation). Where a concern seeks to comply with this paragraph:

(i) Provisions for the establishment of a quorum cannot permit non-disadvantaged Directors to control the Board of Directors, directly or indirectly;

(ii) Any Executive Committee of Directors must be controlled by disadvantaged directors unless the Executive Committee can only make recommendations to and cannot independently exercise the authority of the Board of Directors.

(3) An applicant must inform SBA of any super majority voting requirements provided for in its articles of incorporation, its by-laws, by state law, or otherwise. Similarly, after being admitted to the program, a Participant must inform SBA of changes regarding super majority voting requirements.

(4) Non-voting, advisory, or honorary Directors may be appointed without affecting disadvantaged individuals' control of the Board of Directors.

(5) Arrangements regarding the structure and voting rights of the Board of Directors must comply with applicable state law.

(e) Non-disadvantaged individuals may be involved in the management of an applicant or Participant, and may be stockholders, partners, limited liability members, officers, and/or directors of the applicant or Participant. However, no non-disadvantaged individual or immediate family member may:

(1) Exercise actual control or have the power to control the applicant or Participant;

(2) Be a former employer or a principal of a former employer of any disadvantaged owner of the applicant or Participant, unless it is determined by the AA/BD that the relationship between the former employer or principal and the disadvantaged individual or applicant concern does not give the former employer actual control or the potential to control the applicant or Participant and such relationship is in the best interests of the 8(a) BD firm; or

(3) Receive compensation from the applicant or Participant in any form as directors, officers or employees, including dividends, that exceeds the compensation to be received by the highest officer (usually CEO or President). The highest ranking officer may elect to take a lower salary than a non-disadvantaged individual only upon demonstrating that it helps the applicant or Participant. In the case of a Participant, the Participant must also obtain the prior written consent of the AA/BD or designee before changing the compensation paid to the highest ranking officer to be below that paid to a non-disadvantaged individual.

(f) Non-disadvantaged individuals who transfer majority stock ownership or control of the firm to an immediate family member within two years prior to the application and remain involved in the firm as a stockholder, officer, director, or key employee of the firm are presumed to control the firm. The presumption may be rebutted by showing that the transferee has independent management experience necessary to control the operation of the firm.

(g) Non-disadvantaged individuals or entities may be found to control or have the power to control in any of the following circumstances, which are illustrative only and not all inclusive:

(1) In circumstances where an applicant or Participant seeks to establish disadvantaged control of the Board of Directors through paragraph (d)(2) of this section, non-disadvantaged individuals control the Board of Directors of the applicant or Participant, either directly through majority voting membership, or indirectly, where the by-laws allow non-disadvantaged individuals effectively to prevent a quorum or block actions proposed by the disadvantaged individuals.

(2) A non-disadvantaged individual or entity, having an equity interest in the applicant or participant, provides critical financial or bonding support or a critical license to the applicant or Participant which directly or indirectly allows the non-disadvantaged individual significantly to influence business decisions of the Participant.

(3) A non-disadvantaged individual or entity controls the applicant or Participant or an individual disadvantaged owner through loan arrangements. Providing a loan guaranty on commercially reasonable terms does not, by itself, give a non-disadvantaged individual or entity the power to control a firm.

(4) Business relationships exist with non-disadvantaged individuals or entities which cause such dependence that the applicant or Participant cannot exercise independent business judgment without great economic risk.

(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section requiring a disadvantaged owner to control the daily business operations and long-term strategic planning of an 8(a) BD Participant, where a disadvantaged individual upon whom eligibility is based is a reserve component member in the United States military who has been called to active duty, the Participant may elect to designate one or more individuals to control the Participant on behalf of the disadvantaged individual during the active duty call-up period. If such an election is made, the Participant will continue to be treated as an eligible 8(a) Participant and no additional time will be added to its program term. Alternatively, the Participant may elect to suspend its 8(a) BD participation during the active duty call-up period pursuant to §§ 124.305(h)(1)(ii) and 124.305(h)(4).

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8255, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48580, July 25, 2016]

§ 124.107 What is potential for success?

The applicant concern must possess reasonable prospects for success in competing in the private sector if admitted to the 8(a) BD program. To do so, it must be in business in its primary industry classification for at least two full years immediately prior to the date of its 8(a) BD application, unless a waiver for this requirement is granted pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section.

(a) Income tax returns for each of the two previous tax years must show operating revenues in the primary industry in which the applicant is seeking 8(a) BD certification.

(b)

(1) SBA may waive the two years in business requirement if each of the following five conditions are met:

(i) The individual or individuals upon whom eligibility is based have substantial business management experience;

(ii) The applicant has demonstrated technical experience to carry out its business plan with a substantial likelihood for success if admitted to the 8(a) BD program;

(iii) The applicant has adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan as a Participant;

(iv) The applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its primary industry category; and

(v) The applicant has, or can demonstrate its ability to timely obtain, the personnel, facilities, equipment, and any other requirements needed to perform contracts as a Participant.

(2) The concern seeking a waiver under paragraph (b) must provide information on governmental and nongovernmental contracts in progress and completed (including letters of reference) in order to establish successful contract performance, and must demonstrate how it otherwise meets the five conditions for waiver. SBA considers an applicant's performance on both government and private sector contracts in determining whether the firm has an overall successful performance record. If, however, the applicant has performed only government contracts or only private sector contracts, SBA will review its performance on those contracts alone to determine whether the applicant possesses a record of successful performance.

(c) In assessing potential for success, SBA considers the concern's access to credit and capital, including, but not limited to, access to long-term financing, access to working capital financing, equipment trade credit, access to raw materials and supplier trade credit, and bonding capability.

(d) In assessing potential for success, SBA will also consider the technical and managerial experience of the applicant concern's managers, the operating history of the concern, the concern's record of performance on previous Federal and private sector contracts in the primary industry in which the concern is seeking 8(a) BD certification, and its financial capacity. The applicant concern as a whole must demonstrate both technical knowledge in its primary industry category and management experience sufficient to run its day-to-day operations.

(e) The Participant or individuals employed by the Participant must hold all requisite licenses if the concern is engaged in an industry requiring professional licensing (e.g., public accountancy, law, professional engineering).

(f) An applicant will not be denied admission into the 8(a) BD program due solely to a determination that potential 8(a) contract opportunities are unavailable to assist in the development of the concern unless:

(1) The Government has not previously procured and is unlikely to procure the types of products or services offered by the concern; or

(2) The purchase of such products or services by the Federal Government will not be in quantities sufficient to support the developmental needs of the applicant and other Participants providing the same or similar items or services.

§ 124.108 What other eligibility requirements apply for individuals or businesses?

(a) Good character. The applicant or Participant and all its principals must have good character.

(1) If during the processing of an application, SBA receives adverse information from the applicant or a credible source regarding possible criminal conduct by the applicant or any of its principals, SBA may suspend further processing of the application and refer it to SBA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) for review. If the SBA suspends the application, but does not hear back from OIG within 45 days, SBA may proceed with application processing. The AA/BD will consider any findings of the OIG when evaluating the application.

(2) Violations of any of SBA's regulations may result in denial of participation in the 8(a) BD program. The AA/BD will consider the nature and severity of the violation in making an eligibility determination.

(3) Debarred or suspended concerns or concerns owned by debarred or suspended persons are ineligible for admission to the 8(a) BD program.

(4) An applicant is ineligible for admission to the 8(a) BD program if the applicant concern or a proprietor, partner, limited liability member, director, officer, or holder of at least 20 percent of its stock, or another person (including key employees) with significant authority over the concern:

(i) Lacks business integrity as demonstrated by information related to an indictment or guilty plea, conviction, civil judgment, or settlement; or

(ii) Is currently incarcerated, or on parole or probation pursuant to a pre-trial diversion or following conviction for a felony or any crime involving business integrity.

(5) If, during the processing of an application, SBA determines that an applicant has knowingly submitted false information, regardless of whether correct information would cause SBA to deny the application, and regardless of whether correct information was given to SBA in accompanying documents, SBA will deny the application. If, after admission to the program, SBA discovers that false information has been knowingly submitted by a firm, SBA will initiate termination proceedings and suspend the firm under §§ 124.304 and 124.305. Whenever SBA determines that the applicant submitted false information, the matter will be referred to SBA's Office of Inspector General for review.

(b) One-time eligibility. Once a concern or disadvantaged individual upon whom eligibility was based has participated in the 8(a) BD program, neither the concern nor that individual will be eligible again.

(1) An individual who claims disadvantage and completes the appropriate SBA forms to qualify an applicant has participated in the 8(a) BD program if SBA approves the application.

(2) Use of eligibility will take effect on the date of the concern's approval for admission into the program.

(3) An individual who uses his or her one-time eligibility to qualify a concern for the 8(a) BD program will be considered a non-disadvantaged individual for ownership or control purposes of another applicant or Participant. The criteria restricting participation by non-disadvantaged individuals will apply to such an individual. See §§ 124.105 and 124.106.

(4) When at least 50% of the assets of a concern are the same as those of a former Participant, the concern will not be eligible for entry into the program.

(5) Participants which change their form of business organization and transfer their assets and liabilities to the new organization may do so without affecting the eligibility of the new organization provided the previous business is dissolved and all other eligibility criteria are met. In such a case, the new organization may complete the remaining program term of the previous organization. A request for a change in business form will be treated as a change of ownership under § 124.105(i).

(c) Wholesalers. An applicant concern seeking admission to the 8(a) BD program as a wholesaler need not demonstrate that it is capable of meeting the requirements of the nonmanufacturer rule for its primary industry classification.

(d) Brokers. Brokers are ineligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program. A broker is a concern that adds no material value to an item being supplied to a procuring activity or which does not take ownership or possession of or handle the item being procured with its own equipment or facilities.

(e) Federal financial obligations. Neither a firm nor any of its principals that fails to pay significant financial obligations owed to the Federal Government, including unresolved tax liens and defaults on Federal loans or other Federally assisted financing, is eligible for admission to or participation in the 8(a) BD program.

[63 FR 35739, 35772, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8255, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48580, July 25, 2016]

§ 124.109 Do Indian tribes and Alaska Native Corporations have any special rules for applying to and remaining eligible for the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Special rules for ANCs. Small business concerns owned and controlled by ANCs are eligible for participation in the 8(a) program and must meet the eligibility criteria set forth in § 124.112 to the extent the criteria are not inconsistent with this section. ANC-owned concerns are subject to the same conditions that apply to tribally-owned concerns, as described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, except that the following provisions and exceptions apply only to ANC-owned concerns:

(1) Alaska Natives and descendants of Natives must own a majority of both the total equity of the ANC and the total voting powers to elect directors of the ANC through their holdings of settlement common stock. Settlement common stock means stock of an ANC issued pursuant to 43 U.S.C. 1606(g)(1), which is subject to the rights and restrictions listed in 43 U.S.C. 1606(h)(1).

(2) An ANC that meets the requirements set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section is deemed economically disadvantaged under 43 U.S.C. 1626(e), and need not establish economic disadvantage as required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(3) Even though an ANC can be either for profit or non-profit, a small business concern owned and controlled by an ANC must be for profit to be eligible for the 8(a) program. The concern will be deemed owned and controlled by the ANC where both the majority of stock or other ownership interest and total voting power are held by the ANC and holders of its settlement common stock.

(4) The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act provides that a concern which is majority owned by an ANC shall be deemed to be both owned and controlled by Alaska Natives and an economically disadvantaged business. Therefore, an individual responsible for control and management of an ANC-owned applicant or Participant need not establish personal social and economic disadvantage.

(5) Paragraphs (b)(3)(i), (ii) and (iv) of this section are not applicable to an ANC, provided its status as an ANC is clearly shown in its articles of incorporation.

(6) Paragraph (c)(1) of this section is not applicable to an ANC-owned concern to the extent it requires an express waiver of sovereign immunity or a “sue and be sued” clause.

(7) Notwithstanding § 124.105(i), where an ANC merely reorganizes its ownership of a Participant in the 8(a) BD program by inserting or removing a wholly-owned business entity between the ANC and the Participant, the Participant need not request a change of ownership from SBA. The Participant must, however, notify SBA of the change within 60 days of the transfer.

(b) Tribal eligibility. In order to qualify a concern which it owns and controls for participation in the 8(a) BD program, an Indian Tribe must establish its own economic disadvantaged status under paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Once an Indian Tribe establishes that it is economically disadvantaged in connection with the application for one Tribally-owned firm, it need not reestablish such status in order to have other businesses that it owns certified for 8(a) BD program participation, unless specifically requested to do so by the AA/BD. An Indian Tribe may request to meet with SBA prior to submitting an application for 8(a) BD participation for its first applicant firm to better understand what SBA requires for it to establish economic disadvantage. Each Tribally-owned concern seeking to be certified for 8(a) BD participation must comply with the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section.

(1) Social disadvantage. An Indian tribe as defined in § 124.3 is considered to be socially disadvantaged.

(2) Economic disadvantage. In order to be eligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program, the Indian tribe must demonstrate to SBA that the tribe itself is economically disadvantaged. This must involve the consideration of available data showing the tribe's economic condition, including but not limited to, the following information:

(i) The number of tribal members.

(ii) The present tribal unemployment rate.

(iii) The per capita income of tribal members, excluding judgment awards.

(iv) The percentage of the local Indian population below the poverty level.

(v) The tribe's access to capital.

(vi) The tribal assets as disclosed in a current tribal financial statement. The statement must list all assets including those which are encumbered or held in trust, but the status of those encumbered or in trust must be clearly delineated.

(vii) A list of all wholly or partially owned tribal enterprises or affiliates and the primary industry classification of each. The list must also specify the members of the tribe who manage or control such enterprises by serving as officers or directors.

(3) Forms and documents required to be submitted. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the Indian tribe generally must submit the forms and documents required of 8(a) BD applicants as well as the following material:

(i) A copy of all governing documents such as the tribe's constitution or business charter.

(ii) Evidence of its recognition as a tribe eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States or by its state of residence.

(iii) Copies of its articles of incorporation and bylaws as filed with the organizing or chartering authority, or similar documents needed to establish and govern a non-corporate legal entity.

(iv) Documents or materials needed to show the tribe's economically disadvantaged status as described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(c) Business eligibility. In order to be eligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program, a concern which is owned by an eligible Indian tribe (or wholly owned business entities of such tribe) must meet the conditions set forth in paragraphs (c)(1) through (c)(7) of this section.

(1) Legal business entity organized for profit and susceptible to suit. The applicant or participating concern must be a separate and distinct legal entity organized or chartered by the tribe, or Federal or state authorities. The concern's articles of incorporation, partnership agreement or limited liability company articles of organization must contain express sovereign immunity waiver language, or a “sue and be sued” clause which designates United States Federal Courts to be among the courts of competent jurisdiction for all matters relating to SBA's programs including, but not limited to, 8(a) BD program participation, loans, and contract performance. Also, the concern must be organized for profit, and the tribe must possess economic development powers in the tribe's governing documents.

(2) Size.

(i) A tribally-owned applicant concern must qualify as a small business concern as defined for purposes of Federal Government procurement in part 121 of this title. The particular size standard to be applied is based on the primary industry classification of the applicant concern.

(ii) A tribally-owned Participant must certify to SBA that it is a small business pursuant to the provisions of part 121 of this title for the purpose of performing each individual contract which it is awarded.

(iii) In determining the size of a small business concern owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged Indian tribe (or a wholly owned business entity of such tribe) for either 8(a) BD program entry or contract award, the firm's size shall be determined independently without regard to its affiliation with the tribe, any entity of the tribal government, or any other business enterprise owned by the tribe, unless the Administrator determines that one or more such tribally-owned business concerns have obtained, or are likely to obtain, a substantial unfair competitive advantage within an industry category.

(iv) In determining whether a tribally-owned concern has obtained, or is likely to obtain, a substantial unfair competitive advantage within an industry category, SBA will examine the firm's participation in the relevant six digit NAICS code nationally as compared to the overall small business share of that industry.

(A) SBA will consider the firm's percentage share of the national market and other relevant factors to determine whether the firm is dominant in a specific six-digit NAICS code with a particular size standard.

(B) SBA does not contemplate a finding of affiliation where a tribally-owned concern appears to have obtained an unfair competitive advantage in a local market, but remains competitive, but not dominant, on a national basis.

(3) Ownership.

(i) For corporate entities, a Tribe must unconditionally own at least 51 percent of the voting stock and at least 51 percent of the aggregate of all classes of stock. For non-corporate entities, a Tribe must unconditionally own at least a 51 percent interest.

(ii) A Tribe may not own 51% or more of another firm which, either at the time of application or within the previous two years, has been operating in the 8(a) program under the same primary NAICS code as the applicant. For purposes of this paragraph, the same primary NAICS code means the six-digit NAICS code having the same corresponding size standard. A Tribe may, however, own a Participant or other applicant that conducts or will conduct secondary business in the 8(a) BD program under the NAICS code which is the primary NAICS code of the applicant concern.

(A) Once an applicant is admitted to the 8(a) BD program, it may not receive an 8(a) sole source contract that is a follow-on contract to an 8(a) contract that was performed immediately previously by another Participant (or former Participant) owned by the same Tribe. However, a tribally-owned concern may receive a follow-on sole source 8(a) contract to a requirement that it performed through the 8(a) program (either as a competitive or sole source contract).

(B) If the primary NAICS code of a tribally-owned Participant is changed pursuant to § 124.112(e), the tribe can submit an application and qualify another firm owned by the tribe for participation in the 8(a) BD program under the NAICS code that was the previous primary NAICS code of the Participant whose primary NAICS code was changed.

Example 1 to paragraph (c)(3)(ii)(B).

Tribe X owns 100% of 8(a) Participant A. A entered the 8(a) BD program with a primary NAICS code of 236115, New Single-Family Housing Construction (except For-Sale Builders). After four years in the program, SBA noticed that the vast majority of A's revenues were in NAICS Code 237310, Highway, Street, and Bridge Construction, and notified A that SBA intended to change its primary NAICS code pursuant to § 124.112(e). A agreed to change its primary NAICS Code to 237310. Once the change is finalized, Tribe X can immediately submit a new application to qualify another firm that it owns for participation in the 8(a) BD program with a primary NAICS Code of 236115.

(iii) The restrictions of § 124.105(h) do not apply to tribes; they do, however, apply to non disadvantaged individuals or other business concerns that are partial owners of a tribally-owned concern.

(iv) Notwithstanding § 124.105(i), where a Tribe merely reorganizes its ownership of a Participant in the 8(a) BD program by inserting or removing a wholly-owned business entity between the Tribe and the Participant, the Participant need not request a change of ownership from SBA. The Participant must, however, notify SBA of the change within 30 days of the transfer.

(4) Control and management.

(i) The management and daily business operations of a Tribally-owned concern must be controlled by the Tribe. The Tribally-owned concern may be controlled by the Tribe through one or more individuals who possess sufficient management experience of an extent and complexity needed to run the concern, or through management as follows:

(A) Management may be provided by committees, teams, or Boards of Directors which are controlled by one or more members of an economically disadvantaged tribe, or

(B) Management may be provided by non-Tribal members if the concern can demonstrate that the Tribe can hire and fire those individuals, that it will retain control of all management decisions common to boards of directors, including strategic planning, budget approval, and the employment and compensation of officers, and that a written management development plan exists which shows how Tribal members will develop managerial skills sufficient to manage the concern or similar Tribally-owned concerns in the future.

(ii) Members of the management team, business committee members, officers, and directors are precluded from engaging in any outside employment or other business interests which conflict with the management of the concern or prevent the concern from achieving the objectives set forth in its business development plan. This is not intended to preclude participation in tribal or other activities which do not interfere with such individual's responsibilities in the operation of the applicant concern.

(iii) The individuals responsible for the management and daily operations of a tribally-owned concern cannot manage more than two Program Participants at the same time.

(A) An individual's officer position, membership on the board of directors or position as a tribal leader does not necessarily imply that the individual is responsible for the management and daily operations of a given concern. SBA looks beyond these corporate formalities and examines the totality of the information submitted by the applicant to determine which individual(s) manage the actual day-to-day operations of the applicant concern.

(B) Officers, board members, and/or tribal leaders may control a holding company overseeing several tribally-owned or ANC-owned companies, provided they do not actually control the day-to-day management of more than two current 8(a) BD Program Participant firms.

(C) Because an individual may be responsible for the management and daily business operations of two tribally-owned concerns, the full-time devotion requirement does not apply to tribally-owned applicants and Participants.

(5) Individual eligibility limitation. SBA does not deem an individual involved in the management or daily business operations of a tribally-owned concern to have used his or her individual eligibility within the meaning of § 124.108(b).

(6) Potential for success. A Tribally-owned applicant concern must possess reasonable prospects for success in competing in the private sector if admitted to the 8(a) BD program. A Tribally-owned applicant may establish potential for success by demonstrating that:

(i) It has been in business for at least two years, as evidenced by income tax returns (individual or consolidated) for each of the two previous tax years showing operating revenues in the primary industry in which the applicant is seeking 8(a) BD certification; or

(ii) The individual(s) who will manage and control the daily business operations of the firm have substantial technical and management experience, the applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its primary industry category, and the applicant has adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan as a Participant; or

(iii) The Tribe, a tribally-owned economic development corporation, or other relevant tribally-owned holding company vested with the authority to oversee tribal economic development or business ventures has made a firm written commitment to support the operations of the applicant concern and it has the financial ability to do so.

(7) Other eligibility criteria.

(i) As with other 8(a) applicants, a tribally-owned applicant concern shall not be denied admission into the 8(a) program due solely to a determination that specific contract opportunities are unavailable to assist the development of the concern unless:

(A) The Government has not previously procured and is unlikely to procure the types of products or services offered by the concern; or

(B) The purchase of such products or services by the Federal Government will not be in quantities sufficient to support the developmental needs of the applicant and other program participants providing the same or similar items or services.

(ii) The officers, directors, and all shareholders owning an interest of 20% or more (other than the tribe itself) of a tribally-owned applicant or Participant must demonstrate good character (see § 124.108(a)) and cannot fail to pay significant Federal obligations owed to the Federal Government (see § 124.108(e)).

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8255, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48580, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66184, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.110 Do Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs) have any special rules for applying to and remaining eligible for the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Concerns owned by economically disadvantaged Native Hawaiian Organizations, as defined in § 124.3, are eligible for participation in the 8(a) program and other federal programs requiring SBA to determine social and economic disadvantage as a condition of eligibility. Such concerns must meet all eligibility criteria set forth in §§ 124.101 through 124.108 and § 124.112 to the extent that they are not inconsistent with this section.

(b) A concern owned by a Native Hawaiian Organization must qualify as a small business concern as defined in part 121 of this title. The size standard corresponding to the primary industry classification of the applicant concern applies for determining size. SBA will determine the concern's size independently, without regard to its affiliation with the Native Hawaiian Organization or any other business enterprise owned by the Native Hawaiian Organization, unless the Administrator determines that one or more such concerns owned by the Native Hawaiian Organization have obtained, or are likely to obtain, a substantial unfair competitive advantage within an industry category. In determining whether an NHO-owned concern has obtained, or is likely to obtain, a substantial unfair competitive advantage within an industry category, SBA will examine the firm's participation in the relevant six digit NAICS code nationally.

(1) SBA will consider the firm's percentage share of the national market and other relevant factors to determine whether the firm is dominant in a specific six-digit NAICS code with a particular size standard.

(2) SBA does not contemplate a finding of affiliation where an NHO-owned concern appears to have obtained an unfair competitive advantage in a local market, but remains competitive, but not dominant, on a national basis.

(c) An NHO must establish that it is economically disadvantaged and that its business activities will principally benefit Native Hawaiians. Once an NHO establishes that it is economically disadvantaged in connection with the application of one NHO-owned firm, it need not reestablish such status in order to have other businesses that it owns certified for 8(a) BD program participation, unless specifically requested to do so by the AA/BD. If a different NHO identifies that it will serve and benefit the same Native Hawaiian community as an NHO that has already established its economic disadvantage status, that NHO need not establish its economic disadvantage status in connection with an 8(a) BD application of a business concern that it owns, unless specifically requested to do so by the AA/BD.

(1) In order to establish that an NHO is economically disadvantaged, it must demonstrate that it will principally benefit economically disadvantaged Native Hawaiians. To do this, the NHO must provide data showing the economic condition of the Native Hawaiian community that it intends to serve, including:

(i) The number of Native Hawaiians in the community that the NHO intends to serve;

(ii) The present Native Hawaiian unemployment rate of those individuals;

(iii) The per capita income of those Native Hawaiians, excluding judgment awards;

(iv) The percentage of those Native Hawaiians below the poverty level; and

(v) The access to capital of those Native Hawaiians.

(2) An NHO should describe any activities that it has done to benefit Native Hawaiians at the time its NHO-owned firm applies to the 8(a) BD program. In addition, the NHO must include statements in its bylaws or operating agreements identifying the benefits Native Hawaiians will receive from the NHO. The NHO must have a detailed plan that shows how revenue earned by the NHO will principally benefit Native Hawaiians. As part of an annual review conducted for an NHO-owned Participant, SBA will review how the NHO is fulfilling its obligation to principally benefit Native Hawaiians.

(d) An NHO must control the applicant or Participant firm. To establish that it is controlled by an NHO, an applicant or Participant must demonstrate that the NHO controls its board of directors, managing members, managers or managing partners.

(1) The NHO need not possess the technical expertise necessary to run the NHO-owned applicant or Participant firm. The NHO must have managerial experience of the extent and complexity needed to run the concern. Management experience need not be related to the same or similar industry as the primary industry classification of the applicant or Participant.

(2) An individual responsible for the day-to-day management of an NHO-owned firm need not establish personal social and economic disadvantage.

(e) An NHO cannot own 51% or more of another firm which, either at the time of application or within the previous two years, has been operating in the 8(a) program under the same primary NAICS code as the applicant. For purposes of this paragraph, the same primary NAICS code means the six-digit NAICS code having the same corresponding size standard. An NHO may, however, own a Participant or an applicant that conducts or will conduct secondary business in the 8(a) BD program under the same NAICS code that a current Participant owned by the NHO operates in the 8(a) BD program as its primary NAICS code.

(1) Once an applicant is admitted to the 8(a) BD program, it may not receive an 8(a) sole source contract that is a follow-on contract to an 8(a) contract that was performed immediately previously by another Participant (or former Participant) owned by the same NHO. However, an NHO-owned concern may receive a follow-on sole source 8(a) contract to a requirement that it performed through the 8(a) program (either as a competitive or sole source contract).

(2) If the primary NAICS code of a Participant owned by an NHO is changed pursuant to § 124.112(e), the NHO can submit an application and qualify another firm owned by the NHO for participation in the 8(a) BD program under the NAICS code that was the previous primary NAICS code of the Participant whose primary NAICS code was changed.

(f) SBA does not deem an individual involved in the management or daily business operations of a Participant owned by a Native Hawaiian Organization to have used his or her individual eligibility within the meaning of § 124.108(b).

(g) An NHO-owned firm's eligibility for 8(a) BD participation is separate and distinct from the individual eligibility of the NHO's members, directors, or managers. The eligibility of an NHO-owned concern is not affected by the former 8(a) BD participation of one or more of the NHO's individual members.

(h) An applicant concern owned by a NHO must possess reasonable prospects for success in competing in the private sector if admitted to the 8(a) BD program. An applicant concern owned by a NHO may establish potential for success by demonstrating that:

(1) It has been in business for at least two years, as evidenced by income tax returns (individual or consolidated) for each of the two previous tax years showing operating revenues in the primary industry in with the applicant is seeking 8(a) BD certification; or

(2) The individual(s) who will manage and control the daily business operations of the firm have substantial technical and management experience, the applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its primary industry category, and the applicant has adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan as a Participant; or

(3) The NHO has made a firm written commitment to support the operations of the applicant concern and it has the financial ability to do so.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8256, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 28237, May 14, 2012; 81 FR 48580, July 25, 2016; 81 FR 71983, Oct. 19, 2016; 85 FR 66184, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.111 Do Community Development Corporations (CDCs) have any special rules for applying to and remaining eligible for the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Concerns owned at least 51 percent by CDCs (or a wholly owned business entity of a CDC) are eligible for participation in the 8(a) BD program and other federal programs requiring SBA to determine social and economic disadvantage as a condition of eligibility. These concerns must meet all eligibility criteria set forth in § 124.101 through § 124.108 and § 124.112 to the extent that they are not inconsistent with this section.

(b) A concern that is at least 51 percent owned by a CDC (or a wholly owned business entity of a CDC) is considered to be controlled by such CDC and eligible for participation in the 8(a) BD program, provided it meets all eligibility criteria set forth or referred to in this section and its management and daily business operations are conducted by one or more individuals determined to have managerial experience of an extent and complexity needed to run the concern.

(c) A concern that is at least 51 percent owned by a CDC (or a wholly owned business entity of a CDC) must qualify as a small business concern as defined in part 121 of this title. The size standard corresponding to the primary industry classification of the applicant concern applies for determining size. SBA will determine the concern's size independently, without regard to its affiliation with the CDC or any other business enterprise owned by the CDC, unless the Administrator determines that one or more such concerns owned by the CDC have obtained, or are likely to obtain, a substantial unfair competitive advantage within an industry category. In determining whether a CDC-owned concern has obtained, or is likely to obtain, a substantial unfair competitive advantage within an industry category, SBA will examine the firm's participation in the relevant six digit NAICS code nationally.

(1) SBA will consider the firm's percentage share of the national market and other relevant factors to determine whether the firm is dominant in a specific six-digit NAICS code with a particular size standard.

(2) SBA does not contemplate a finding of affiliation where a CDC-owned concern appears to have obtained an unfair competitive advantage in a local market, but remains competitive, but not dominant, on a national basis.

(3) Notwithstanding § 124.105(i), where a CDC merely reorganizes its ownership of a Participant in the 8(a) BD program by inserting or removing a wholly-owned business entity between the CDC and the Participant, the Participant need not request a change of ownership from SBA. The Participant must, however, notify SBA of the change within 30 days of the transfer.

(d) A CDC cannot own 51% or more of another firm which, either at the time of application or within the previous two years, has been operating in the 8(a) program under the same primary NAICS code as the applicant. For purposes of this paragraph, the same primary NAICS code means the six-digit NAICS code having the same corresponding size standard. A CDC may, however, own a Participant or an applicant that conducts or will conduct secondary business in the 8(a) BD program under the same NAICS code that a current Participant owned by the CDC operates in the 8(a) BD program as its primary SIC code.

(1) Once an applicant is admitted to the 8(a) BD program, it may not receive an 8(a) sole source contract that is a follow-on contract to an 8(a) contract that was performed immediately previously by another Participant (or former Participant) owned by the same CDC. However, a CDC-owned concern may receive a follow-on sole source 8(a) contract to a requirement that it performed through the 8(a) program.

(2) If the primary NAICS code of a Participant owned by a CDC is changed pursuant to § 124.112(e), the CDC can submit an application and qualify another firm owned by the CDC for participation in the 8(a) BD program under the NAICS code that was the previous primary NAICS code of the Participant whose primary NAICS code was changed.

(e) SBA does not deem an individual involved in the management or daily business operations of a CDC-owned concern to have used his or her individual eligibility within the meaning of § 124.108(b).

(f) An applicant concern owned by a CDC must possess reasonable prospects for success in competing in the private sector if admitted to the 8(a) BD program. An applicant concern owned by a CDC may establish potential for success by demonstrating that:

(1) It has been in business for at least two years, as evidenced by income tax returns (individual or consolidated) for each of the two previous tax years showing operating revenues in the primary industry in with the applicant is seeking 8(a) BD certification; or

(2) The individual(s) who will manage and control the daily business operations of the firm have substantial technical and management experience, the applicant has a record of successful performance on contracts from governmental or nongovernmental sources in its primary industry category, and the applicant has adequate capital to sustain its operations and carry out its business plan as a Participant; or

(3) The CDC has made a firm written commitment to support the operations of the applicant concern and it has the financial ability to do so.

(g) A CDC-owned applicant and all of its principals must have good character as set forth in § 124.108(a).

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8257, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 28237, May 14, 2012; 81 FR 48581, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66184, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.112 What criteria must a business meet to remain eligible to participate in the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Standards. In order for a concern (except those owned by Indian tribes, ANCs, Native Hawaiian Organizations or CDCs) to remain eligible for 8(a) BD program participation, it must continue to meet all eligibility criteria contained in § 124.101 through § 124.108. For concerns owned by Indian tribes, ANCs, Native Hawaiian Organizations or CDCs to remain eligible, they must meet the criteria set forth in this § 124.112 to the extent that they are not inconsistent with § 124.109, § 124.110 and § 124.111, respectively. The concern must inform SBA in writing of any changes in circumstances which would adversely affect its program eligibility, especially economic disadvantage and ownership and control. Any concern that fails to meet the eligibility requirements after being admitted to the program will be subject to termination or early graduation under §§ 124.302 through 124.304, as appropriate.

(b) Submissions supporting continued eligibility. As part of an annual review, each Participant must annually submit to the servicing district office the following:

(1) A certification that it meets the 8(a) BD program eligibility requirements as set forth in § 124.101 through § 124.108 and paragraph (a) of this section;

(2) A certification that there have been no changed circumstances which could adversely affect the Participant's program eligibility. If the Participant is unable to provide such certification, the Participant must inform SBA of any changes and provide relevant supporting documentation.

(3) Personal financial information for each disadvantaged owner;

(4) A record from each individual claiming disadvantaged status regarding the transfer of assets for less than fair market value to any immediate family member, or to a trust any beneficiary of which is an immediate family member, within two years of the date of the annual review. The record must provide the name of the recipient(s) and family relationship, and the difference between the fair market value of the asset transferred and the value received by the disadvantaged individual.

(5) A record of all payments, compensation, and distributions (including loans, advances, salaries and dividends) made by the Participant to each of its owners, officers or directors, or to any person or entity affiliated with such individuals;

(6) If it is an approved protégé, a narrative report detailing the contracts it has had with its mentor and benefits it has received from the mentor/protégé relationship. See § 124.520(b)(4) for additional annual requirements;

(7) A listing of any fees paid to agents or representatives to assist the Participant in obtaining or seeking to obtain a Federal contract;

(8) A report for each 8(a) contract performed during the year explaining how the performance of work requirements are being met for the contract, including any 8(a) contracts performed as a joint venture; and

(9) Such other information as SBA may deem necessary. For other required annual submissions, see §§ 124.601 through 124.603.

(c) Eligibility reviews.

(1) Upon receipt of specific and credible information alleging that a Participant no longer meets the eligibility requirements for continued program eligibility, SBA will review the concern's eligibility for continued participation in the program.

(2) Sufficient reasons for SBA to conclude that a socially disadvantaged individual is no longer economically disadvantaged include, but are not limited to, excessive withdrawals of funds or other assets withdrawn from the concern by its owners, or substantial personal assets, income or net worth of any disadvantaged owner. SBA may also consider access by the Participant firm to a significant new source of capital or loans since the financial condition of the Participant is considered in evaluating the disadvantaged individual's economic status.

(d) Excessive withdrawals.

(1) The term withdrawal includes, but is not limited to, the following: Cash dividends; distributions in excess of amounts needed to pay S Corporation, LLC or partnership taxes; cash and property withdrawals; payments to immediate family members not employed by the Participant; bonuses to officers; and investments on behalf of an owner. Although officers' salaries are generally not considered withdrawals for purposes of this paragraph, SBA will count those salaries as withdrawals where SBA believes that a firm is attempting to circumvent the excessive withdrawal limitations through the payment of officers' salaries. SBA will look at the totality of the circumstances in determining whether to include any specific amount as a withdrawal under this paragraph.

(2) If SBA determines that funds or assets have been excessively withdrawn from the Participant for the personal benefit of one or more owners or managers, or any person or entity affiliated with such owners or managers, and such withdrawal was detrimental to the achievement of the targets, objectives, and goals contained in the Participant's business plan, SBA may:

(i) Initiate termination proceedings under §§ 124.303 and 124.304 where the withdrawals detrimentally affect the achievement of the Participant's targets, objectives and goals set forth in its business plan, or its overall business development;

(ii) Initiate early graduation proceedings under §§ 124.302 and 124.303 where the withdrawals do not adversely affect the Participant's business development; or

(iii) Require an appropriate reinvestment of funds or other assets, as well as any other actions SBA deems necessary to counteract the detrimental effects of the withdrawals, as a condition of the Participant maintaining program eligibility.

(3) Withdrawals are excessive if in the aggregate during any fiscal year of the Participant they exceed

(i) $250,000 for firms with sales up to $1,000,000;

(ii) $300,000 for firms with sales between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000; and

(iii) $400,000 for firms with sales exceeding $2,000,000.

(4) The fact that a concern's net worth has increased despite withdrawals that are deemed excessive will not preclude SBA from determining that such withdrawals were detrimental to the attainment of the concern's business objectives or to its overall business development.

(5) The excessive withdrawal analysis does not apply to Participants owned by Tribes, ANCs, NHOs, or CDCs where a withdrawal is made for the benefit of the Tribe, ANC, NHO, CDC or the native or shareholder community. It does, however, apply to withdrawals from a firm owned by a Tribe, ANC, NHO, or CDC that do not benefit the relevant entity or community. Thus, if funds or assets are withdrawn from an entity-owned Participant for the benefit of a non-disadvantaged manager or owner that exceed the withdrawal thresholds, SBA may find that withdrawal to be excessive. However, a non-disadvantaged minority owner may receive a payout in excess of the excessive withdrawal amount if it is a pro rata distribution paid to all shareholders (i.e., the only way to increase the distribution to the Tribe, ANC, NHO or CDC is to increase the distribution to all shareholders) and it does not adversely affect the business development of the Participant.

Example 1 to paragraph (d)(5).

Tribally-owned Participant X pays $1,000,000 to a non-disadvantaged manager. If that was not part of a pro rata distribution to all shareholders, that would be deemed an excessive withdrawal.

Example 2 to paragraph (d)(5).

ANC-owned Participant Y seeks to distribute $550,000 to the ANC and $450,000 to non-disadvantaged individual A based on their 55%/45% ownership interests. Because the distribution is based on the pro rata share of ownership, this would not be prohibited as an excessive withdrawal unless SBA determined that Y would be adversely affected.

(e) Change in primary industry classification.

(1) A Participant may request that the primary industry classification contained in its business plan be changed by filing such a request with its servicing SBA district office. SBA will grant such a request where the Participant can demonstrate that the majority of its total revenues during a three-year period have evolved from one NAICS code to another.

(2) SBA may change the primary industry classification contained in a Participant's business plan where the greatest portion of the Participant's total revenues during the Participant's last three completed fiscal years has evolved from one NAICS code to another. As part of its annual review, SBA will consider whether the primary NAICS code contained in a Participant's business plan continues to be appropriate.

(i) Where SBA believes that the primary industry classification contained in a Participant's business plan does not match the Participant's actual revenues over the Participant's most recently completed three fiscal years, SBA may notify the Participant of its intent to change the Participant's primary industry classification and afford the Participant the opportunity to respond.

(ii) A Participant may challenge SBA's intent to change its primary industry classification by demonstrating why it believes the primary industry classification contained in its business plan continues to be appropriate, despite an increase in revenues in a secondary NAICS code beyond those received in its designated primary industry classification. The Participant should identify: All non-federal work that it has performed in its primary NAICS code; any efforts it has made and any plans it has to make to receive contracts to obtain contracts in its primary NAICS code; all contracts that it was awarded that it believes could have been classified under its primary NAICS code, but which a contracting officer assigned another reasonable NAICS code; and any other information that it believes has a bearing on why its primary NAICS code should not be changed despite performing more work in another NAICS code.

(iii) As long as the Participant provides a reasonable explanation as to why the identified primary NAICS code continues to be its primary NAICS code, SBA will not change the Participant's primary NAICS code.

(iv) A Participant may appeal a district office's decision to change its primary NAICS code to SBA's Associate General Counsel for Procurement Law (AGC/PL) within 10 business days of receiving the district office's final determination. The AGC/PL will examine the record, including all information submitted by the Participant in support of its position as to why the primary NAICS code contained in its business plan continues to be appropriate despite performing more work in another NAICS code, and issue a final agency decision within 15 business days of receiving the appeal.

(v) Where an SBA change in the primary NAICS code of an entity-owned firm results in the entity having two Participants with the same primary NAICS code, the second, newer Participant will not be able to receive any 8(a) contracts in the six-digit NAICS code that is the primary NAICS code of the first, older Participant for a period of time equal to two years after the first Participant leaves the 8(a) BD program.

(f) Graduation determination. As part of the final annual review performed by SBA prior to the expiration of a Participant's nine-year program term, SBA will determine if the Participant has met the targets, objectives and goals set forth in its business plan and, thus, whether the Participant will be considered to have graduated from the 8(a) BD program at the expiration of its program term. A firm that has not met the targets, objectives and goals set forth in its business plan at the end of its nine-year term in the 8(a) BD program will not be considered to have graduated from the 8(a) BD program, but rather to have merely completed its program term.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8257, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 28237, May 14, 2012; 81 FR 48581, July 25, 2016; 81 FR 71983, Oct. 19, 2016; 85 FR 66185, Oct. 16, 2020]

Applying to the 8(a) BD Program
§ 124.201 May any business submit an application?

Any concern or any individual on behalf of a business has the right to apply for 8(a) BD program participation whether or not there is an appearance of eligibility.

§ 124.202 How must an application be filed?

An application for 8(a) BD program admission must be filed in an electronic format. An electronic application can be found by going to the 8(a) BD page of SBA's Web site (http://www.sba.gov). The SBA district office will provide an applicant with information regarding the 8(a) BD program.

[81 FR 48581, July 25, 2016]

§ 124.203 What must a concern submit to apply to the 8(a) BD program?

Each 8(a) BD applicant concern must submit information and supporting documents required by SBA when applying for admission to the 8(a) BD program. This information may include, but not be limited to, financial data and statements, copies of filed Federal personal and business tax returns, individual and business bank statements, personal history statements, and any additional information or documents SBA deems necessary to determine eligibility. Each individual claiming disadvantaged status must also authorize SBA to request and receive tax return information directly from the Internal Revenue Service. In all cases, the applicant must provide a signature from each individual claiming social and economic disadvantage status. The electronic signing protocol will ensure the Agency is able to specifically identify the individual making the representation. The individual(s) upon whom eligibility is based take responsibility for the accuracy of all information submitted on behalf of the applicant.

[81 FR 48581, July 25, 2016, as amended at 85 FR 66185, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.204 How does SBA process applications for 8(a) BD program admission?

(a) The AA/BD is authorized to approve or decline applications for admission to the 8(a) BD program. The DPCE will receive, review and evaluate all 8(a) BD applications. SBA will advise each program applicant within 15 days after the receipt of an application whether the application is complete and suitable for evaluation and, if not, what additional information or clarification is required to complete the application. SBA will process an application for 8(a) BD program participation within 90 days of receipt of a complete application package by the DPCE. Incomplete packages will not be processed. Where during its screening or review SBA requests clarifying, revised or other information from the applicant, SBA's processing time for the application will be suspended pending the receipt of such information.

(b) SBA, in its sole discretion, may request clarification of information contained in the application at any time in the application process. SBA will take into account any clarifications made by an applicant in response to a request for such by SBA.

(c) The burden of proof to demonstrate eligibility is on the applicant concern. If a concern does not provide requested information within the allotted time provided by SBA, or if it submits incomplete information, SBA may presume that disclosure of the missing information would adversely affect the firm or would demonstrate lack of eligibility in the area to which the information relates.

(d) An applicant must be eligible as of the date the AA/BD issues a decision. The decision will be based on the facts set forth in the application, any information received in response to SBA's request for clarification made pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, and any changed circumstances since the date of application.

(e) Changed circumstances for an applicant concern occurring subsequent to its application and which adversely affect eligibility will be considered and may constitute grounds for decline. The applicant must inform SBA of any changed circumstances that could adversely affect its eligibility for the program (particularly economic disadvantage and ownership and control) during its application review. Failure to inform SBA of any such changed circumstances constitutes good cause for which SBA may terminate the Participant if non-compliance is discovered after admittance.

(f) The decision of the AA/BD to approve or deny an application will be in writing. A decision to deny admission will state the specific reasons for denial, and will inform the applicant of any appeal rights.

(g) If the AA/BD approves the application, the date of the approval letter is the date of program certification for purposes of determining the concern's program term.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8258, Feb. 11, 2011; 85 FR 66185, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.205 Can an applicant ask SBA to reconsider SBA's initial decision to decline its application?

There is no reconsideration process for applications that have been declined. An applicant which has been declined may file an appeal with SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals pursuant to § 124.206, or reapply to the program pursuant to § 124.207.

[85 FR 66185, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.206 What appeal rights are available to an applicant that has been denied admission?

(a) An applicant may appeal a denial of program admission to SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA), if it is based solely on a negative finding of social disadvantage, economic disadvantage, ownership, control, or any combination of these four criteria. A denial decision that is based at least in part on the failure to meet any other eligibility criterion is not appealable and is the final decision of SBA.

(b) [Reserved]

(b) The applicant may initiate an appeal by filing a petition in accordance with part 134 of this chapter with OHA within 45 days after the applicant receives the Agency decision.

(c) If an appeal is filed with OHA, the written decision of the Administrative Law Judge is the final Agency decision. If an appealable decision is not appealed, the decision of the AA/BD is the final Agency decision.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 67 FR 47246, July 18, 2002; 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 85 FR 66185, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.207 Can an applicant reapply for admission to the 8(a) BD program?

A concern which has been declined for 8(a) BD program participation may submit a new application for admission to the program at any time after 90 days from the date of the Agency's final decision to decline. However, a concern that has been declined three times within 18 months of the date of the first final Agency decision finding the concern ineligible cannot submit a new application for admission to the program until 12 months from the date of the third final Agency decision to decline.

[85 FR 66185, Oct. 16, 2020]

Exiting the 8(a) BD Program
§ 124.300 What are the ways a business may leave the 8(a) BD program?

A concern participating in the 8(a) BD program may leave the program by any of the following means:

(a) Expiration of the program term established pursuant to § 124.2;

(b) Voluntary withdrawal or voluntary early graduation;

(c) Graduation pursuant to § 124.302;

(d) Early graduation pursuant to the provisions of §§ 124.302 and 124.304; or

(e) Termination pursuant to the provisions of §§ 124.303 and 124.304.

[76 FR 8258, Feb. 11, 2011. Redesignated at 85 FR 66186, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.301 Voluntary withdrawal or voluntary early graduation.

(a) A Participant may voluntarily withdraw from the 8(a) BD program at any time prior to the expiration of its program term. Where a Participant has substantially achieved the goals and objectives set forth in its business plan, it may elect to voluntarily early graduate from the 8(a) BD program.

(b) To initiate withdrawal or early graduation from the 8(a) BD program, a Participant must notify its servicing SBA district office of its intent to do so in writing. Once the SBA servicing district office processes the request and the District Director recognizes the withdrawal or early graduation, the Participant is no longer eligible to receive any 8(a) BD program assistance.

[85 FR 66186, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.302 What is graduation and what is early graduation?

(a) General. SBA may graduate a firm from the 8(a) BD program at the expiration of its program term (graduation) or prior to the expiration of its program term (early graduation) where SBA determines that:

(1) The concern has successfully completed the 8(a) BD program by substantially achieving the targets, objectives, and goals set forth in its business plan, and has demonstrated the ability to compete in the marketplace without assistance under the 8(a) BD program; or

(2) One or more of the disadvantaged owners upon whom the Participant's eligibility is based are no longer economically disadvantaged.

(b) Criteria for determining whether a Participant has met its goals and objectives. In determining whether a Participant has substantially achieved the targets, objectives and goals of its business plan and in assessing the overall competitive strength and viability of a Participant, SBA considers the totality of circumstances, including the following factors:

(1) Degree of sustained profitability;

(2) Sales trends, including improved ratio of non-8(a) sales to 8(a) sales since program entry;

(3) Business net worth, financial ratios, working capital, capitalization, and access to credit and capital;

(4) Current ability to obtain bonding;

(5) A comparison of the Participant's business and financial profiles with profiles of non-8(a) BD businesses having the same primary four-digit SIC code as the Participant;

(6) Strength of management experience, capability, and expertise; and

(7) Ability to operate successfully without 8(a) contracts.

(c) Exceeding the size standard corresponding to the primary NAICS code. SBA may graduate a Participant prior to the expiration of its program term where the firm exceeds the size standard corresponding to its primary NAICS code, as adjusted during the program, for three successive program years unless the firm is able to demonstrate that it has taken steps to change its industry focus to another NAICS code that is contained in the goals, targets and objectives of its business plan.

(d) Excessive withdrawals. SBA may graduate a Participant prior to the expiration of its program term where excessive funds or other assets have been withdrawn from the Participant (see § 124.112(d)(3)), causing SBA to determine that the Participant has demonstrated the ability to compete in the marketplace without assistance under the 8(a) BD program.

[63 FR 35739, 35772, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8258, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.303 What is termination?

(a) SBA may terminate the participation of a concern in the 8(a) BD program prior to the expiration of the concern's Program Term for good cause. Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Submission of false information in the concern's 8(a) BD application, regardless of whether correct information would have caused the concern to be denied admission to the program, and regardless of whether correct information was given to SBA in accompanying documents or by other means.

(2) Failure by the concern to maintain its eligibility for program participation, including failure by an individual owner or manager to continue to meet the requirements for economic disadvantage set forth in § 124.104 where such status is needed for eligibility.

(3) Failure by the concern for any reason, including the death of an individual upon whom eligibility was based, to maintain ownership, full-time day-to-day management, and control by disadvantaged individuals.

(4) Failure by the concern to obtain prior written approval from SBA for any changes in ownership or business structure, management or control pursuant to §§ 124.105 and 124.106.

(5) Failure by the concern to disclose to SBA the extent to which non-disadvantaged persons or firms participate in the management of the Participant business concern.

(6) Failure by the concern or one or more of the concern's principals to maintain good character.

(7) A pattern of failure to make required submissions or responses to SBA in a timely manner, including a failure to provide required financial statements, requested tax returns, reports, updated business plans, information requested by SBA's Office of Inspector General, or other requested information or data within 30 days of the date of request.

(8) Cessation of business operations by the concern.

(9) Failure by the concern to pursue competitive and commercial business in accordance with its business plan, or failure in other ways to make reasonable efforts to develop and achieve competitive viability.

(10) A pattern of inadequate performance by the concern of awarded section 8(a) contracts.

(11) Failure by the concern to pay or repay significant financial obligations owed to the Federal Government.

(12) Failure by the concern to obtain and keep current any and all required permits, licenses, and charters, including suspension or revocation of any professional license required to operate the business.

(13) Excessive withdrawals that are detrimental to the achievement of the targets, objectives, and goals contained in the Participant's business plan, including transfers of funds or other business assets from the concern for the personal benefit of any of its owners or managers, or any person or entity affiliated with the owners or managers (see § 124.112(d)).

(14) Unauthorized use of SBA direct or guaranteed loan proceeds or violation of an SBA loan agreement.

(15) Submission by or on behalf of a Participant of false information to SBA, including false certification of compliance with non-8(a) business activity targets under § 124.507 or failure to report changes that adversely affect the program eligibility of an applicant or program participant under § 124.204 and § 124.112, where responsible officials of the 8(a) BD Participant knew or should have known the submission to be false.

(16) Debarment, suspension, voluntary exclusion, or ineligibility of the concern or its principals pursuant to 2 CFR parts 180 and 2700 or FAR subpart 9.4 (48 CFR part 9, subpart 9.4). * * *

(17) Conduct by the concern, or any of its principals, indicating a lack of business integrity. Such conduct may be demonstrated by information related to a criminal indictment or guilty plea, a criminal conviction, or a judgment or settlement in a civil case.

(18) Willful failure by the Participant business concern to comply with applicable labor standards and obligations.

(19) Material breach of any terms and conditions of the 8(a) BD Program Participation Agreement.

(20) Willful violation by a concern, or any of its principals, of any SBA regulation pertaining to material issues.

(b) The examples of good cause listed in paragraph (a) of this section are intended to be illustrative only. Other grounds for terminating a Participant from the 8(a) BD program for cause may exist and may be used by SBA.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8258, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.304 What are the procedures for early graduation and termination?

(a) General. The same procedures apply to both early graduation and termination of Participants from the 8(a) BD program.

(b) Letter of Intent to Terminate or Graduate Early. When SBA believes that a Participant should be terminated or graduated prior to the expiration of its program term, SBA will notify the concern in writing. The Letter of Intent to Terminate or Graduate Early will set forth the specific facts and reasons for SBA's findings, and will notify the concern that it has 30 days from the date it receives the letter to submit a written response to SBA explaining why the proposed ground(s) should not justify termination or early graduation.

(c) Recommendation and decision. Following the 30-day response period, the Assistant Administrator for DPCE (AA/DPCE) or designee will consider the proposed early graduation or termination and any information submitted in response by the concern. Upon determining that early graduation or termination is not warranted, the AA/DPCE or designee will notify the Participant in writing. If early graduation or termination appears warranted, the AA/DPCE will make such a recommendation to the AA/BD, who will then make a decision whether to early graduate or terminate the concern. SBA will act in a timely manner in processing early graduation and termination actions.

(d) Notice requirements and effect of decision. Upon deciding that early graduation or termination is warranted, the AA/BD will issue a Notice of Early Graduation or Termination. The Notice will set forth the specific facts and reasons for the decision, and will advise the concern that it may appeal the decision in accordance with the provisions of part 134 of this title. Once the AA/BD issues a decision to early graduate or terminate a Participant, the Participant will be immediately ineligible to receive further program assistance. If OHA overrules the AA/BD's decision on appeal, the length of time between the AA/BD's decision and OHA's decision on appeal will be added to the Participant's program term.

(e) Appeal to OHA. Procedures governing appeals of early graduation or termination to SBA's OHA are set forth in part 134. If a Participant does not appeal a Notification of Early Graduation or Termination within 45 days after the Participant receives the Notification, the decision of the AA/BD is the final agency decision effective on the date the appeal right expired.

(f) Effect or early graduation or termination.

(1) After the effective date of early graduation or termination, a Participant is no longer eligible to receive any 8(a) BD program assistance. However, such concern is obligated to complete previously awarded 8(a) contracts, including any priced options which may be exercised.

(2) When SBA early graduates or terminates a firm from the 8(a) BD program, the firm will generally not qualify as an SDB for future procurement actions. If the firm believes that it does qualify as an SDB and seeks to certify itself as an SDB, as part of its SDB certification the firm must identify:

(i) That it has been early graduated or terminated;

(ii) The statutory or regulatory authority that qualifies the firm for SDB status; and

(iii) Where applicable, the circumstances that have changed since the early graduation or termination or that do not prevent it from qualifying as an SDB.

(3) Where a concern certifies that it qualifies as an SDB pursuant to paragraph (f)(2) of the section, the procuring activity contracting officer may protest the SDB status of the firm to SBA pursuant to § 124.1010 where questions regarding the firm's SDB status remain.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 67 FR 47246, July 18, 2002; 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8258, Feb. 11, 2011; 85 FR 66186, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.305 What is suspension and how is a Participant suspended from the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Except as set forth in paragraph (h) of this section, the AA/BD may suspend a Participant when he or she determines that suspension is needed to protect the interests of the Federal Government, such as where information showing a clear lack of program eligibility or conduct indicating a lack of business integrity exists, including where the concern or one of its principals submitted false statements to the Federal Government. SBA will suspend a Participant where SBA determines that the Participant submitted false information in its 8(a) BD application.

(b) SBA will issue a Notice of Suspension to the Participant's last known address by certified mail, return receipt requested. Suspension is effective as of the date of the issuance of the Notice. The Notice will provide the following information:

(1) The basis for the suspension;

(2) A statement that the suspension will continue pending the completion of further investigation, a final program termination determination, or some other specified period of time;

(3) A statement that awards of competitive and non-competitive 8(a) contracts, including those which have been “self-marketed” by a Participant, will not be made during the pendency of the suspension unless it is determined by the head of the relevant procuring agency or an authorized representative to be in the best interest of the Government to do so, and SBA adopts that determination;

(4) A statement that the concern is obligated to complete previously awarded section 8(a) contracts;

(5) A statement that the suspension is effective nationally throughout SBA;

(6) A statement that a request for a hearing on the suspension will be considered by an Administrative Law Judge at OHA, and granted or denied as a matter of discretion.

(7) A statement that the firm's participation in the program is suspended effective on the date the Notice is served, and that the program term will resume only if the suspension is lifted or the firm is not terminated.

(c) The Participant may appeal a Notice of Suspension by filing a petition in accordance with part 134 of this chapter with OHA within 45 days after the concern receives the Notice of Suspension pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section. It is contemplated that in most cases a hearing on the issue of the suspension will be afforded if the Participant requests one, but authority to grant a hearing is within the discretion of the Administrative Law Judge in OHA. A suspension remains in effect pending the result of its appeal.

(d) SBA has the burden of showing that adequate evidence exists that protection of the Federal Government's interest requires suspension.

(1) The term “adequate evidence” means information contained in the record before the AA/BD at the time of his or her suspension decision that is sufficient to support the reasonable belief that the Government's interests need to be protected.

(2) SBA need not demonstrate that an act or omission actually occurred in order for OHA to uphold a suspension. SBA's burden in a suspension proceeding is limited to demonstrating that it had a reasonable belief that a particular act or omission occurred, and that that act or omission requires suspension to protect the interests of the Government.

(3) OHA's review is limited to determining whether the Government's interests need to be protected, unless a termination action has also been initiated and the Administrative Law Judge consolidates the suspension and termination proceedings. In such a case, OHA will also consider the merits of the termination action.

(e) If there is a timely appeal, the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is the final SBA decision. If there is not a timely appeal, the decision of the AA/BD is the final Agency decision.

(f) Upon the request of SBA, OHA may consolidate suspension and termination proceedings when the issues presented are identical.

(g) Any program suspension which occurs under this section is effective until such time as SBA lifts the suspension or the Participant's participation in the program is fully terminated. If the concern is ultimately not terminated from the 8(a) BD program, the suspension will be lifted and the length of the suspension will be added to the concern's program term.

(h)

(1) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, SBA will suspend a Participant from receiving further 8(a) BD program benefits where:

(i) A Participant requests a change of ownership and/or control and SBA discovers that a change of ownership or control has in fact occurred prior to SBA's approval; or

(ii) A disadvantaged individual who is involved in controlling the day-to-day management and control of the Participant is called to active military duty by the United States, his or her participation in the firm's management and daily business operations is critical to the firm's continued eligibility, the Participant does not designate another disadvantaged individual to control the concern during the call-up period, and the Participant requests to be suspended during the call-up period;

(iii) A Participant has a principal place of business located in a federally declared disaster area and elects to suspend its participation in the 8(a) BD program for a period of up to one year from the date of the disaster declaration to allow the firm to recover from the disaster and take full advantage of the program. A Participant that elects to be suspended may request that the suspension be lifted prior to the end date of the original request; or

(iv) Federal appropriations for one or more Federal departments or agencies have lapsed, a Participant would lose an 8(a) sole source award due to the lapse in appropriations (e.g., SBA has previously accepted an offer for a sole source 8(a) award on behalf of the Participant or an agency could not offer a sole source 8(a) requirement to the program on behalf of the Participant due to the lapse in appropriations, and the Participant's program term would end during the lapse), and the Participant elects to suspend its participation in the 8(a) BD program during the lapse in Federal appropriations; or

(v) A Participant has not submitted a business plan to its SBA servicing office within 60 days after program admission.

(2) A suspension initiated under paragraph (h) of this section will be commenced by the issuance of a notice similar to that required for termination-related suspensions under paragraph (b) of this section, except that a suspension issued under paragraph (h) is not appealable.

(3) Where a Participant is suspended pursuant to paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section and SBA approves the change of ownership and/or control, the length of the suspension will be added to the firm's program term only where the change in ownership or control results from the death or incapacity of a disadvantaged individual or where the firm requested prior approval and waited at least 60 days for SBA approval before making the change.

(4) Where a Participant is suspended pursuant to paragraph (h)(1)(ii) of this section, the Participant must notify SBA when the disadvantaged individual returns to control the firm so that SBA can immediately lift the suspension. When the suspension is lifted, the length of the suspension will be added to the concern's program term.

(5) Where a Participant is suspended pursuant to (h)(1)(iv) of this section, the Participant must notify SBA when the lapse in appropriation ends so that SBA can immediately lift the suspension. When the suspension is lifted, the length of the suspension will be added to the concern's program term.

(6) Where a Participant is suspended pursuant to paragraph (h)(1)(iii) or paragraph (h)(1)(v) of this section, the length of the suspension will be added to the concern's program term.

(7) Effect of suspension. Once a suspension is issued pursuant to this section, a Participant cannot receive any additional 8(a) BD program assistance, including new 8(a) contract awards, for as long as the Participant is suspended. This includes any procurement requirements that the firm has self-marketed and those that have been accepted into the 8(a) BD program on behalf of the suspended concern. However, the suspended Participant must complete any previously awarded 8(a) contracts.

(i) SBA does not recognize the concept of de facto suspension. Adding time to the end of a Participant's program term equal to the length of a suspension will occur only where a concern's program participation has been formally suspended in accordance with the procedures set forth in this section.

(j) A suspension from 8(a) BD participation under this section has no effect on a concern's eligibility for non-8(a) Federal Government contracts. However, a debarment or suspension under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (48 CFR, chapter 1) will disqualify a concern from receiving all Federal Government contracts, including 8(a) contracts.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 67 FR 47246, July 18, 2002; 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8259, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66186, Oct. 16, 2020]

Business Development
§ 124.401 Which SBA field office services a Participant?

The SBA district office which serves the geographical territory where a Participant's principal place of business is located normally will service the concern during its participation in the 8(a) BD program.

§ 124.402 How does a Participant develop a business plan?

(a) General. In order to assist the SBA servicing office in determining the business development needs of its portfolio Participants, each Participant must develop a comprehensive business plan setting forth its business targets, objectives, and goals.

(b) Submission of initial business plan. Each Participant must submit a business plan to its SBA servicing office as soon as possible after program admission. SBA will suspend a Participant from receiving 8(a) BD program benefits, including 8(a) contracts, if it has not submitted its business plan to the servicing district office within 60 days after program admission.

(c) Contents of business plan. The business plan must contain at least the following:

(1) A detailed description of any products currently being produced and any services currently being performed by the concern, as well as any future plans to enter into one or more new markets;

(2) The applicant's designation of its primary industry classification, as defined in § 124.3;

(3) An analysis of market potential, competitive environment, and the concern's prospects for profitable operations during and after its participation in the 8(a) BD program;

(4) An analysis of the concern's strengths and weaknesses, with particular attention on ways to correct any financial, managerial, technical, or work force conditions which could impede the concern from receiving and performing non-8(a) contracts;

(5) Specific targets, objectives, and goals for the business development of the concern during the next two years;

(6) Estimates of both 8(a) and non-8(a) contract awards that will be needed to meet its targets, objectives and goals; and

(7) Such other information as SBA may require.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 85 FR 66186, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.403 How is a business plan updated and modified?

(a) Annual review. Each Participant must annually review its business plan with its assigned Business Opportunity Specialist (BOS), and modify the plan as appropriate. The Participant must submit a modified plan and updated information to its BOS within thirty (30) days after the close of each program year. It also must submit a capability statement describing its current contract performance capabilities as part of its updated business plan.

(b) Contract forecast. As part of the annual review of its business plan, each Participant must annually forecast in writing its needs for contract awards for the next program year. The forecast must include:

(1) The aggregate dollar value of 8(a) contracts to be sought, broken down by sole source and competitive opportunities where possible;

(2) The aggregate dollar value of non-8(a) contracts to be sought;

(3) The types of contract opportunities to be sought, identified by product or service; and

(4) Such other information as SBA may request to aid in providing effective business development assistance to the Participant.

(c) Transition management strategy. Beginning in the first year of the transitional stage of program participation, each Participant must annually submit a transition management strategy to be incorporated into its business plan. The transition management strategy must describe:

(1) How the Participant intends to meet the applicable non-8(a) business activity target imposed by § 124.507 during the transitional stage of participation; and

(2) The specific steps the Participant intends to take to continue its business growth and promote profitable business operations after the expiration of its program term.

[63 FR 35739, 35772, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8259, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.404 What business development assistance is available to Participants during the two stages of participation in the 8(a) BD program?

(a) General. Participation in the 8(a) BD program is divided into two stages, a developmental stage and a transitional stage. The developmental stage will last four years, and the transitional stage will last five years, unless the concern has exited the program by one of the means set forth in § 124.301 prior to the expiration of its program term or has elected to extend its participation pursuant to § 124.2(b).

(b) Developmental stage of program participation. A Participant, if otherwise eligible, may receive the following assistance during the developmental stage of program participation:

(1) Sole source and competitive 8(a) contract support;

(2) Financial assistance pursuant to § 120.375 of this title;

(3) The transfer of technology or surplus property owned by the United States pursuant to § 124.405; and

(4) Training to aid in developing business principles and strategies to enhance their ability to compete successfully for both 8(a) and non-8(a) contracts.

(c) Transitional stage of program participation. A Participant, if otherwise eligible, may receive the following assistance during the transitional stage of program participation:

(1) The same assistance as that provided to Participants in the developmental stage;

(2) Assistance from procuring agencies (in cooperation with SBA) in forming joint ventures, leader-follower arrangements, and teaming agreements between the concern and other Participants or other business concerns with respect to contracting opportunities outside the 8(a) BD program for research, development, or full scale engineering or production of major systems (these arrangements must comply with all relevant statutes and regulations, including applicable size standard requirements); and

(3) Training and technical assistance in transitional business planning.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 86 FR 2533, Jan. 13, 2021]

§ 124.405 How does a Participant obtain Federal Government surplus property?

(a) General.

(1) Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 636(j)(13)(F), eligible Participants may receive surplus Federal Government property from State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASPs). The procedures set forth in 41 CFR part 102-37 and this section will be used to transfer surplus personal property to eligible Participants.

(2) The surplus personal property which may be transferred to SASPs for further transfer to eligible Participants includes all personal property which has become available for donation pursuant to 41 CFR 102-37.30.

(b) Eligibility to receive Federal surplus property. To be eligible to receive Federal surplus property, on the date of transfer a concern must:

(1) Be in the 8(a) BD program;

(2) Be in compliance with all program requirements, including any reporting requirements;

(3) Not be debarred, suspended, or declared ineligible under Title 2 or Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations;

(4) Not be under a pending 8(a) BD program suspension, termination or early graduation proceeding; and

(5) Be engaged or expect to be engaged in business activities making the item useful to it.

(6) Not have received property under part 129, Subpart B of this chapter, during the applicable period described in that section.

(c) Use of acquired surplus personal property.

(1) Eligible Participants may acquire Federal surplus personal property from the SASP in the State(s) where the Participant is located and operates, provided the Participant represents in writing:

(i) As to what the intended use of the surplus property is to be and that this use is consistent with the objectives of the concern's 8(a) business plan;

(ii) That it will use the property to be acquired in the normal conduct of its business activities or be liable for the fair rental value from the date of its receipt;

(iii) That it will not sell or transfer the property to be acquired to any party other than the Federal Government during its term of participation in the 8(a) program and for one year after it leaves the program;

(iv) That, at its own expense, it will return the property to a SASP or transfer it to another Participant if directed to do so by SBA because it has not used the property as intended within one year of receipt;

(v) That, should it breach its agreement not to sell or transfer the property, it will be liable to the Government for the established fair market value or the sale price, whichever is greater, of the property sold or transferred; and

(vi) That it will give SBA access to inspect the property and all records pertaining to it.

(2) A firm receiving surplus property pursuant to this section assumes all liability associated with or stemming from the use of the property.

(3) If the property is not placed in use for the purposes for which it was intended within one year of its receipt, SBA may direct the concern to deliver the property to another Participant or to the SASP from which it was acquired.

(4) Failure to comply with any of the commitments made under paragraph (c)(1) of this section constitutes a basis for termination from the 8(a) program.

(d) Procedures for acquiring Federal Government surplus personal property.

(1) Participants may participate in the GSA Federal Surplus Personal Property Donation Program administered by the SASPs. See generally 41 CFR part 102-37 and/or § 102-37.125 of that title.

(2) Each Participant seeking to acquire Federal Government surplus property from a SASP must:

(i) Certify in writing to the SASP that it is eligible to receive the property pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section;

(ii) Make the written representations and agreement required by paragraph (c)(1) of this section; and

(iii) Identify to the SASP its servicing SBA field office.

(3) Upon receipt of the required certification, representations, agreement, and information set forth in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, the SASP must contact the appropriate SBA field office and obtain SBA's verification that the concern seeking to acquire the surplus property is eligible, and that the identified use of the property is consistent with the concern's business activities. SASPs may not release property to a Participant without this verification.

(4) The SASP and the Participant must agree on and record the fair market value of the surplus property at the time of the transfer to the Participant. The SASP must provide to SBA a written record, including the agreed upon fair market value, of each transaction to a Participant when any property has been transferred.

(e) Costs. Participants acquiring surplus property from a SASP must pay a service fee to the SASP which is equal to the SASP's direct costs of locating, inspecting, and transporting the surplus property. If a Participant elects to incur the responsibility and the expense for transporting the acquired property, the concern may do so and no transportation costs will be charged by the SASP. In addition, the SASP may charge a reasonable fee to cover its costs of administering the program. In no instance will any SASP charge a Participant more for any service than their established fees charged to other transferees.

(f) Title. Upon execution of the SASP distribution document, the Participant has conditional title only to the surplus personal property during the applicable period of restriction. Full title to the surplus personal property will vest in the donee only after the donee has met all of the requirements of this part.

(g) Compliance.

(1) SBA will periodically review whether Participants that have received surplus property have used and maintained the property as agreed. This review may include site visits to visually inspect the property to ensure that it is being used in a manner consistent with the terms of its transfer.

(2) Participants must provide SBA with access to all relevant records upon request.

(3) Where SBA receives credible information that transferred surplus property may have been disposed of or otherwise used in a manner that is not consistent with the terms of the transfer, SBA may investigate such claim to determine its validity.

(4) SBA may take any action to correct any noncompliance involving the use of transferred property still in possession of the Participant or to enforce any terms, conditions, reservations, or restrictions imposed on the property by the distribution document. Actions to enforce compliance, or which may be taken as a result of noncompliance, include the following:

(i) Requiring that the property be placed in proper use within a specified time;

(ii) Requiring that the property be transferred to another Participant having a need and use for the property, returned to the SASP serving the area where the property is located for distribution to another eligible transferee or to another SASP, or transferred through GSA to another Federal agency;

(iii) Recovery of the fair rental value of the property from the date of its receipt by the Participant; and

(iv) Initiation of proceedings to terminate the Participant from the 8(a) BD program.

(5) Where SBA finds that a recipient has sold or otherwise disposed of the acquired surplus property in violation of the agreement covering sale and disposal, the Participant is liable for the agreed upon fair market value of the property at the time of the transfer, or the sale price, whichever is greater. However, a Participant need not repay any amount where it can demonstrate to SBA's satisfaction that the property is no longer useful for the purpose for which it was transferred and receives SBA's prior written consent to transfer the property. For example, if a piece of equipment breaks down beyond repair, it may be disposed of without being subject to the repayment provision, so long as the concern receives SBA's prior consent.

(6) Any funds received by SBA in enforcement of this section will be remitted promptly to the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 85 FR 69124, Nov. 2, 2020]

Contractual Assistance
§ 124.501 What general provisions apply to the award of 8(a) contracts?

(a) Pursuant to section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, SBA is authorized to enter into all types of contracts with other Federal agencies regardless of the place of performance, including contracts to furnish equipment, supplies, services, leased real property, or materials to them or to perform construction work for them, and to contract the performance of these contracts to qualified Participants. This includes set-asides, partial set-asides and reserves of Multiple Award Contracts and set-asides of orders issued against Multiple Award Contracts. Where practicable, simplified acquisition procedures should be used for 8(a) contracts at or below the simplified acquisition threshold. Where appropriate, SBA will delegate the contract execution function to procuring activities. In order to receive and retain a delegation of SBA's contract execution and review functions, a procuring activity must report all 8(a) contract awards, modifications, and options to SBA.

(b) 8(a) contracts may either be sole source awards or awards won through competition with other Participants. In addition, for multiple award contracts not set aside for the 8(a) BD program, a procuring agency may set aside specific orders to be competed only among eligible 8(a) Participants, regardless of the place of performance. Such an order may be awarded as an 8(a) award where the order was offered to and accepted by SBA as an 8(a) award and the order specifies that the performance of work and/or non-manufacturer rule requirements apply as appropriate.

(c) Admission into the 8(a) BD program does not guarantee that a Participant will receive 8(a) contracts.

(d) A requirement for possible award may be identified by SBA, a particular Participant or the procuring activity itself. SBA will submit the capability statements provided to SBA annually under § 124.403 to appropriate procuring activities for the purpose of matching requirements with Participants.

(e) Participants should market their capabilities to appropriate procuring activities to increase their prospects of receiving sole source 8(a) contracts.

(f) An 8(a) participant that identifies a requirement that appears suitable for award through the 8(a) BD program may request SBA to contact the procuring activity to request that the requirement be offered to the 8(a) BD program.

(g) Before a Participant may be awarded either a sole source or competitive 8(a) contract, SBA must determine that the Participant is eligible for award. SBA will determine eligibility at the time of its acceptance of the underlying requirement into the 8(a) BD program for a sole source 8(a) contract, and after the apparent successful offeror is identified for a competitive 8(a) contract. Eligibility is based on 8(a) BD program criteria, including whether the Participant:

(1) Qualifies as a small business under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the requirement;

(2) Is in compliance with any applicable competitive business mix targets established or remedial measure imposed by § 124.509 that does not include the denial of future sole source 8(a) contracts;

(3) Complies with the continued eligibility reporting requirements set forth in § 124.112(b);

(4) Has a bona fide place of business in the applicable geographic area if the procurement is for construction;

(5) Has not received 8(a) contracts in excess of the dollar limits set forth in § 124.519 for a sole source 8(a) procurement;

(6) Has complied with the provisions of § 124.513(c) and (d) if it is seeking a sole source 8(a) award through a joint venture; and

(7) Can demonstrate that it, together with any similarly situated entity, will meet the limitations on subcontracting provisions set forth in § 124.510.

(h) For a sole source 8(a) procurement, a concern must be a current Participant in the 8(a) BD program at the time of award. If a firm's term of participation in the 8(a) BD program ends (or the firm otherwise exits the program) before a sole source 8(a) contract can be awarded, award cannot be made to that firm. This applies equally to sole source orders issued under multiple award contracts. For a competitive 8(a) procurement, a firm must be a current Participant eligible for award of the contract on the initial date specified for receipt of offers contained in the solicitation as provided in § 124.507(d).

(i) A Participant must certify that it qualifies as a small business under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to each 8(a) contract. 8(a) BD program personnel will verify size prior to award of an 8(a) contract. If the Participant is not verified as small, it may request a formal size determination from the appropriate General Contracting Area Office under part 121 of this title.

(j) Any person or entity that misrepresents its status as a “small business concern owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” in order to obtain any 8(a) contracting opportunity will be subject to possible criminal, civil and administrative penalties, including those imposed by section 16(d) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 645(d).

(k) In order to be awarded a sole source or competitive 8(a) construction contract, a Participant must have a bona fide place of business within the applicable geographic location determined by SBA. This will generally be the geographic area serviced by the SBA district office, a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a contiguous county (whether in the same or different state), or the geographical area serviced by a contiguous SBA district office to where the work will be performed. SBA may determine that a Participant with a bona fide place of business anywhere within the state (if the state is serviced by more than one SBA district office), one or more other SBA district offices (in the same or another state), or another nearby area is eligible for the award of an 8(a) construction contract.

(1) A Participant may have bona fide places of business in more than one location.

(2) In order for a Participant to establish a bona fide place of business in a particular geographic location, the SBA district office serving the geographic area of that location must determine if the location in fact qualifies as a bona fide place of business under SBA's requirements.

(i) A Participant must submit a request for a bona fide business determination to the SBA district office servicing it. Such request may, but need not, relate to a specific 8(a) requirement. In order to apply to a specific competitive 8(a) solicitation, such request must be submitted at least 20 working days before initial offers that include price are due.

(ii) The servicing district office will immediately forward the request to the SBA district office serving the geographic area of the particular location for processing. Within 10 working days of receipt of the submission, the reviewing district office will conduct a site visit, if practicable. If not practicable, the reviewing district office will contact the Participant within such 10-day period to inform the Participant that the reviewing office has received the request and may ask for additional documentation to support the request.

(iii) In connection with a specific competitive solicitation, the reviewing office will make a determination whether or not the Participant has a bona fide place of business in its geographical area within 5 working days of a site visit or within 15 working days of its receipt of the request from the servicing district office if a site visit is not practical in that timeframe. If the request is not related to a specific procurement, the reviewing office will make a determination within 30 working days of its receipt of the request from the servicing district office, if practicable.

(A) Where SBA does not provide a determination within the identified time limit, a Participant may presume that SBA has approved its request for a bona fide place of business and submit an offer for a competitive 8(a) procurement that requires a bona fide place of business in the requested area.

(B) In order to be eligible for award, SBA must approve the bona fide place of business prior to award. If SBA has not provided a determination prior to the time that a Participant is identified as the apparent successful offeror, SBA will make the bona fide place of business determination as part of the eligibility determination set forth in paragraph (g)(4) of this section within 5 days of receiving a procuring activity's request for an eligibility determination, unless the procuring activity grants additional time for review. If, due to deficiencies in a Participant's request, SBA cannot make a determination, and the procuring activity does not grant additional time for review, SBA will be unable to verify the Participant's eligibility for award and the Participant will be ineligible for award.

(3) The effective date of a bona fide place of business is the date that the evidence (paperwork) shows that the business in fact regularly maintained its business at the new geographic location.

(4) Except as provided in paragraph (k)(2)(iii) of this section, in order for a Participant to be eligible to submit an offer for an 8(a) procurement limited to a specific geographic area, it must receive from SBA a determination that it has a bona fide place of business within that area prior to submitting its offer for the procurement.

(5) Once a Participant has established a bona fide place of business, the Participant may change the location of the recognized office without prior SBA approval. However, the Participant must notify SBA and provide documentation demonstrating an office at that new location within 30 days after the move. Failure to timely notify SBA will render the Participant ineligible for new 8(a) construction procurements limited to that geographic area.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8259, Feb. 11, 2011; 78 FR 61132, Oct. 2, 2013; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66186, Oct. 16, 2020; 86 FR 2959, Jan. 14, 2021]

§ 124.502 How does an agency offer a procurement to SBA for award through the 8(a) BD program?

(a) A procuring activity contracting officer indicates his or her formal intent to award a procurement requirement as an 8(a) contract by submitting a written offering letter to SBA. The procuring activity may transmit the offering letter to SBA by electronic mail, if available, or by facsimile transmission, as well as by mail or commercial delivery service.

(b) Contracting officers must submit offering letters to the following locations:

(1) For competitive 8(a) requirements and those sole source requirements for which no specific Participant is nominated (i.e., open requirements) other than construction requirements, to the SBA district office serving the geographical area in which the procuring activity is located;

(2) For competitive and open construction requirements, to the SBA district office serving the geographical area in which the work is to be performed or, in the case of such contracts to be performed overseas, to the Office of 8(a) BD located in SBA Headquarters;

(3) For sole source requirements offered on behalf of a specific Participant, to the SBA district office servicing that concern.

(c) An offering letter must contain the following information:

(1) A description of the work to be performed;

(2) The estimated period of performance;

(3) The NAICS code that applies to the principal nature of the acquisition;

(4) The anticipated dollar value of the requirement, including options, if any;

(5) Any special restrictions or geographical limitations on the requirement;

(6) The location of the work to be performed for construction procurements;

(7) Any special capabilities or disciplines needed for contract performance;

(8) The type of contract to be awarded, such as firm fixed price, cost reimbursement, or time and materials;

(9) The acquisition history, if any, of the requirement, including specifically whether the requirement is a follow-on requirement, and whether any portion of the contract was previously performed by a small business outside of the 8(a) BD program;

(10) The names and addresses of any small business contractors which have performed on this requirement during the previous 24 months;

(11) A statement that prior to the offering no solicitation for the specific acquisition has been issued as a small business set-aside, or as a small disadvantaged business set-aside if applicable, and that no other public communication (such as a notice in the Commerce Business Daily) has been made showing the procuring activity's clear intent to use any of these means of procurement;

(12) Identification of any specific Participant that the procuring activity contracting officer nominates for award of a sole source 8(a) contract, if appropriate, including a brief justification for the nomination, such as one of the following:

(i) The Participant, through its own efforts, marketed the requirement and caused it to be reserved for the 8(a) BD program; or

(ii) The acquisition is a follow-on or renewal contract and the nominated concern is the incumbent;

(13) Bonding requirements, if applicable;

(14) Identification of all Participants which have expressed an interest in being considered for the acquisition;

(15) Identification of all SBA field offices which have requested that the requirement be awarded through the 8(a) BD program;

(16) A request, if appropriate, that a requirement whose estimated contract value is under the applicable competitive threshold be awarded as an 8(a) competitive contract;

(17) A statement that the necessary justification and approval under the Federal Acquisition Regulation has occurred where a requirement whose estimated contract value exceeds $22,000,000 is offered to SBA as a sole source requirement on behalf of a specific Participant; and

(18) Any other information that the procuring activity deems relevant or which SBA requests.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016]

§ 124.503 How does SBA accept a procurement for award through the 8(a) BD program?

(a) Acceptance of the requirement. Upon receipt of the procuring activity's offer of a procurement requirement, SBA will determine whether it will accept the requirement for the 8(a) BD program. SBA's decision whether to accept the requirement will be sent to the procuring activity in writing within 10 working days of receipt of the written offering letter if the contract is valued at more than the simplified acquisition threshold, and within two days of receipt of the offering letter if the contract is valued at or below the simplified acquisition threshold, unless SBA requests, and the procuring activity grants, an extension. SBA is not required to accept any particular procurement offered to the 8(a) BD program.

(1) Where SBA decides to accept an offering of a sole source 8(a) procurement, SBA will accept the offer both on behalf of the 8(a) BD program and in support of a specific Participant. As part of its acceptance of a sole source requirement, SBA will determine the eligibility of the Participant identified in the offering letter, using the same analysis set forth in § 124.501(g). Where a procuring agency offers a sole source 8(a) procurement on behalf of a joint venture, SBA will conduct an eligibility review of the lead 8(a) party to the joint venture as part of its acceptance, and will approve the joint venture prior to award pursuant to § 124.513(e).

(2) Where SBA decides to accept an offering of a competitive 8(a) procurement, SBA will accept the offer on behalf of the 8(a) BD program. For a competitive 8(a) procurement, SBA will determine the eligibility of the apparent successful offeror pursuant to § 124.507(b).

(3) Where SBA has delegated its contract execution functions to a procuring activity, the procuring activity may assume that SBA accepts its offer for the 8(a) program if the procuring activity does not receive a reply to its offer within five days.

(4) In the case of procurement requirements valued at or below the Simplified Acquisition Procedures threshold:

(i) Where a procuring activity makes an offer to the 8(a) program on behalf of a specific Program Participant and does not receive a reply to its offer within two days, the procuring activity may assume the offer is accepted and proceed with award of an 8(a) contract;

(ii) Where SBA has delegated its 8(a) contract execution functions to an agency, SBA may authorize the procuring activity to award an 8(a) contract without requiring an offer and acceptance of the requirement for the 8(a) program. In such a case, the procuring activity must notify SBA of all 8(a) awards made under this authority.

(5) Where SBA does not respond to an offering letter within the normal 10-day time period, the procuring activity may seek SBA's acceptance through the AA/BD. The procuring activity may assume that SBA accepts its offer for the 8(a) program if it does not receive a reply from the AA/BD within 5 days of his or her receipt of the procuring activity request.

(b) Verification of NAICS code. As part of the acceptance process, SBA will verify the appropriateness of the NAICS code designation assigned to the requirement by the procuring activity contracting officer.

(1) SBA will accept the NAICS code assigned to the requirement by the procuring activity contracting officer as long as it is reasonable, even though other NAICS codes may also be reasonable.

(2) If SBA and the procuring activity are unable to agree as to the proper NAICS code designation for the requirement, SBA may either refuse to accept the requirement for the 8(a) BD program, appeal the contracting officer's determination to the head of the agency pursuant to § 124.505, or appeal the NAICS code designation to OHA under part 134 of this title.

(c) Sole source award where procuring activity nominates a specific Participant. SBA will determine whether an appropriate match exists where the procuring activity identifies a particular Participant for a sole source award.

(1) Once SBA determines that a procurement is suitable to be accepted as an 8(a) sole source contract, SBA will normally accept it on behalf of the Participant recommended by the procuring activity, provided that:

(i) The procurement is consistent with the Participant's business plan;

(ii) The Participant complies with its applicable non-8(a) business activity target imposed by § 124.509(d);

(iii) The Participant is small for the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the requirement by the procuring activity contracting officer;

(iv) The Participant has submitted required financial statements to SBA; and

(v) The Participant can demonstrate that it, together with any similarly situated entity, will meet the limitations on subcontracting provisions set forth in § 124.510.

(2) If an appropriate match exists, SBA will advise the procuring activity whether SBA will participate in contract negotiations or whether SBA will authorize the procuring activity to negotiate directly with the identified Participant. Where SBA has delegated its contract execution functions to a procuring activity, SBA will also identify that delegation in its acceptance letter.

(3) If an appropriate match does not exist, SBA will notify the Participant and the procuring activity, and may then nominate an alternate Participant.

(d) Open requirements. When a procuring activity does not nominate a particular concern for performance of a sole source 8(a) contract (open requirement), the following additional procedures will apply:

(1) If the procurement is a construction requirement, SBA will examine the portfolio of Participants that have a bona fide place of business within the geographical boundaries served by the SBA district office where the work is to be performed to select a qualified Participant. If none is found to be qualified or a match for a concern in that district is determined to be impossible or inappropriate, SBA may nominate a Participant with a bona fide place of business within the geographical boundaries served by another district office within the same state, or may nominate a Participant having a bona fide place of business out of state but within a reasonable proximity to the work site. SBA's decision will ensure that the nominated Participant is close enough to the work site to keep costs of performance reasonable.

(2) If the procurement is not a construction requirement, SBA may select any eligible, responsible Participant nationally to perform the contract.

(3) In cases in which SBA selects a Participant for possible award from among two or more eligible and qualified Participants, the selection will be based upon relevant factors, including business development needs, compliance with competitive business mix requirements (if applicable), financial condition, management ability, technical capability, and whether award will promote the equitable distribution of 8(a) contracts.

(e) Withdrawal/substitution of offered requirement or Participant. After SBA has accepted a requirement for award as a sole source 8(a) contract on behalf of a specific Participant (whether nominated by the procuring agency or identified by SBA for an open requirement), if the procuring agency believes that the identified Participant is not a good match for the procurement - including for such reasons as the procuring agency finding the Participant non-responsible or the negotiations between the procuring agency and the Participant otherwise failing - the procuring agency may seek to substitute another Participant for the originally identified Participant. The procuring agency must inform SBA of its concerns regarding the originally identified Participant and identify whether it believes another Participant could fulfill its needs.

(1) If the procuring agency and SBA agree that another Participant can fulfill its needs, the procuring agency will withdraw the original offering and reoffer the requirement on behalf of another 8(a) Participant. SBA will then accept the requirement on behalf of the newly identified Participant and authorize the procuring agency to negotiate directly with that Participant.

(2) If the procuring agency and SBA agree that another Participant cannot fulfill its needs, the procuring agency will withdraw the original offering letter and fulfill its needs outside the 8(a) BD program.

(3) If the procuring agency believes that another Participant cannot fulfill its needs, but SBA does not agree, SBA may appeal that decision to the head of the procuring agency pursuant to § 124.505(a)(2).

(f) Formal technical evaluations. Except for requirements for architectural and engineering services, SBA will not authorize formal technical evaluations for sole source 8(a) requirements. A procuring activity:

(1) Must request that a procurement be a competitive 8(a) award if it requires formal technical evaluations of more than one Participant for a requirement below the applicable competitive threshold amount; and

(2) May conduct informal assessments of several Participants' capabilities to perform a specific requirement, so long as the statement of work for the requirement is not released to any of the Participants being assessed.

(g) Repetitive acquisitions. A procuring activity contracting officer must submit a new offering letter to SBA where he or she intends to award a follow-on or repetitive contract as an 8(a) award.

(1) This enables SBA to determine:

(i) Whether the requirement should be a competitive 8(a) award;

(ii) A nominated firm's eligibility, whether or not it is the same firm that performed the previous contract;

(iii) The affect that contract award would have on the equitable distribution of 8(a) contracts; and

(iv) Whether the requirement should continue under the 8(a) BD program.

(2) Where a procuring agency seeks to reprocure a follow-on requirement through an 8(a) contracting vehicle which is not available to all 8(a) BD Program Participants (e.g., a multiple award or Governmentwide acquisition contract that is itself an 8(a) contract), and the previous/current 8(a) award was not so limited, SBA will consider the business development purposes of the program in determining how to accept the requirement.

(h) Basic Ordering Agreements (BOAs) and Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs). Neither a Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) nor a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) is a contract under the FAR. See 48 CFR 13.303 and 48 CFR 16.703(a). Each order to be issued under a BOA or BPA is an individual contract. As such, the procuring activity must offer, and SBA must accept, each order under a BOA or BPA in addition to offering and accepting the BOA or BPA itself.

(1) SBA will not accept for award on a sole source basis any task order under a BOA or BPA that would cause the total dollar amount of task orders issued to exceed the applicable competitive threshold amount set forth in § 124.506(a).

(2) Where a procuring activity believes that task orders to be issued under a proposed BOA or BPA will exceed the applicable competitive threshold amount set forth in § 124.506(a), the procuring activity must offer the requirement to the program to be competed among eligible Participants.

(3) Once a concern's program term expires, the concern otherwise exits the 8(a) BD program, or becomes other than small for the NAICS code assigned under the BOA or BPA, new orders will not be accepted for the concern.

(4) A procuring agency may offer, and SBA may accept, an order issued under a BOA or BPA to be awarded through the 8(a) BD program where the BOA or BPA itself was not accepted for the 8(a) BD program, but rather was awarded on an unrestricted basis.

(i) Task or Delivery Order Contracts, including Multiple Award Contracts -

(1) Contracts set-aside for exclusive competition among 8(a) Participants.

(i) A task or delivery order contract, Multiple Award Contract, or order issued against a Multiple Award Contract that is set-aside exclusively for 8(a) Program Participants, partially set-aside for 8(a) Program Participants or reserved solely for 8(a) Program Participants must follow the established 8(a) competitive procedures. This includes an offering to and acceptance into the 8(a) program, SBA eligibility verification of the apparent successful offerors prior to contract award, compliance with the performance of work requirements set forth in § 124.510, and compliance with the nonmanufacturer rule (see § 121.406(b)), if applicable.

(ii) An agency is not required to offer or receive acceptance of individual orders into the 8(a) BD program if the task or delivery order contract or Multiple Award Contract was set-aside exclusively for 8(a) Program Participants, partially set-aside for 8(a) Program Participants or reserved solely for 8(a) Program Participants, and the individual order is to be competed among all 8(a) contract holders.

(iii) A concern awarded a task or delivery order contract or Multiple Award Contract that was set-aside exclusively for 8(a) Program Participants, partially set-aside for 8(a) Program Participants or reserved solely for 8(a) Program Participants may generally continue to receive new orders even if it has grown to be other than small or has exited the 8(a) BD program, and agencies may continue to take SDB credit toward their prime contracting goals for orders awarded to 8(a) Participants. A procuring agency may seek to award an order only to a concern that is a current Participant in the 8(a) program at the time of the order. In such a case, the procuring agency will announce its intent to limit the award of the order to current 8(a) Participants and verify a contract holder's 8(a) BD status prior to issuing the order. Where a procuring agency seeks to award an order to a concern that is a current 8(a) Participant, a concern must be an eligible Participant in accordance with § 124.501(g) as of the initial date specified for the receipt of offers contained in the order solicitation, or at the date of award of the order if there is no solicitation.

(iv) An agency may issue a sole source award against a Multiple Award Contract that has been set-aside exclusively for 8(a) Program Participants, partially set-aside for 8(a) Program Participants or reserved solely for 8(a) Program Participants if the required dollar thresholds for sole source awards are met. Where an agency seeks to award an order on a sole source basis (i.e., to one particular 8(a) contract holder without competition among all 8(a) contract holders), the agency must offer and SBA must accept the order into the 8(a) program on behalf of the identified 8(a) contract holder. To be eligible for the award of a sole source order, a concern must be a current Participant in the 8(a) BD program at the time of award.

(2) Allowing orders issued to 8(a) Participants under Multiple Award Contracts that were not set-aside for exclusive competition among eligible 8(a) Participants to be considered 8(a) awards. In order for an order issued to an 8(a) Participant and placed against a Multiple Award Contract to be considered an 8(a) award, where the Multiple Award contract was not initially set-aside, partially set-aside or reserved for exclusive competition among 8(a) Participants, the following conditions must be met:

(i) The order must be offered to and accepted into the 8(a) BD program;

(ii) The order must be competed exclusively among only the 8(a) awardees of the underlying multiple award contract;

(iii) The order must require the concern comply with applicable limitations on subcontracting provisions (see § 125.6) and the nonmanufacturer rule, if applicable, (see § 121.406(b)) in the performance of the individual order; and

(iv) SBA must verify that a concern is an eligible 8(a) Participant in accordance with § 124.501(g) as of the initial date specified for the receipt of offers contained in the order solicitation, or at the date of award of the order if there is no solicitation. If a concern has exited the 8(a) BD program prior to that date, it will be ineligible for the award of the order.

(3) Reserves. A procuring activity must offer and SBA must accept a requirement that is reserved for 8(a) Participants (i.e., an acquisition where the contracting officer states an intention to make one or more awards to only 8(a) Participants under full and open competition). However, a contracting officer does not have to offer the requirement to SBA where the acquisition has been reserved for small businesses, even if the contracting officer states an intention to make one or more awards to several types of small business including 8(a) Participants since any such award to 8(a) Participants would not be considered an 8(a) contract award.

(j) Requirements where SBA has delegated contract execution authority. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(4)(i) of this section, where SBA has delegated its 8(a) contract execution authority to the procuring activity, the procuring activity must still offer and SBA must still accept all requirements intended to be awarded as 8(a) contracts.

(k) Contracting Among Small Business Programs -

(1) Acquisitions Valued At or Below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold. The contracting officer shall set aside any acquisition with an anticipated dollar value exceeding the Micro-purchase Threshold but not exceeding the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (defined in the FAR at 48 CFR 2.101) for small business concerns when there is a reasonable expectation that offers will be obtained from at least two small business concerns that are competitive in terms of quality and delivery and award will be made at fair market prices. This requirement does not preclude a contracting officer from making an award to a small business under the 8(a) BD, HUBZone, SDVO SBC or WOSB Programs.

(2) Acquisitions Valued Above the Simplified Acquisition Threshold.

(i) The contracting officer shall set aside any acquisition with an anticipated dollar value exceeding the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (defined in the FAR at 48 CFR 2.101) for small business concerns when there is a reasonable expectation that offers will be obtained from at least two small business concerns that are competitive in terms of quality and delivery and award will be made at fair market prices. However, after conducting market research, the contracting officer shall first consider a set-aside or sole source award (if the sole source award is permitted by statute or regulation) under the 8(a) BD, HUBZone, SDVO SBC or WOSB programs before setting aside the requirement as a small business set-aside. There is no order of precedence among the 8(a) BD, HUBZone, SDVO SBC or WOSB programs. The contracting officer must document the contract file with the rationale used to support the specific set-aside, including the type and extent of market research conducted. In addition, the contracting officer must document the contract file showing that the apparent successful offeror's System for Award Management (SAM) (or any successor system) certifications and associated representations were reviewed.

(ii) SBA believes that Progress in fulfilling the various small business goals, as well as other factors such as the results of market research, programmatic needs specific to the procuring agency, anticipated award price, and the acquisition history, will be considered in making a decision as to which program to use for the acquisition.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 70 FR 51248, Aug. 30, 2005; 71 FR 66444, Nov. 15, 2006; 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 75 FR 62280, Oct. 7, 2010; 76 FR 8259, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 1860, Jan. 12, 2012; 78 FR 61133, Oct. 2, 2013; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016; 84 FR 65661, Nov. 29, 2019; 85 FR 66187, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.504 What circumstances limit SBA's ability to accept a procurement for award as an 8(a) contract, and when can a requirement be released from the 8(a) BD program?

SBA will not accept a procurement for award as an 8(a) contract if the circumstances identified in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section exist.

(a) Prior intent to award as a small business set-aside, or use the HUBZone, Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, or Women-Owned Small Business programs. The procuring activity issued a solicitation for or otherwise expressed publicly a clear intent to award the contract as a small business set-aside, or to use the HUBZone, Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, or Women-Owned Small Business programs prior to offering the requirement to SBA for award as an 8(a) contract. However, the AA/BD may permit the acceptance of the requirement under extraordinary circumstances.

(b) Competition prior to offer and acceptance. The procuring activity competed a requirement among 8(a) Participants prior to offering the requirement to SBA and did not clearly evidence its intent to conduct an 8(a) competitive acquisition.

(c) Adverse impact. SBA has made a written determination that acceptance of the procurement for 8(a) award would have an adverse impact on an individual small business, a group of small businesses located in a specific geographical location, or other small business programs. The adverse impact concept is designed to protect small business concerns which are performing Government contracts awarded outside the 8(a) BD program, and does not apply to follow-on or renewal 8(a) acquisitions. SBA will not consider adverse impact with respect to any requirement offered to the 8(a) program under the simplified acquisition threshold (as defined in the FAR at 48 CFR 2.101).

(1) In determining whether the acceptance of a requirement would have an adverse impact on an individual small business, SBA will consider all relevant factors.

(i) In connection with a specific small business, SBA presumes adverse impact to exist where:

(A) The small business concern has performed the specific requirement for at least 24 months;

(B) The small business is performing the requirement at the time it is offered to the 8(a) BD program, or its performance of the requirement ended within 30 days of the procuring activity's offer of the requirement to the 8(a) BD program; and

(C) The dollar value of the requirement that the small business is or was performing is 25 percent or more of its most recent annual gross sales (including those of its affiliates). For a multi-year requirement, the dollar value of the last 12 months of the requirement will be used to determine whether a small business would be adversely affected by SBA's acceptance.

(ii) Except as provided in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, adverse impact does not apply to “new” requirements. A new requirement is one which has not been previously procured by the relevant procuring activity.

(A) Where a requirement is new, no small business could have previously performed the requirement and, thus, SBA's acceptance of the requirement for the 8(a) BD program will not adversely impact any small business.

(B) Procurements for construction services (e.g., the building of a specific structure) are generally deemed to be new requirements. However, recurring indefinite delivery or indefinite quantity task or delivery order construction services are not considered new (e.g., a recurring procurement requiring all construction work at base X).

(C) The expansion or modification of an existing requirement may be considered a new requirement where the magnitude of change is significant enough to cause a price adjustment of at least 25 percent (adjusted for inflation) or to require significant additional or different types of capabilities or work.

(D) SBA need not perform an impact determination where a new requirement is offered to the 8(a) BD program.

(2) In determining whether the acceptance of a requirement would have an adverse impact on a group of small businesses, SBA will consider the effects of combining or consolidating various requirements being performed by two or more small business concerns into a single contract which would be considered a “new” requirement as compared to any of the previous smaller requirements. SBA may find adverse impact to exist if one of the existing small business contractors meets the presumption set forth in paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section.

(3) In determining whether the acceptance of a requirement would have an adverse impact on other small business programs, SBA will consider all relevant factors, including but not limited to, the number and value of contracts in the subject industry in the 8(a) BD program as compared with other small business programs.

(4) SBA does not typically consider the value of a bridge contract when determining whether an offered procurement is a new requirement. A bridge contract is meant to be a temporary stop-gap measure intended to ensure the continuation of service while an agency finalizes a long-term procurement approach.

(d) Release for non-8(a) or limited 8(a) competition.

(1) Except as set forth in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, where a procurement is awarded as an 8(a) contract, its follow-on requirement must remain in the 8(a) BD program unless SBA agrees to release it for non-8(a) competition. Where a procurement will contain work currently performed under one or more 8(a) contracts, and the procuring agency determines that the procurement should not be considered a follow-on requirement to the 8(a) contract(s), the procuring agency must notify SBA that it intends to procure such specified work outside the 8(a) BD program through a requirement that it considers to be new. Additionally, a procuring agency must notify SBA where it seeks to reprocure a follow-on requirement through a pre-existing limited contracting vehicle which is not available to all 8(a) BD Program Participants and the previous/current 8(a) award was not so limited. If a procuring agency would like to fulfill a follow-on requirement outside of the 8(a) BD program, it must make a written request to and receive the concurrence of the AA/BD to do so. In determining whether to release a requirement from the 8(a) BD program, SBA will consider:

(i) Whether the agency has achieved its SDB goal;

(ii) Where the agency is in achieving its HUBZone, SDVO, WOSB, or small business goal, as appropriate; and

(iii) Whether the requirement is critical to the business development of the 8(a) Participant that is currently performing it.

(2) SBA may decline to accept the offer of a follow-on or renewable 8(a) acquisition in order to give a concern previously awarded the contract that is leaving or has left the 8(a) BD program the opportunity to compete for the requirement outside of the 8(a) BD program.

(i) SBA will consider release under paragraph (2) only where:

(A) The procurement awarded through the 8(a) BD program is being or was performed by either a Participant whose program term will expire prior to contract completion, or by a former Participant whose program term expired within one year of the date of the offering letter;

(B) The concern requests in writing that SBA decline to accept the offer prior to SBA's acceptance of the requirement for award as an 8(a) contract; and

(C) The concern qualifies as a small business for the requirement now offered to the 8(a) BD program.

(ii) In considering release under paragraph (2), SBA will balance the importance of the requirement to the concern's business development needs against the business development needs of other Participants that are qualified to perform the requirement. This determination will include consideration of whether rejection of the requirement would seriously reduce the pool of similar types of contracts available for award as 8(a) contracts. SBA will also seek the views of the procuring agency.

(3) SBA will release a requirement under this paragraph only where the procuring activity agrees to procure the requirement as a small business, HUBZone, SDVO small business, or WOSB set-aside.

(4) The requirement that a follow-on procurement must be released from the 8(a) BD program in order for it to be fulfilled outside the 8(a) BD program does not apply:

(i) Where previous orders were offered to and accepted for the 8(a) BD program pursuant to § 124.503(i)(2); or

(ii) Where a procuring agency will use a mandatory source (see FAR Subparts 8.6 and 8.7(48 CFR subparts 8.6 and 8.7)). In such a case, the procuring agency should notify SBA at least 30 days prior to the end of the contract or order.

[63 FR 35739, 35772, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8259, Feb. 11, 2011; 78 FR 61133, Oct. 2, 2013; 81 FR 34260, May 31, 2016; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66188, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.505 When will SBA appeal the terms or conditions of a particular 8(a) contract or a procuring activity decision not to use the 8(a) BD program?

(a) What SBA may appeal. The Administrator of SBA may appeal the following matters to the head of the procuring agency:

(1) A contracting officer's decision not to make a particular procurement available for award as an 8(a) contract;

(2) A contracting officer's decision to reject a specific Participant for award of an 8(a) contract after SBA's acceptance of the requirement for the 8(a) BD program;

(3) A decision by a contracting officer that a particular procurement is a new requirement that is not subject to the release requirements set forth in § 124.504(d); and

(4) The terms and conditions of a proposed 8(a) contract, including the procuring activity's NAICS code designation and estimate of the fair market price.

(b) Procedures for appeal.

(1) SBA must notify the contracting officer of the SBA Administrator's intent to appeal an adverse decision within 5 working days of SBA's receipt of the decision.

(2) Upon receipt of the notice of intent to appeal, the procuring activity must suspend further action regarding the procurement until the head of the procuring agency issues a written decision on the appeal, unless the head of the procuring agency makes a written determination that urgent and compelling circumstances which significantly affect interests of the United States will not permit waiting for a consideration of the appeal.

(3) The SBA Administrator must send a written appeal of the adverse decision to the head of the procuring agency within 15 working days of SBA's notification of intent to appeal or the appeal may be considered withdrawn.

(4) By statute (15 U.S.C. 637(a)(1)(A)), the procuring agency head must specify in writing the reasons for a denial of an appeal brought by the Administrator under this section.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 85 FR 66189, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.506 At what dollar threshold must an 8(a) procurement be competed among eligible Participants?

(a) Competitive thresholds.

(1) The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) has the responsibility of adjusting each acquisition-related dollar threshold on October 1, of each year that is evenly divisible by five. Acquisition-related dollar thresholds are defined as dollar thresholds that are specified in law as a factor in defining the scope of the applicability of a policy, procedure, requirement, or restriction provided in that law to the procurement of property or services by an executive agency as determined by the FAR Council. 41 U.S.C. 431a(c). Part 124, Subpart A, 8(a) Business Development, contains acquisition-related dollar thresholds subject to inflationary adjustments. The FAR Council shall publish a notice of the adjusted dollar thresholds in the Federal Register. The adjusted dollar thresholds shall take effect on the date of publication.

(2) A procurement offered and accepted for the 8(a) BD program must be competed among eligible Participants if:

(i) There is a reasonable expectation that at least two eligible Participants will submit offers at a fair market price;

(ii) The anticipated award price of the contract, including options, will exceed $7,000,000 for contracts assigned manufacturing NAICS codes and $4,000,000 for all other contracts; and

(iii) The requirement has not been accepted by SBA for award as a sole source 8(a) procurement on behalf of a tribally-owned or ANC-owned concern.

(3) For all types of contracts, the applicable competitive threshold amounts will be applied to the procuring activity estimate of the total value of the contract, including all options.

Example to paragraph (a)(3).

If the anticipated award price for a professional services requirement is determined to be $3.8 million and it is accepted as a sole source 8(a) requirement on that basis, a sole source award will be valid even if the contract price arrived at after negotiation is $4.2 million.

(4) Where the estimate of the total value of a proposed 8(a) contract is less than the applicable competitive threshold amount and the requirement is accepted as a sole source requirement on that basis, award may be made even though the contract price arrived at through negotiations exceeds the competitive threshold, provided that the contract price is not more than ten percent greater than the competitive threshold amount.

(5) A proposed 8(a) requirement with an estimated value exceeding the applicable competitive threshold amount may not be divided into several separate procurement actions for lesser amounts in order to use 8(a) sole source procedures to award to a single contractor.

(b) Exemption from competitive thresholds for Participants owned by Indian Tribes, ANCs and NHOs.

(1) A Participant concern owned and controlled by an Indian Tribe or an ANC may be awarded a sole source 8(a) contract where the anticipated value of the procurement exceeds the applicable competitive threshold if SBA has not accepted the requirement into the 8(a) BD program as a competitive procurement.

(2) A Participant concern owned and controlled by an NHO may be awarded a sole source Department of Defense (DoD) 8(a) contract where the anticipated value of the procurement exceeds the applicable competitive threshold if SBA has not accepted the requirement into the 8(a) BD program as a competitive procurement.

(3) There is no requirement that a procurement must be competed whenever possible before it can be accepted on a sole source basis for a Tribally-owned or ANC-owned concern, or a concern owned by an NHO for DoD contracts, but a procurement may not be removed from competition to award it to a Tribally-owned, ANC-owned or NHO-owned concern on a sole source basis.

(4) A joint venture between one or more eligible Tribally-owned, ANC-owned or NHO-owned Participants and one or more non-8(a) business concerns may be awarded sole source 8(a) contracts above the competitive threshold amount, provided that it meets the requirements of § 124.513.

(5) An agency may not award an 8(a) sole source contract for an amount exceeding $22,000,000 unless the contracting officer justifies the use of a sole source contract in writing and has obtained the necessary approval under the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

(c) Competition below thresholds. The AA/BD, on a nondelegable basis, may approve a request from a procuring activity to compete a requirement that is below the applicable competitive threshold amount among eligible Participants.

(1) This authority will be used primarily when technical competitions are appropriate or when a large number of potential awardees exist.

(2) The AA/BD may consider whether the procuring activity has made and will continue to make available a significant number of its contracts to the 8(a) BD program on a noncompetitive basis.

(3) The AA/BD may deny a request if the procuring activity previously offered the requirement to the 8(a) BD program on a noncompetitive basis and the request is made following the inability of the procuring activity and the potential sole source awardee to reach an agreement on price or some other material term or condition.

(d) Sole source above thresholds. Where a contract opportunity exceeds the applicable threshold amount and there is not a reasonable expectation that at least two eligible 8(a) Participants will submit offers at a fair price, the AA/BD may accept the requirement for a sole source 8(a) award if he or she determines that an eligible Participant in the 8(a) portfolio is capable of performing the requirement at a fair price.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45753, Sept. 4, 2009; 74 FR 46887, Sept. 14, 2009; 76 FR 8260, Feb. 11, 2011; 78 FR 61133, Oct. 2, 2013; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016]

§ 124.507 What procedures apply to competitive 8(a) procurements?

(a) FAR procedures. Procuring activities will conduct competitions among and evaluate offers received from Participants in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (48 CFR, chapter 1).

(b) Eligibility determination by SBA. In either a negotiated or sealed bid competitive 8(a) acquisition, the procuring activity will request that the SBA district office servicing the apparent successful offeror determine that firm's eligibility for award.

(1) Within 5 working days after receipt of a procuring activity's request for an eligibility determination, SBA will determine whether the firm identified by the procuring activity is eligible for award.

(2) SBA determines a Participant's eligibility pursuant to § 124.501(g).

(3) If SBA determines that the apparent successful offeror is ineligible, SBA will notify the procuring activity. The procuring activity will then send to SBA the identity of the next highest evaluated firm for an eligibility determination. The process is repeated until SBA determines that an identified offeror is eligible for award.

(4) Except to the extent set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, SBA determines whether a Participant is eligible for a specific 8(a) competitive requirement as of the date that the Participant submitted its initial offer which includes price.

(5) If the procuring activity contracting officer believes that the apparent successful offeror is not responsible to perform the contract, he or she must refer the concern to SBA for a possible Certificate of Competency in accord with § 125.5 of this title.

(c) Restricted competition -

(1) Construction competitions. Based on its knowledge of the 8(a) BD portfolio, SBA will determine whether a competitive 8(a) construction requirement should be competed among only those Participants having a bona fide place of business within the geographical boundaries of one or more SBA district offices, within a state, or within the state and nearby areas. Only those Participants with bona fide places of business within the appropriate geographical boundaries are eligible to submit offers.

(2) Competition for all non-construction requirements. Except for construction requirements, all eligible Participants regardless of location may submit offers in response to competitive 8(a) solicitations. The only geographic restrictions pertaining to 8(a) competitive requirements, other than those for construction requirements, are any imposed by the solicitations themselves.

(d) Award to firms whose program terms have expired. A concern that has completed its term of participation in the 8(a) BD program may be awarded a competitive 8(a) contract if it was a Participant eligible for award of the contract on the initial date specified for receipt of offers contained in the contract solicitation, and if it continues to meet all other applicable eligibility criteria.

(1) Amendments to the solicitation extending the date for submissions of offers will be disregarded.

Example to paragraph (d)(1).

The program term for 8(a) Participant X is scheduled to expire on December 19. A solicitation for a competitive 8(a) procurement specifies that initial offers are due on December 15. The procuring activity amends the solicitation to extend the date for the receipt of offers to January 5. X submits its offer on January 5 and is selected as the apparent successful offeror. X is eligible for award because it was an eligible 8(a) Participant on the initial date set forth in the solicitation for the receipt of offers.

(2) For a negotiated procurement, a Participant may submit revised offers, including a best and final offer, and be awarded a competitive 8(a) contract if it was eligible as of the initial date specified for the receipt of offers in the solicitation, even though its program term may expire after that date.

(3) For a two-step design-build procurement to be awarded through the 8(a) BD program, a firm must be a current Participant eligible for award of the contract on the initial date specified for receipt of phase one offers contained in the contract solicitation.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8260, Feb. 11, 2011; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016; 84 FR 65661, Nov. 29, 2019; 85 FR 66189, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.508 How is an 8(a) contract executed?

(a) An 8(a) contract can be awarded in the following ways:

(1) As a tripartite agreement in which the procuring activity, SBA and the Participant all sign the appropriate contract documents. There may be separate prime and subcontract documents (i.e., a prime contract between the procuring activity and SBA and a subcontract between SBA and the selected 8(a) concern) or a combined contract document representing both the prime and subcontract relationships; or

(2) Where SBA has delegated contract execution authority to the procuring activity, directly by the procuring activity through a contract between the procuring activity and the Participant.

(b) Where SBA receives a contract for signature valued at or below the simplified acquisition threshold, it will sign the contract and return it to the procuring activity within three (3) days of receipt.

(c) In order to be eligible to receive a sole source 8(a) contract, a firm must be a current Participant on the date of award. (See § 124.507(d) for competitive 8(a) awards.)

§ 124.509 What are non-8(a) business activity targets?

(a) General.

(1) To ensure that Participants do not develop an unreasonable reliance on 8(a) awards, and to ease their transition into the competitive marketplace after graduating from the 8(a) BD program, Participants must make good faith efforts to obtain business outside the 8(a) BD program. Work performed by an 8(a) Participant for any Federal department or agency other than through an 8(a) contract, including work performed on orders under the General Services Administration Multiple Award Schedule program, and work performed as a subcontractor, including work performed as a subcontractor to another 8(a) Participant on an 8(a) contract, qualifies as work performed outside the 8(a) BD program.

(2) During both the developmental and transitional stages of the 8(a) BD program, a Participant must make good faith efforts, including following a reasonable marketing strategy, to attain the targeted dollar levels of non-8(a) revenue established in its business plan. It must attempt to use the 8(a) BD program as a resource to strengthen the firm for economic viability when program benefits are no longer available.

(b) Required non-8(a) business activity targets during transitional stage -

(1) General. During the transitional stage of the 8(a) BD program, a Participant must achieve certain targets of non-8(a) contract revenue (i.e., revenue from other than sole source or competitive 8(a) contracts). These targets are called non-8(a) business activity targets and are expressed as a percentage of total revenue. The targets call for an increase in non-8(a) revenue over time.

(2) Non-8(a) business activity targets. -

(i) During their transitional stage of program participation, Participants must meet the following non-8(a) business activity targets each year:

Table 1 to Paragraph (b)(2)(i)

Participant's year in the transitional stage Non-8(a) business activity targets
(required minimum
non-8(a) revenue
as a percentage of
total revenue)
1 15
2 25
3 30
4 40
5 50

(ii) Any Participant that extended its program term pursuant to § 124.2(b) of this chapter must meet the business activity target for year 5 or meet the applicable requirements of paragraph (d) or (e) of this section in order to preserve its eligibility for sole source 8(a) contracts during the extended program period. The applicable business activity target for the extended program period will be the same as that for year 5 of the transitional stage (i.e., 50% non-8(a) revenue).

(3) Compliance with non-8(a) business activity targets. SBA will measure the Participant's compliance with the applicable non-8(a) business activity target at the end of each program year in the transitional stage by comparing the Participant's non-8(a) revenue to its total revenue during the program year just completed. Thus, at the end of the first year in the transitional stage of program participation, SBA will compare the Participant's non-8(a) revenue to its total revenue during that first year. If appropriate, SBA will require remedial measures during the subsequent program year. Thus, for example, non-compliance with the required non-8(a) business activity target in year one of the transitional stage would cause SBA to initiate remedial measures under paragraph (d) of this section for year two in the transitional stage.

(4) Certification of compliance. A Participant must certify as part of its offer that it complies with the applicable non-8(a) business activity target or with the measures imposed by SBA under paragraph (d) of this section before it can receive any 8(a) contract during the transitional stage of the 8(a) BD program.

(c) Reporting and verification of business activity.

(1) Once admitted to the 8(a) BD program, a Participant must provide to SBA as part of its annual review:

(i) Annual financial statements with a breakdown of 8(a) and non-8(a) revenue in accord with § 124.602; and

(ii) An annual report within 30 days from the end of the program year of all non-8(a) contracts, options, and modifications affecting price executed during the program year.

(2) At the end of each year of participation in the transitional stage, the BOS assigned to work with the Participant will review the Participant's total revenues to determine whether the non-8(a) revenues have met the applicable target. In determining compliance, SBA will compare all 8(a) revenues received during the year, including those from options and modifications, to all non-8(a) revenues received during the year.

(d) Consequences of not meeting competitive business mix targets.

(1) Beginning at the end of the first year in the transitional stage (the fifth year of participation in the 8(a) BD program), any firm that does not meet its applicable competitive business mix target for the just completed program year must demonstrate to SBA the specific efforts it made during that year to obtain non-8(a) revenue.

(2) If SBA determines that an 8(a) Participant has failed to meet its applicable competitive business mix target during any program year in the transitional stage of program participation, SBA will increase its monitoring of the Participant's contracting activity during the ensuing program year.

(3) As a condition of eligibility for new 8(a) sole source contracts, SBA may require a Participant that fails to achieve the non-8(a) business activity targets to take one or more specific actions. These include requiring the Participant to obtain management assistance, technical assistance, and/or counseling from an SBA resource partner or otherwise, and/or attend seminars relating to management assistance, business development, financing, marketing, accounting, or proposal preparation. Where any such condition is imposed, SBA will not accept a sole source requirement offered to the 8(a) BD program on behalf of the Participant until the Participant demonstrates to SBA that the condition has been met.

(4) If SBA determines that a Participant has not made good faith efforts to meet its applicable non-8(a) business activity target, the Participant will be ineligible for sole source 8(a) contracts in the current program year. SBA will notify the Participant in writing that the Participant will not be eligible for further 8(a) sole source contract awards until it has demonstrated to SBA that it has complied with its non-8(a) business activity requirements as described in paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section. In order for a Participant to come into compliance with the non-8(a) business activity target and be eligible for further 8(a) sole source contracts, it may:

(i) Wait until the end of the current program year and demonstrate to SBA as part of the normal annual review process that it has met the revised non-8(a) business activity target; or

(ii) At its option, submit information regarding its non-8(a) revenue to SBA quarterly throughout the current program year in an attempt to come into compliance before the end of the current program year. If the Participant satisfies the requirements of paragraphs (d)(2)(ii)(A) or (B) of this section, SBA will reinstate the Participant's ability to get sole source 8(a) contracts prior to its annual review.

(A) To qualify for reinstatement during the first six months of the current program year (i.e., at either the first or second quarterly review), the Participant must demonstrate that it has received non-8(a) revenue and new non-8(a) contract awards that are equal to or greater than the dollar amount by which it failed to meet its non-8(a) business activity target for the just completed program year. For this purpose, SBA will not count options on existing non-8(a) contracts in determining whether a Participant has received new non-8(a) contract awards.

(B) To qualify for reinstatement during the last six months of the current program year (i.e., at either the nine-month or one year review), the Participant must demonstrate that it has achieved its non-8(a) business activity target as of that point in the current program year.

Example 1 to paragraph (d)(4).

Firm A had $10 million in total revenue during year 2 in the transitional stage (year 6 in the program), but failed to meet the minimum non-8(a) business activity target of 25 percent. It had 8(a) revenues of $8.5 million and non-8(a) revenues of $1.5 million (15 percent). Based on total revenues of $10 million, Firm A should have had at least $2.5 million in non-8(a) revenues. Thus, Firm A missed its target by $1 million (its target ($2.5 million) minus its actual non-8(a) revenues ($1.5 million)). Because Firm A did not achieve its non-8(a) business activity target and SBA determined that it did not make good faith efforts to obtain non-8(a) revenue, it cannot receive 8(a) sole source awards until correcting that situation. The firm may wait until the next annual review to establish that it has met the revised target, or it can choose to report contract awards and other non-8(a) revenue to SBA quarterly. Firm A elects to submit information to SBA quarterly in year 3 of the transitional stage (year 7 in the program). In order to be eligible for sole source 8(a) contracts after either its 3 month or 6 month review, Firm A must show that it has received non-8(a) revenue and/or been awarded new non-8(a) contracts totaling $1 million (the amount by which it missed its target in year 2 of the transitional stage).

Example 2 to paragraph (d)(4).

Firm B had $10 million in total revenue during year 2 in the transitional stage (year 6 in the program), of which $8.5 million were 8(a) revenues and $1.5 million were non-8(a) revenues, and SBA determined that Firm B did not make good faith efforts to meet its non-8(a) business activity target. At its first two quarterly reviews during year 3 of the transitional stage (year 7 in the program), Firm B could not demonstrate that it had received at least $1 million in non-8(a) revenue and new non-8(a) awards. In order to be eligible for sole source 8(a) contracts after its 9 month or 1 year review, Firm B must show that at least 35% (the non-8(a) business activity target for year 3 in the transitional stage) of all revenues received during year 3 in the transitional stage as of that point are from non-8(a) sources.

Example 3 to paragraph (d)(4).

Firm C elected to extend its participation in the 8(a) BD program as set forth in § 124.2 of this chapter. Firm C had $10 million in total revenue during year 5 in the transitional stage (year 9 in the program), of which $8.5 million were 8(a) revenues and $1.5 million were non-8(a) revenues, and SBA determined that Firm C did not make good faith efforts to meet its non-8(a) business activity target. In order to be eligible for sole source 8(a) contracts during year 6 of the transitional stage (year 10 in the program), Firm C must demonstrate at its first or second quarterly review that it had received at least $3.5 million in non-8(a) revenue and new non-8(a) awards (the amount by which it failed to meet the 50% non-8(a) business activity target for year 5 in the transitional stage). If, at its first two quarterly reviews during year 6 of the transitional stage (year 10 in the program), Firm C could not demonstrate that it had received at least $3.5 million in non-8(a) revenue and new non-8(a) awards, Firm C would not be eligible for sole source 8(a) contracts for the remainder of its program term.

(5) In determining whether a Participant has achieved its required non-8(a) business activity target at the end of any program year in the transitional stage, or whether a Participant that failed to meet the target for the previous program year has achieved the required level of non-8(a) business at its nine-month review, SBA will measure 8(a) support by adding the base year value of all 8(a) contracts awarded during the applicable program year to the value of all options and modifications executed during that year.

(6) SBA may initiate proceedings to terminate a Participant from the 8(a) BD program where the firm makes no good faith efforts to obtain non-8(a) revenues.

(e) Waiver of sole source prohibition.

(1) Despite a finding by SBA that a Participant did not make good faith efforts to meet its non-8(a) business activity target, SBA may waive the requirement prohibiting a Participant from receiving further sole source 8(a) contracts where a denial of a sole source contract would cause severe economic hardship on the Participant so that the Participant's survival may be jeopardized, or where extenuating circumstances beyond the Participant's control caused the Participant not to meet its non-8(a) business activity target.

(2) SBA may waive the requirement prohibiting a Participant from receiving further sole source 8(a) contracts when the Participant does not meet its non-8(a) business activity target where the head of a procuring activity represents to SBA that award of a sole source 8(a) contract to the Participant is needed to achieve significant interests of the Government.

(3) The decision to grant or deny a request for a waiver is at SBA's discretion, and no appeal may be taken with respect to that decision.

(4) A waiver generally applies to a specific sole source opportunity. If SBA grants a waiver with respect to a specific procurement, the firm will be able to self-market its capabilities to the applicable procuring activity with respect to that procurement. If the Participant seeks an additional sole source opportunity, it must request a waiver with respect to that specific opportunity. Where, however, a Participant can demonstrate that the same extenuating circumstances beyond its control affect its ability to receive specific multiple 8(a) contracts, one waiver can apply to those multiple contract opportunities.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45754, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 8261, Feb. 11, 2011; 85 FR 66189, Oct. 16, 2020; 86 FR 2533, Jan. 13, 2021; 86 FR 38538, July 22, 2021]

§ 124.510 What limitations on subcontracting apply to an 8(a) contract?

(a) To assist the business development of Participants in the 8(a) BD program, there are limitations on the percentage of an 8(a) contract award amount that may be spent on subcontractors. The prime contractor recipient of an 8(a) contract must comply with the limitations on subcontracting at § 125.6 of this chapter.

(b) Indefinite delivery and indefinite quantity contracts. In order to ensure that the required limitations on subcontracting requirements on an indefinite delivery or indefinite quantity 8(a) award are met by the Participant, the Participant cannot subcontract more than the required percentage to subcontractors that are not similarly situated entities for each performance period of the contract (i.e., during the base term and then during each option period thereafter). However, the contracting officer, in his or her discretion, may require the Participant to meet the applicable limitation on subcontracting or comply with the nonmanufacturer rule for each order.

(1) This includes Multiple Award Contracts that were set-aside or partially set-aside for 8(a) BD Participants.

(2) For orders that are set aside for eligible 8(a) Participants under full and open contracts or reserves, the Participant must meet the applicable limitation on subcontracting requirement and comply with the nonmanufacturer rule, if applicable, for each order.

[81 FR 34260, May 31, 2016]

§ 124.511 How is fair market price determined for an 8(a) contract?

(a) The procuring activity determines what constitutes a “fair market price” for an 8(a) contract.

(1) The procuring activity must derive the estimate of a current fair market price for a new requirement, or a requirement that does not have a satisfactory procurement history, from a price or cost analysis. This analysis may take into account prevailing market conditions, commercial prices for similar products or services, or data obtained from any other agency. The analysis must also consider any cost or pricing data that is timely submitted by SBA.

(2) The procuring activity must base the estimate of a current fair market price for a requirement that has a satisfactory procurement history on recent award prices adjusted to ensure comparability. Adjustments will take into account differences in quantities, performance, times, plans, specifications, transportation costs, packaging and packing costs, labor and material costs, overhead costs, and any other additional costs which may be appropriate.

(b) Upon the request of SBA, a procuring activity will provide to SBA a written statement detailing the method it has used to estimate the current fair market price for the 8(a) requirement. This statement must be submitted within 10 working days of SBA's request. The procuring activity must identify the information, studies, analyses, and other data it used in making its estimate.

(c) The procuring activity's estimate of fair market price and any supporting data may not be disclosed by SBA to any Participant or potential contractor.

(d) The concern selected to perform an 8(a) contract may request SBA to protest the procuring activity's estimate of current fair market price to the Secretary of the Department or head of the agency in accordance with § 124.505.

§ 124.512 Delegation of contract administration to procuring agencies.

(a) SBA may delegate, by the use of special clauses in the 8(a) contract documents or by a separate agreement with the procuring activity, all responsibilities for administering an 8(a) contract to the procuring activity except the approval of novation agreements under 48 CFR 42.302(a)(25). Tracking compliance with the performance of work requirements set forth in § 124.510 is included within the functions performed by the procuring activity as part of contract administration.

(b) This delegation of contract administration authorizes a contracting officer to execute any priced option or in scope modification without SBA's concurrence. The contracting officer must, however, submit copies to the SBA servicing district office of all modifications and options exercised within 15 business days of their occurrence, or by another date agreed upon by SBA.

(c) SBA may conduct periodic compliance on-site agency reviews of the files of all contracts awarded pursuant to Section 8(a) authority.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8261, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.513 Under what circumstances can a joint venture be awarded an 8(a) contract?

(a) General.

(1) A Participant may enter into a joint venture agreement with one or more other small business concerns, whether or not 8(a) Participants, for the purpose of performing one or more specific 8(a) contracts.

(2) A joint venture agreement is permissible only where an 8(a) concern lacks the necessary capacity to perform the contract on its own, and the agreement is fair and equitable and will be of substantial benefit to the 8(a) concern. However, where SBA concludes that an 8(a) Participant brings very little to the joint venture relationship in terms of resources and expertise other than its 8(a) status, SBA will not approve the joint venture to receive an 8(a) sole source contract award and will find the joint venture to be ineligible for a competitive 8(a) award if it is determined to be the apparent successful offeror.

(b) Size of concerns to an 8(a) joint venture.

(1) A joint venture of at least one 8(a) Participant and one or more other business concerns may submit an offer as a small business for a competitive 8(a) procurement, or be awarded a sole source 8(a) procurement, so long as each concern is small under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the procurement.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a joint venture between a protégé firm and its approved mentor (see § 124.520) will be deemed small provided the protégé qualifies as small for the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to the contract and has not reached the dollar limits set forth in § 124.519.

(3) SBA approval of a joint venture agreement pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section does not equate to a formal size determination. As such, despite SBA's approval of a joint venture, the size status of a joint venture that is the apparent successful offeror for a competitive 8(a) contract may be protested pursuant to § 121.1001(a)(2) of this chapter. See § 124.517(b).

(c) Contents of joint venture agreement. Every joint venture agreement to perform an 8(a) contract, including those between mentors and protégés authorized by § 124.520, must contain a provision:

(1) Setting forth the purpose of the joint venture;

(2) Designating an 8(a) Participant as the managing venturer of the joint venture, and designating a named employee of the 8(a) managing venturer as the manager with ultimate responsibility for performance of the contract (the “Responsible Manager”).

(i) The managing venturer is responsible for controlling the day-to-day management and administration of the contractual performance of the joint venture, but other partners to the joint venture may participate in all corporate governance activities and decisions of the joint venture as is commercially customary.

(ii) The individual identified as the Responsible Manager of the joint venture need not be an employee of the 8(a) Participant at the time the joint venture submits an offer, but, if he or she is not, there must be a signed letter of intent that the individual commits to be employed by the 8(a) Participant if the joint venture is the successful offeror. The individual identified as the Responsible Manager cannot be employed by the mentor and become an employee of the 8(a) Participant for purposes of performance under the joint venture.

(iii) Although the joint venture managers responsible for orders issued under an IDIQ contract need not be employees of the protégé, those managers must report to and be supervised by the joint venture's Responsible Manager;

(3) Stating that with respect to a separate legal entity joint venture the 8(a) Participant(s) must own at least 51% of the joint venture entity;

(4) Stating that the 8(a) Participant(s) must receive profits from the joint venture commensurate with the work performed by the 8(a) Participant(s), or a percentage agreed to by the parties to the joint venture whereby the 8(a) Participant(s) receive profits from the joint venture that exceed the percentage commensurate with the work performed by the 8(a) Participant(s);

(5) Providing for the establishment and administration of a special bank account in the name of the joint venture. This account must require the signature or consent of all parties to the joint venture for any payments made by the joint venture to its members for services performed. All payments due the joint venture for performance on an 8(a) contract will be deposited in the special account; all expenses incurred under the contract will be paid from the account as well;

(6) Itemizing all major equipment, facilities, and other resources to be furnished by each party to the joint venture, with a detailed schedule of cost or value of each, where practical. If a contract is indefinite in nature, such as an indefinite quantity contract or a multiple award contract where the level of effort or scope of work is not known, the joint venture must provide a general description of the anticipated major equipment, facilities, and other resources to be furnished by each party to the joint venture, without a detailed schedule of cost or value of each, or in the alternative, specify how the parties to the joint venture will furnish such resources to the joint venture once a definite scope of work is made publicly available;

(7) Specifying the responsibilities of the parties with regard to negotiation of the contract, source of labor, and contract performance, including ways that the parties to the joint venture will ensure that the joint venture and the 8(a) partner(s) to the joint venture will meet the performance of work requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, where practical. If a contract is indefinite in nature, such as an indefinite quantity contract or a multiple award contract where the level of effort or scope of work is not known, the joint venture must provide a general description of the anticipated responsibilities of the parties with regard to negotiation of the contract, source of labor, and contract performance, not including the ways that the parties to the joint venture will ensure that the joint venture and the 8(a) partner(s) to the joint venture will meet the performance of work requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section, or in the alternative, specify how the parties to the joint venture will define such responsibilities once a definite scope of work is made publicly available;

(8) Obligating all parties to the joint venture to ensure performance of the 8(a) contract and to complete performance despite the withdrawal of any member;

(9) Designating that accounting and other administrative records relating to the joint venture be kept in the office of the 8(a) Participant managing venturer, unless approval to keep them elsewhere is granted by the District Director or his/her designee upon written request;

(10) Requiring the final original records be retained by the 8(a) Participant managing venturer upon completion of the 8(a) contract performed by the joint venture;

(11) Stating that quarterly financial statements showing cumulative contract receipts and expenditures (including salaries of the joint venture's principals) must be submitted to SBA not later than 45 days after each operating quarter of the joint venture; and

(12) Stating that a project-end profit and loss statement, including a statement of final profit distribution, must be submitted to SBA no later than 90 days after completion of the contract.

(d) Performance of work.

(1) For any 8(a) contract, including those between a protégé and a mentor authorized by § 124.520, the joint venture must perform the applicable percentage of work required by § 124.510 of this chapter.

(2) The 8(a) partner(s) to the joint venture must perform at least 40% of the work performed by the joint venture.

(i) The work performed by the 8(a) partner(s) to a joint venture must be more than administrative or ministerial functions so that the 8(a) partners gain substantive experience.

(ii) The amount of work done by the partners will be aggregated and the work done by the 8(a) partner(s) must be at least 40% of the total done by all partners. In determining the amount of work done by a non-8(a) partner, all work done by the non-8(a) partner and any of its affiliates at any subcontracting tier will be counted.

(e) Prior approval by SBA.

(1) When a joint venture between one or more 8(a) Participants seeks a sole source 8(a) award, SBA must approve the joint venture prior to the award of the sole source 8(a) contract. SBA will not approve joint ventures in connection with competitive 8(a) awards (but see § 124.501(g) for SBA's determination of Participant eligibility).

(2) Where a joint venture has been established for one 8(a) contract, the joint venture may receive additional 8(a) contracts provided the parties create an addendum to the joint venture agreement setting forth the performance requirements for each additional award (and provided any contract is awarded within two years of the first award as set forth in § 121.103(h)). If an additional 8(a) contract is a sole source award, SBA must also approve the addendum prior to contract award.

(f) Capabilities, past performance, and experience. When evaluating the capabilities, past performance, experience, business systems, and certifications of an entity submitting an offer for an 8(a) contract as a joint venture established pursuant to this section, a procuring activity must consider work done and qualifications held individually by each partner to the joint venture as well as any work done by the joint venture itself previously. A procuring activity may not require the 8(a) Participant to individually meet the same evaluation or responsibility criteria as that required of other offerors generally. The partners to the joint venture in the aggregate must demonstrate the past performance, experience, business systems, and certifications necessary to perform the contract.

(g) Contract execution. Where an 8(a) award will be made to a joint venture, the procuring activity will execute an 8(a) contract in the name of the joint venture entity or the 8(a) Participant, but in either case will identify the award as one to an 8(a) joint venture or an 8(a) mentor-protege joint venture, as appropriate.

(h) Amendments to joint venture agreement. Where SBA has approved a joint venture for a sole source 8(a) contract, all amendments to the joint venture agreement must be approved by SBA.

(i) Inspection of records. The joint venture partners must allow SBA's authorized representatives, including representatives authorized by the SBA Inspector General, during normal business hours, access to its files to inspect and copy all records and documents relating to the joint venture.

(j) Certification of compliance. Prior to the performance of any 8(a) contract by a joint venture, the 8(a) BD Participant to the joint venture must submit a written certification to the contracting officer and SBA, signed by an authorized official of each partner to the joint venture, stating as follows:

(1) The parties have entered into a joint venture agreement that fully complies with paragraph (c) of this section; and

(2) The parties will perform the contract in compliance with the joint venture agreement and with the performance of work requirements set forth in paragraph (d) of this section.

(3) For a sole source 8(a) contract, the parties have obtained SBA's approval of the joint venture agreement and any addendum to that agreement and that there have been no modifications to the agreement that SBA has not approved.

(k) Performance of work reports. An 8(a) Participant to a joint venture must describe how it is meeting or has met the applicable performance of work requirements for each 8(a) contract it performs as a joint venture.

(1) As part of its annual review, the 8(a) Participant(s) to the joint venture must explain for each 8(a) contract performed during the year how the performance of work requirements are being met for the contract.

(2) At the completion of every 8(a) contract awarded to a joint venture, the 8(a) Participant(s) to the joint venture must submit a report to the local SBA district office explaining how the performance of work requirements were met for the contract.

(l) Basis for suspension or debarment. The Government may consider the following as a ground for suspension or debarment as a willful violation of a regulatory provision or requirement applicable to a public agreement or transaction:

(1) Failure to enter a joint venture agreement that complies with paragraph (c) of this section;

(2) Failure to perform a contract in accordance with the joint venture agreement or performance of work requirements in paragraph (d) of this section; or

(3) Failure to submit the certification required by paragraph (e) of this section or comply with paragraph (i) of this section.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 69 FR 29208, May 21, 2004; 76 FR 8261, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 28238, May 14, 2012; 81 FR 34261, May 31, 2016; 81 FR 48582, July 25, 2016; 81 FR 71983, Oct. 19, 2016; 85 FR 66190, Oct. 16, 2020; 86 FR 2959, Jan. 14, 2021]

§ 124.514 Exercise of 8(a) options and modifications.

(a) Unpriced options. The exercise of an unpriced option is considered to be a new contracting action.

(1) If a concern has graduated or been terminated from the 8(a) BD program or is no longer small under the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code for the requirement, negotiations to price the option cannot be entered into and the option cannot be exercised.

(2) If the concern is still a Participant and otherwise eligible for the requirement on a sole source basis, the procuring activity contracting officer may negotiate price and exercise the option provided the option, considered a new contracting action, meets all regulatory requirements, including the procuring activity's offering and SBA's acceptance of the requirement for the 8(a) BD program.

(3) If the estimated fair market price of the option exceeds the applicable threshold amount set forth in § 124.506, the requirement must be competed as a new contract among eligible Participants.

(b) Priced options. Except as set forth in § 124.521(e)(2), the procuring activity contracting officer may exercise a priced option to an 8(a) contract whether the concern that received the award has graduated or been terminated from the 8(a) BD program or is no longer eligible if to do so is in the best interests of the Government.

(c) Modifications beyond the scope. A modification beyond the scope of the initial 8(a) contract award is considered to be a new contracting action. It will be treated the same as an unpriced option as described in paragraph (a) of this section.

(d) Modifications within the scope. The procuring activity contracting officer may exercise a modification within the scope of the initial 8(a) contract whether the concern that received the award has graduated or been terminated from the 8(a) BD program or is no longer eligible if to do so is in the best interests of the Government.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 85 FR 66191, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.515 Can a Participant change its ownership or control and continue to perform an 8(a) contract, and can it transfer performance to another firm?

(a) An 8(a) contract (or 8(a) order where the underlying contract is not an 8(a) contract) must be performed by the Participant that initially received it unless a waiver is granted under paragraph (b) of this section.

(1) An 8(a) contract or order, whether in the base or an option year, must be terminated for the convenience of the Government if:

(i) One or more of the individuals upon whom eligibility for the 8(a) BD program was based relinquishes or enters into any agreement to relinquish ownership or control of the Participant such that the Participant would no longer be controlled or at least 51% owned by disadvantaged individuals; or

(ii) The contract is transferred or novated for any reason to another firm.

(2) The procuring activity may not assess repurchase costs or other damages against the Participant due solely to the provisions of this section.

(b) The SBA Administrator may waive the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section if requested to do so by the 8(a) contractor when:

(1) It is necessary for the owners of the concern to surrender partial control of such concern on a temporary basis in order to obtain equity financing;

(2) Ownership and control of the concern that is performing the 8(a) contract will pass to another Participant, but only if the acquiring firm would otherwise be eligible to receive the award directly as an 8(a) contract;

(3) Any individual upon whom eligibility was based is no longer able to exercise control of the concern due to physical or mental incapacity or death;

(4) The head of the procuring agency, or an official with delegated authority from the agency head, certifies that termination of the contract would severely impair attainment of the agency's program objectives or missions; or

(5) It is necessary for the disadvantaged owners of the initial 8(a) awardee to relinquish ownership of a majority of the voting stock of the concern in order to raise equity capital, but only if -

(i) The concern has graduated from the 8(a) BD program;

(ii) The disadvantaged owners will maintain ownership of the largest single outstanding block of voting stock (including stock held by affiliated parties); and

(iii) The disadvantaged owners will maintain control of the daily business operations of the concern.

(c) The 8(a) contractor must request a waiver in writing prior to the change of ownership and control except in the case of death or incapacity. A request for waiver due to incapacity or death must be submitted within 60 days after such occurrence. The Participant seeking to change ownership or control must specify the grounds upon which it requests a waiver, and must demonstrate that the proposed transaction would meet such grounds.

(d) SBA determines the eligibility of an acquiring Participant under paragraph (b)(2) of this section by referring to the items identified in § 124.501(g) and deciding whether at the time of the request for waiver (and prior to the transaction) the acquiring Participant is an eligible concern with respect to each contract for which a waiver is sought. As part of the waiver request, the acquiring concern must certify that it is a small business for the size standard corresponding to the NAICS code assigned to each contract for which a waiver is sought. SBA will not grant a waiver for any contract if the work to be performed under the contract is not similar to the type of work previously performed by the acquiring concern.

(e) Anyone other than a procuring agency head who submits a certification regarding the impairment of the agency's objectives under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, must also certify delegated authority to make the certification.

(f) In processing a request for a waiver under paragraph (b)(2) of this section, SBA will treat a transfer of all a Participant's operating assets to another Participant the same as the transfer of an ownership interest, provided the Participant that transfers its assets to another eligible Participant:

(1) Voluntarily graduates from the 8(a) BD program; and

(2) Ceases its business operations, or presents a plan to SBA for its orderly dissolution.

(g) A concern performing an 8(a) contract must notify SBA in writing immediately upon entering into an agreement or agreement in principle (either oral or written) to transfer all or part of its stock or other ownership interest or assets to any other party. Such an agreement could include an oral agreement to enter into a transaction to transfer interests in the future.

(h) The Administrator has discretion to decline a request for waiver even though legal authority exists to grant the waiver.

(i) The 8(a) contractor may appeal SBA's denial of a waiver request by filing a petition with OHA pursuant to part 134 of this chapter within 45 days after the contractor receives the Administrator's decision.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 67 FR 47246, July 18, 2002; 81 FR 48584, July 25, 2016; 85 FR 66191, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.516 [Reserved]
§ 124.517 Can the eligibility or size of a Participant for award of an 8(a) contract be questioned?

(a) The eligibility of a Participant for a sole source or competitive 8(a) requirement may not be challenged by another Participant or any other party, either to SBA or any administrative forum as part of a bid or other contract protest.

(b) The size status of the apparent successful offeror for a competitive 8(a) procurement may be protested pursuant to § 121.1001(a)(2) of this chapter. The size status of a nominated Participant for a sole source 8(a) procurement may not be protested by another Participant or any other party.

(c) A Participant cannot appeal SBA's determination not to award it a specific 8(a) contract because the concern lacks an element of responsibility or is ineligible for the contract, other than the right set forth in § 124.501(h) to request a formal size determination where SBA cannot verify it to be small.

(d)

(1) The NAICS code assigned to a sole source 8(a) requirement may not be challenged by another Participant or any other party either to SBA or any administrative forum as part of a bid or contract protest. Only the AA/BD may appeal a NAICS code designation with respect to a sole source 8(a) requirement.

(2) In connection with a competitive 8(a) procurement, any interested party who has been adversely affected by a NAICS code designation may appeal the designation to SBA's OHA pursuant to § 121.1103 of this title.

(e) Anyone with information questioning the eligibility of a Participant to continue participation in the 8(a) BD program or for purposes of a specific 8(a) contract may submit such information to SBA under § 124.112(c).

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 74 FR 45754, Sept. 4, 2009]

§ 124.518 How can an 8(a) contract be terminated before performance is completed?

(a) Termination for default. A decision to terminate a specific 8(a) contract for default can be made by the procuring activity contracting officer after consulting with SBA. The contracting officer must advise SBA of any intent to terminate an 8(a) contract for default in writing before doing so. SBA may provide to the Participant any program benefits reasonably available in order to assist it in avoiding termination for default. SBA will advise the contracting officer of this effort. Any procuring activity contracting officer who believes grounds for termination continue to exist may terminate the 8(a) contract for default, in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations (48 CFR chapter 1). SBA will have no liability for termination costs or reprocurement costs.

(b) Termination for convenience. After consulting with SBA, the procuring activity contracting officer may terminate an 8(a) contract for convenience when it is in the best interests of the Government to do so. A termination for convenience is appropriate if any disadvantaged owner of the Participant performing the contract relinquishes ownership or control of such concern, or enters into any agreement to relinquish such ownership or control, unless a waiver is granted pursuant to § 124.515.

(c) Substitution of one 8(a) contractor for another. SBA may authorize another Participant to complete performance and, in conjunction with the procuring activity, permit novation of an 8(a) contract without invoking the termination for convenience or waiver provisions of § 124.515 where a procuring activity contracting officer demonstrates to SBA that the Participant that was awarded the 8(a) contract is unable to complete performance, where an 8(a) contract will otherwise be terminated for default, or where SBA determines that substitution would serve the business development needs of both 8(a) Participants.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 85 FR 66191, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.519 Are there any dollar limits on the amount of 8(a) contracts that a Participant may receive?

(a) A Participant (other than one owned by an Indian Tribe, ANC, NHO, or CDC) may not receive sole source 8(a) contract awards where it has received a combined total of competitive and sole source 8(a) contracts in excess of $100,000,000 during its participation in the 8(a) BD program.

(b) In determining whether a Participant has reached the limit identified in paragraph (a) of this section, SBA:

(1) Looks at the 8(a) revenues a Participant has actually received, not projected 8(a) revenues that a Participant might receive through an indefinite delivery or indefinite quantity contract, a multiple award contract, or options or modifications; and

(2) Will not consider 8(a) contracts awarded under the Simplified Acquisition Threshold.

(c) Once the limit is reached, a firm may not receive any more 8(a) sole source contracts, but may remain eligible for competitive 8(a) awards.

(d) A Participant's eligibility for a sole source award in terms of whether it has exceeded the dollar limit for 8(a) contracts is measured as of the date that the requirement is accepted for the 8(a) program without taking into account whether the value of that award will cause the limit to be exceeded.

(e) The AA/BD may waive the requirement prohibiting a Participant from receiving sole source 8(a) contracts in excess of the dollar amount set forth in this section where the head of a procuring activity represents that award of a sole source 8(a) contract to the Participant is needed to achieve significant interests of the Government.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8262, Feb. 11, 2011; 77 FR 28238, May 14, 2012; 85 FR 66191, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.520 Can 8(a) BD Program Participants participate in SBA's Mentor-Protégé program?

(a) An 8(a) BD Program Participant, as any other small business, may participate in SBA's All Small Mentor-Protégé Program authorized under § 125.9 of this chapter.

(b) In order for a joint venture between a protégé and its SBA-approved mentor to receive the exclusion from affiliation with respect to a sole source or competitive 8(a) contract, the joint venture must meet the requirements set forth in § 124.513(c) and (d).

[85 FR 66191, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 124.521 What are the requirements for representing 8(a) status, and what are the penalties for misrepresentation?

(a) Presumption of Loss Based on the Total Amount Expended. In every contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, cooperative research and development agreement, or grant which is set aside, reserved, or otherwise classified as intended for award to 8(a) Participants, there shall be a presumption of loss to the United States based on the total amount expended on the contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, cooperative research and development agreement, or grant whenever it is established that a business concern other than an 8(a) Participant willfully sought and received the award by misrepresentation.

(b) Deemed Certifications. The following actions shall be deemed affirmative, willful and intentional certifications of 8(a) status:

(1) Submission of a bid or proposal for an 8(a) sole source or competitive contract.

(2) Registration on any Federal electronic database for the purpose of being considered for award of a Federal grant, contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, or cooperative research and development agreement, as a small disadvantaged business (SDB).

(c) Signature Requirement. Each offer for an 8(a) contract shall contain a certification concerning the 8(a) status of a business concern seeking the contract. An authorized official must sign the certification on the same page containing the 8(a) status claimed by the concern.

(d) Limitation of Liability. Paragraphs (a)-(c) of this section may be determined not to apply in the case of unintentional errors, technical malfunctions, and other similar situations that demonstrate that a misrepresentation of 8(a) status was not affirmative, intentional, willful or actionable under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3729, et seq. A prime contractor acting in good faith should not be held liable for misrepresentations made by its subcontractors regarding the subcontractors' 8(a) status. Relevant factors to consider in making this determination may include the firm's internal management procedures governing representation or certification as an eligible 8(a) Participant, the clarity or ambiguity of the representation or certification requirement, and the efforts made to correct an incorrect or invalid representation or certification in a timely manner. An individual or firm may not be held liable where government personnel have erroneously identified a concern as an eligible 8(a) Participant without any representation or certification having been made by the concern and where such identification is made without the knowledge of the individual or firm.

(e) Recertification.

(1) Generally, a concern that is an eligible 8(a) Participant at the time of initial offer or response, which includes price, for an 8(a) contract, including a Multiple Award Contract, is considered an 8(a) Participant throughout the life of that contract. For an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), Multiple Award 8(a) Contract, where concerns are not required to submit price as part of the offer for the contract, a concern that is an eligible 8(a) Participant at the time of initial offer, which may not include price, is considered an 8(a) Participant throughout the life of that contract. This means that if an 8(a) Participant is qualified at the time of initial offer for a Multiple Award 8(a) Contract, then it will be considered an 8(a) Participant for each order issued against the contract, unless a contracting officer requests a new 8(a) eligibility determination in connection with a specific order. Except as set forth in paragraph (e)(2) of this section, where a concern later fails to qualify as an 8(a) Participant, the procuring agency may exercise options and still count the award as an award to a Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB).

(i) Where an 8(a) contract is novated to another business concern, or where the concern performing the 8(a) contract is acquired by, acquires, or merges with another concern and contract novation is not required, the concern must comply with the process outlined at §§ 124.105(i) and 124.515.

(ii) Where an 8(a) Participant that was initially awarded a non-8(a) contract that is subsequently novated to another business concern, the concern that will continue performance on the contract must certify its SDB status to the procuring agency, or inform the procuring agency that it does not qualify as an SDB, within 30 days of the novation approval. If the concern is not an SDB, the agency can no longer count the options or orders issued pursuant to the contract, from that point forward, towards its SDB goals.

(iii) Where an 8(a) Participant receives a non-8(a) contract, and that Participant acquires, is acquired by, or merges with another concern and contract novation is not required, the concern must, within 30 days of the transaction becoming final, recertify its SDB status to the procuring agency, or inform the procuring agency that it no longer qualifies as an SDB. If the contractor is no longer a current 8(a) Participant, the contractor is not eligible for orders limited to 8(a) awardees. If the contractor is not an SDB, the agency can no longer count the options or orders issued pursuant to the contract, from that point forward, towards its SDB goals. The agency and the contractor must immediately revise all applicable Federal contract databases for which they directly certify information to reflect the new status.

(2) For the purposes of 8(a) contracts (including Multiple Award Contracts) with durations of more than five years (including options), a contracting officer must verify in DSBS whether a business concern continues to be an eligible 8(a) Participant no more than 120 days prior to the end of the fifth year of the contract, and no more than 120 days prior to exercising any option. Where a concern fails to qualify as an eligible 8(a) Participant during the 120 days prior to the end of the fifth year of the contract, the option shall not be exercised.

(3) Recertification does not change the terms and conditions of the contract. The limitations on subcontracting, nonmanufacturer and subcontracting plan requirements in effect at the time of contract award remain in effect throughout the life of the contract.

(4) Where the contracting officer explicitly requires concerns to qualify as eligible 8(a) Participants in response to a solicitation for an order, SBA will determine eligibility as of the date the concern submits its self-representation as part of its response to the solicitation for the order.

(5) A concern's status will be determined at the time of a response to a solicitation for a basic ordering agreement (BOA), basic agreement (BA), or blanket purchase agreement (BPA) and each order issued pursuant to the BOA, BA, or BPA.

[78 FR 38818, June 28, 2013, as amended at 84 FR 65661, Nov. 29, 2019; 85 FR 66191, Oct. 16, 2020]

Miscellaneous Reporting Requirements
§ 124.601 What reports does SBA require concerning parties who assist Participants in obtaining federal contracts?

(a) Each Participant must submit semi-annually a written report to its assigned BOS that includes a listing of any agents, representatives, attorneys, accountants, consultants and other parties (other than employees) receiving fees, commissions, or compensation of any kind to assist such Participant in obtaining or seeking to obtain a Federal contract. The listing must indicate the amount of compensation paid and a description of the activities performed for such compensation.

(b) Failure to submit the report is good cause for the initiation of a termination proceeding pursuant to §§ 124.303 and 124.304.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8264, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.602 What kind of annual financial statement must a Participant submit to SBA?

(a) Except as set forth in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, Participants with gross annual receipts of more than $10,000,000 must submit to SBA audited annual financial statements prepared by a licensed independent public accountant within 120 days after the close of the concern's fiscal year.

(1) Participants with gross annual receipts of more than $10,000,000 which are owned by a Tribe, ANC, NHO, or CDC may elect to submit unaudited financial statements within 120 days after the close of the concern's fiscal year, provided the following additional documents are submitted simultaneously:

(i) Audited annual financial statements for the parent company owner of the Participant, prepared by a licensed independent public accountant, for the equivalent fiscal year;

(ii) Certification from the Participant's Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer (or comparable positions) that each individual has read the unaudited financial statements, affirms that the statements do not contain any material misstatements, and certifying that the statements fairly represent the Participant's financial condition and result of operations.

(2) In the first year that a Participant's gross receipts exceed $10,000,000, a Participant may provide an audited balance sheet, with the income and cash flow statements receiving the level of service required for the previous year (review or none, depending on sales the year before the audit is required).

(3) The servicing SBA District Director may waive the requirement for audited financial statements for good cause shown by the Participant.

(4) Circumstances where waivers of audited financial statements may be granted include, but are not limited to, the following:

(i) The concern has an unexpected increase in sales towards the end of its fiscal year that creates an unforeseen requirement for audited statements;

(ii) The concern unexpectedly experiences severe financial difficulties which would make the cost of audited financial statements a particular burden; and

(iii) The concern has been a Participant less than 12 months.

(b)

(1) Participants with gross annual receipts between $2,000,000 and $10,000,000 must submit to SBA reviewed annual financial statements prepared by a licensed independent public accountant within 90 days after the close of the concern's fiscal year.

(2) The servicing SBA District Director may waive the requirement for reviewed financial statements for good cause shown by the Participant.

(c) Participants with gross annual receipts of less than $2,000,000 must submit to SBA an annual statement prepared in-house or a compilation statement prepared by a licensed independent public accountant, verified as to accuracy by an authorized officer, partner, limited liability member, or sole proprietor of the Participant, including signature and date, within 90 days after the close of the concern's fiscal year.

(d) Any audited or reviewed financial statements submitted to SBA pursuant to paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section must be prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

(e) While financial statements need not be submitted until 90 or 120 days after the close of a Participant's fiscal year, depending on the receipts of the concern, a Participant seeking to be awarded an 8(a) contract between the close of its fiscal year and such 90 or 120-day time period must submit a final sales report signed by the CEO or President to SBA in order for SBA to determine the concern's eligibility for the 8(a) contract. This report must show a breakdown of 8(a) and non-8(a) sales.

(f) Notwithstanding the amount of a Participant's gross annual receipts, SBA may require audited or reviewed statements whenever they are needed to obtain more complete information as to a concern's assets, liabilities, income or expenses, such as when the concern's capacity to perform a specific 8(a) contract must be determined, or when they are needed to determine continued program eligibility.

(g) Participants owned by Tribes, ANCs, NHOs and CDCs may submit consolidated financial statements prepared by the parent entity that include schedules for each 8(a) Participant instead of separate audited financial statements for each individual 8(a) Participant. If one Participant must submit an audited financial statement, then the consolidated statement and the schedules for each 8(a) Participant must be audited.

[63 FR 35739, June 30, 1998, as amended at 76 FR 8264, Feb. 11, 2011]

§ 124.603 What reports regarding the continued business operations of former Participants does SBA require?

Former Participants must provide such information as SBA may request concerning the former Participant's continued business operations, contracts, and financial condition for a period of three years following the date on which the concern graduates or is terminated from the program. Failure to provide such information when requested will constitute a violation of the regulations set forth in this part, and may result in the nonexercise of options on or termination of contracts awarded through the 8(a) BD program, debarment, or other legal recourse.

§ 124.604 Report of benefits for firms owned by Tribes, ANCs, NHOs and CDCs.

As part of its annual financial statement submission (see § 124.602), each Participant owned by a Tribe, ANC, NHO or CDC must submit to SBA information showing how the Tribe, ANC, NHO or CDC has provided benefits to the Tribal or native members and/or the Tribal, native or other community due to the Tribe's/ANC's/NHO's/CDC's participation in the 8(a) BD program through one or more firms. This data includes information relating to funding cultural programs, employment assistance, jobs, scholarships, internships, subsistence activities, and other services provided by the Tribe, ANC, NHO or CDC to the affected community.

[76 FR 8264, Feb. 11, 2011, as amended at 81 FR 48585, July 25, 2016]

Management and Technical Assistance Program
§ 124.701 What is the purpose of the 7(j) management and technical assistance program?

Section 7(j)(1) of the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 636(j)(1), authorizes SBA to enter into grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts with public or private organizations to pay all or part of the cost of technical or management assistance for individuals or concerns eligible for assistance under sections 7(a)(11), 7(j)(10), or 8(a) of the Small Business Act.

§ 124.702 What types of assistance are available through the 7(j) program?

Through its private sector service providers, SBA may provide a wide variety of management and technical assistance to eligible individuals or concerns to meet their specific needs, including:

(a) Counseling and training in the areas of financing, management, accounting, bookkeeping, marketing, and operation of small business concerns; and

(b) The identification and development of new business opportunities.

§ 124.703 Who is eligible to receive 7(j) assistance?

The following businesses are eligible to receive assistance from SBA through its service providers:

(a) Businesses which qualify as small under part 121 of this title, and which are located in urban or rural areas with a high proportion of unemployed or low-income individuals, or which are owned by such low-income individuals; and

(b) Businesses eligible to receive 8(a) contracts.

§ 124.704 What additional management and technical assistance is reserved exclusively for concerns eligible to receive 8(a) contracts?

In addition to the management and technical assistance available under § 124.702, Section 7(j)(10) of the Small Business Act authorizes SBA to provide additional management and technical assistance through its service providers exclusively to small business concerns eligible to receive 8(a) contracts, including:

(a) Assistance to develop comprehensive business plans with specific business targets, objectives, and goals;

(b) Other nonfinancial services necessary for a Participant's growth and development, including loan packaging; and

(c) Assistance in obtaining equity and debt financing.

Subpart B - Eligibility, Certification, and Protests Relating to Federal Small Disadvantaged Business Programs
Source:

63 FR 35772, June 30, 1998, unless otherwise noted.

§ 124.1001 What is a Small Disadvantaged Business?

(a) General. A Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) for purposes of any Federal subcontracting program is a concern that qualifies as small under part 121 of this title for the size standard corresponding to the six-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code that is assigned by the contracting officer to the procurement at issue, and that is owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Unless specifically stated otherwise, the phrase “socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” includes Indian tribes, ANCs, CDCs, and NHOs. A firm may represent that it qualifies as an SDB for any Federal subcontracting program if it believes in good faith that it is owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

(b) Reliance on 8(a) criteria. In determining whether a firm qualifies as an SDB, the criteria of social and economic disadvantage and other eligibility requirements established in subpart A of this part apply, including the requirements of ownership and control and disadvantaged status, unless otherwise provided in this subpart. All current Participants in the 8(a) BD program qualify as SDBs.

[85 FR 27292, May 8, 2020]