2020 GovCon Rewind: The Year’s Biggest Government Contracting News Affecting Small Businesses

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The following article was written by Koprince Law LLC as part of their SmallGovCon newsletter and is reproduced with their kind permission.

Disclaimer: PTAC is not affiliated with the organizations mentioned in this post and does not endorse them. All information provided is for information purposes only and are not comprehensive resource guides. They may contain mistakes, omissions, and other errors. Nothing is intended to provide the reader with business, legal, or financial advice specific to their situation.

Let’s face it: most people won’t look back on 2020 with anything remotely approaching nostalgia. But small businesses shouldn’t forget 2020 completely. The year brought many important developments, including major changes to some key government contracting rules. So here, in a nutshell, are the most important 2020 government contracting changes and legal developments for small businesses.

SBA Small Business Size & Affiliation Rules

Contractors operating under employee-based size standards are getting their own “runway extension.”  In the 2021 NDAA, Congress has lengthened the receipts-based size standard from 12 to 24 months.  Read More

After the success of its All-Small Mentor-Protégé Program, the SBA consolidated the ASMPP with the longstanding 8(a) Mentor-Protégé Program.  But what does this change mean for small businesses and their mentors? Read More

Speaking of mentors, the SBA has eased its “two per lifetime” mentorship limit.  Read More.

The SBA has confirmed that a mentor can take the 40% equity stake and still receive up to 60% of mentor-protégé joint venture profits.  Read More.

Have you struggled with the SBA’s “Certify” online platform?  An SBA Inspector General Report explains how Certify has failed to meet its objectives—and the SBA is throwing in the towel. Read More.

The Government’s Fiscal Year 2019 Small Business Scorecard had mostly good news, with small business prime contracting going over $130 billion and contracting with SDBs, SDVOSBs and WOSBs all exceeding their targets.  Read More.

8(a) Program

Huge news for 8(a) companies: Congress has authorized an extra year of participation (10 years instead of nine) for active 8(a) Program participants.  Read More

If a company’s 8(a) application is denied, it can now reapply in just 90 days, instead of one year.  Read More

In a cautionary tale, a company was terminated from the 8(a) Program because the disadvantaged individual took a second job.  Read More

The SBA has increased (substantially) the income and net worth thresholds for initial admission to the 8(a) Program.  Read More

The DoD can now award 8(a) sole source contracts up to $100 million without a formal justification—although the higher-value 8(a) sole sources are only available to Tribal, ANC and NHO companies.  Read More

WOSB Program

We didn’t have a ton of WOSB-specific news this year, but this one was a biggie: the SBA finally implemented a rule requiring formal certification (not self-certification) for WOSB contracts.  Read More

Speaking of formal certification, the DoD followed up with a class deviation to ensure that its Contracting Officers only award WOSB and EDWOSB contracts to formally-certified companies.  Read More

SDVOSB Programs

After years of discussion, it is finally happening: Congress has established a governmentwide SDVOSB verification requirement and will move the CVE from the VA to the SBA.  Read More

The CVE isn’t doing too badly when it comes to processing SDVOSB and VOSB applications: the average processing time is just 34 days.  Read More

The VA violated the SDVOSB “rule of two” (again!) by moving work to the AbilityOne program without a rule of two analysis.  Read More.

If a company’s SDVOSB or VOSB application is denied, the company can appeal—but the appeal must go to the SBA, not the VA.  Read More.

“No Strings Attached.”  The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals issued a case reminding SDVOSBs that the veteran’s ownership must be unconditional.  Read More

Self-certification of SDVOSB status isn’t working too well, at least according to one Inspector General report, which found major problems in a sample of self-certified companies.  Read More

HUBZone Program

The SBA’s Inspector General has questioned the legality of allowing HUBZone employees to continue counting as HUBZone residents even after they move.  Read More

The SBA allowed some flexibility for HUBZone compliance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read More

Compliance with the new HUBZone rules is a little less confusing, thanks to new guidance issued by the SBA.  Read More

Joint Ventures

A recent, under-the-radar change to SBA’s mandatory joint venture requirements could cause compliance problems.  Read More

If a small business lacks relevant past performance, a new Congressional requirement will allow the small business to submit a joint venture’s past performance, instead.  Read More

The SBA’s administrative judges have required the lead member of a joint venture to have “unequivocal” control, but a new SBA regulation dials back on this requirement.  Read More

How do a joint venture’s receipts affect a company’s small business size status?  The SBA provided some helpful guidance.  Read More

For joint ventures, dealing with Facility Security Clearance requirements has sometimes been a bit of a nightmare.  In a new rule, the SBA has fixed this longstanding problem.  Read More

The SBA simplified —but didn’t eliminate—its infamous “three-in-two” rule for joint ventures.  Read More


How does a joint venture comply with the limitations on subcontracting?  The SBA provided some much-needed guidance.  Read More

A new SBA regulation requires procuring agencies to consider the past performance, experience and capabilities of a small prime’s subcontractors—sometimes, anyway.  Read More

Other Notable Changes

The FAR Council implemented an interim rule, prohibiting contractors from using certain Chinese telecommunications products. Read More

The FAR Council also amended the FAR to raise the simplified acquisition and micro-purchase thresholds.  Read More

The SBA updated its self-certified Small Disadvantaged Business program regulations.  Read More

How to deal with contract modifications due to COVID-19?  We took a look at this important question.  Read More

The SBA clarified some of its regulations involving large primes’ subcontracting plans.  Read More.

Questions about government contracting? Visit business.utah.gov/ptac for assistance.

Photo credit: Photo by Jude Beck