AGG partner and Government Contracts practice leader, Tenley Carp, was quoted in an article published in The Business Journals on August 17, 2023, discussing the Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) sweeping change to its 8(a) program following the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee’s ruling that the program is unconstitutional. The court stated as a key factor that certain racial and ethnic groups are accepted automatically into the program, while others have to submit evidence. The SBA will now require a substantial number of existing program participants to draft a narrative to explain why they are socially disadvantaged.
Due to this change, Tenley shared that business owners will have to bring evidence to their “narrative,” and the SBA will have to make a determination on every single one.
“It’s going to take them so much time to evaluate and decide, and there will be challenges for those who are not eligible,” she said. “The process just changed, but it changed in a very burdensome way — not just for the 8(a) participants but for the agency.”
Tenley further states that the criteria requested to show social disadvantage is sometimes vague and difficult to prove.
“We have no idea what they are really looking for,” she said. “I think they are trying to comply with the ruling and do the best they can.”
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