In the wake of the Ultima decision, the SBA is making significant changes to the social disadvantage requirements. As a reminder, in order to be an eligible participate in the 8(a) program, generally an applicant must demonstrate both social and economic disadvantage in accordance with the SBA regulations.
GCP has learned that current participants in the 8(a) Program, with few exceptions, must draft a “social disadvantage narrative” to explain why they are socially disadvantaged. Submission of this narrative to SBA by the 8(a) Program participant must be made in connection with any 8(a) agency offering under FAR 19.804-2. Effectively, this means that prior to award of any 8(a) contract, to include both sole source or “direct award” and competitive awards, the 8(a) Program participant must draft and submit to SBA a social disadvantage narrative. Until such narrative is approved by SBA, the participant will be ineligible for 8(a) contract awards.
8(a) Program participants owned by Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Indian Tribes are not required to prepare a social disadvantage narrative in order to be awarded an 8(a) contract.
Furthermore, Participants who were already previously admitted based on established individual social disadvantage are also not required to prepare a social disadvantage narrative in order to be awarded at 8(a) contract. GCP encourages participants who were already previously admitted based on established individual social disadvantage as part of their initial 8(a) application to locate that document to prevent any delays in contract award.
GCP understands that SBA will offer additional guidance on drafting and submission of social disadvantage narratives in the near future. In the meantime, GCP is ready to assist with you the drafting of your social disadvantage narratives to ensure timely contract award. This is especially important as the fiscal year ends and federal dollars are obligated via the 8(a) program. We have assisted numerous clients with these narratives in the past successfully and look forward to advising you regarding the same.