Written By:  Carissa Siebeneck Anderson and Jon DeVore

New SBA Rulemaking Proposes Sweeping Changes.  On November 8, 2019, the U.S. Small Business Administration issued a proposed rule that includes some of the most sweeping regulatory changes from SBA in the last decade: “Consolidation of Mentor Protégé Programs and Other Government Contracting Amendments.[i]  There are many changes proposed, including numerous high-impact changes that will affect all small businesses, the 8(a) Business Development Program, joint ventures, and the (to-be-consolidated) 8(a) and All-Small Mentor Protégé Programs.

Tribal Consultation Sessions.  SBA understands the gravity of these changes.  As result, it is conducting Tribal Consultation Sessions around the country for tribal leaders, tribally-owned businesses, Alaska Natives, and ANCs.  There will also be listening session for Native Hawaiian Organizations.  Attendees can voice concerns, offer alternative options, and ask questions of the SBA.  While SBA initially issued invitations for tribal consultation sessions directly to tribal leaders, it also recently issued a public notice regarding the upcoming sessions.[ii]  SBA has scheduled the following tribal consultation sessions:

  1. Minneapolis: Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (CST), Minneapolis, Minnesota. The pre-registration deadline for this Tribal Consultation meeting is December 6, 2019.
  2. Anchorage: Wednesday, January 8, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (AKST), Anchorage, Alaska. The pre-registration deadline for this Tribal Consultation meeting is January 2, 2020.
  3. Albuquerque: Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (MST), Albuquerque, New Mexico. The pre-registration deadline for this Tribal Consultation meeting is January 7, 2020.
  4. Oklahoma City: Thursday, January 16, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (CST), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The pre-registration deadline for this Tribal Consultation meeting is January 9, 2020.
  5. Honolulu: Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (HST), SBA Hawaii District Office, Training Room 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.  The pre-registration deadline for this Listening Session is January 21, 2020.[iii]

BHBC’s Carissa Siebeneck Anderson attended the first session in Minneapolis, where she presented formal comments on behalf of a Tribal client.  BHBC also asked several questions and provided feedback to SBA officials on their specific areas of concern.  BHBC’s Jon DeVore will attend the Anchorage meeting in January.

Take Advantage of This Opportunity.  These in-person consultation sessions are prime opportunities to influence SBA policy for years to come. Whether or not you attend in person to discuss your comments with SBA, we also strongly recommend submitting written comments to the SBA.  All stakeholders should review these proposed changes to analyze the potential impact on their businesses, and to submit comments to SBA on high-impact issues. BHBC stresses that the SBA takes into consideration all comments both positive and negative about the proposed changes.  Written comments are important and numbers of comments do matter to the SBA.  This is particularly important on changes which are positive and which are supported by the small business community.  The deadline to submit comments is January 17, 2020.  We understand that SBA will NOT be extending this comment deadline, despite much of the comment period occurring during the busy end-of-year timeframe, the holidays, and another potential government shutdown looming.

BHBC Is Ready to Assist You in Drafting Comments.  Please contact us with questions about how these changes might affect your business.  We are ready to assist you by drafting substantive comments and answering your questions to ensure your business, Tribe, NHO, or ANC are effectively represented to the SBA.  If you have any questions, please contact Carissa Siebeneck Anderson or Jon DeVore.

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[i] U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Proposed Rule, “Consolidation of Mentor Protégé Programs and Other Government Contracting Amendments,” 84 Fed. Reg. 60846, RIN: 3245-AG94, Docket No. SBA-2018-0006 (Nov. 8, 2019) (hereinafter “SBA Proposed Rule”), available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/11/08/2019-23141/consolidation-of-mentor-protg-programs-and-other-government-contracting-amendments.

[ii]  U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Notice of Tribal Consultations, 84 Fed. Reg. 66647 (Dec. 5, 2019), available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/12/05/2019-26293/tribal-consultations-for-consolidation-of-mentor-protg-programs-and-other-government-contracting.

[iii] This Listening Session is not included in the Federal Register announcement regarding tribal consultations.  The session will also occur after the official comment period ends, but SBA has given assurances that comments will be taken into consideration.  Pre-registration notice should be send to the same point-of-contact (Chequita Carter at Chequita.Carter@sba.gov or by fax to (202) 481-2177) as in the Federal Register announcement above for tribal consultations.