Federal Updates for Small Businesses
By: Gloria Larkin
Owners and employees of government contractors and small businesses that have been ― and presume that that they still are ― certified for a procurement set aside under the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and/or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) Program, read on. Know that your verification was approved under a certain set of rules. And that those rules have changed. Without your knowing it.
In this case, a class deviation supersedes and revises Class Deviation 2021- O0002, which was issued on Dec. 17, 2020. It provides an updated email (WOSBpendingcertification@sba.gov) for contracting officers at the Small Business Administration (SBA) to verify the eligibility of the apparently successful offeror for a procurement set aside under the WOSB Program when that offeror has a pending application. To learn more, visit the new web site at https://beta.certify.sba.gov.
Staying proactive in this case is imperative. Contracting officers need to verify in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) that the specific contractor is designated as an EDWOSB or as a WOSB, therefore eligible for the program; otherwise, a concern is not eligible for a set-aside or sole-source award. The DSBS is available at https://web.sba.gov/pro-net/search/dsp_dsbs.cfm.
EIDL Limit Rises
Given the length of the pandemic, the SBA has increased the maximum amount small businesses and nonprofit organizations can borrow through its COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. The loan limit for the program has risen from six months of economic injury, with a maximum loan amount of $150,000; to up to 24 months of economic injury, with a maximum loan amount of $500,000.
The even better news is that struggling businesses that receive a loan subject to the current limits do not need to submit a request for an increase; the SBA will reach out directly via email (if it has not already) and provide more details about how businesses can request an increase. Also, any new loan applications and any loans in process as the new limits have been implemented will automatically be considered.
This new relief builds on SBA’s March 12 announcement that the agency would extend deferment periods for all disaster loans (including COVID-19 EIDLs) until 2022 to offer more time for businesses to build back. More than 3.7 million businesses employing more than 20 million people have found financial relief through EIDLs.
New PPP Regs
The SBA has published another interim final rule that revised Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) guidelines to incorporate the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act’s amendments to the PPP. Additionally, it clarifies the eligibility for first draw PPP loans for applicants that are assigned a North American Industry Classification System code beginning with 72 and have more than one physical location, as well as clarifying certain payroll cost exclusions included in the Economic Aid Act.
A key takeaway from the amended guidelines is that the PPP loan calculation formula has been revised to allow businesses and individuals that had been shutout from receiving assistance, notably sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals, to receive more financial support. The rule changes also allocate $1 billion in PPP funds for these types of businesses in low-and moderate-income areas.
For background, the Maryland Bankers Association recently stated that more than 120,000 PPP loans totaling about $13 billion have been deployed in the state. The vast majority of the loans were made by banks and supported more than one million small business and nonprofit jobs statewide.
For assistance, call 833-572-0502 or your local SBA Field Office. The list of offices can be found at www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/districtoffices.
Gloria Larkin is President and CEO of TargetGov, American Express Procurement Advisor and a national expert in business development in the government markets. Email glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free 1-866-579-1346 x 325 for more information.