Tribal & other SBA 8(a) Sole Source Awards

As the Federal Budget tightens up and opportunities for contractors become more difficult to find, there may be more partnerships and joint ventures. There is a unique way for some of these partnerships to provide opportunities for small business. There is a section in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that allows for both teaming arrangements and/or joint ventures. This is found in FAR 9.6. The reason for this is the government believes that these arrangements could provide for the best value to the government in certain situations. According to the FAR these are especially appropriate in research and development focused awards as a single vendor may not have all the expertise that is required to complete the research on their own. That makes sense. They also think that this is applicable to production awards. Again, it may make sense, especially if there could be a specialty operation required that a company needs to enlist an “expert” in the field.

What may not be widely known, is that an SBA 8(a) company that is owned by an Indian Tribe, an Alaskan Native Corporation (ANC) or Native Hawaiian Organization (NHO) may be exempt from the competitive bidding process per 13 CFR 124.506(b). The only major restriction is that the procurement may not be designated for competition and then subsequently removed from competition to award it sole source per 13 CFR 124.506. This could provide opportunities for small businesses to partner with Indian Tribe owned company or an ANC or NHO company. If the small business holds an expertise that is valuable to these companies, it can be a beneficial to a small business with a unique service to partner with an Indian Tribe, ANC or NHO company on one of these opportunities.