Few like to talk about this issue because they may secretly want to be, or are trying to be one of those firm who are unfairly enriched.

If you can’t say Amen then just say Ouch!

By the way, the information gleaned here can be applied to other certification types such as SDVOSB and WOSB. And it is also important to those who intend on teaming with a firm for their certification value. So I would encourage everyone to read the articles I reference from the Bloomberg news link toward the end of the full article.

Many who are 8(a) certified are concerned about the difficulty for a “very small” business to get a competitive 8(a) contract, let alone a sole source set-aside. Others who are thinking about getting 8(a) certified or are going through the application process are frustrated at the difficulty of obtaining the certification.

I don't mean to present a negative picture, however, it is important to be aware of both the positive and challenges the "very small" business is up against.  It is overwhelming and it takes perseverance, study, and strong cost controls through cash flow management.

Government agencies do not always have the resources needed to adequately monitor those who try to by-pass the system.  Yes, there are those firms who say I don't care about the moral or ethical implications as long as I can make money I will bend/stretch/distort the laws to that end.  This is a fact of life.  Always has been, always will be. 

Don't worry my friends, they have their temporary reward. But everything that is done in the dark, Will Come Out In The Light!  It can be difficult not to fall in that trap when times are hard and the opportunity seems so good and definite.

I dare say that most SBA/VA representatives you deal with have little ability to do much about things at the management level they operate at.  It is a tight rope we walk because to speak up can label you as a trouble maker.

At a minimum you must be aware of the environment you operate in and IF after your paperwork is timely and complete, you have sound experience and past performance in your field, you have a reasonably good accounting system that meets government requirements, you are of general good character, you take the time to market, you have a generally Good Attitude, and after a reasonable amount of time (most have to pay some dues time), yet you still can't seem to get any solid work under various certification programs, then it is most likely because of forces outside of your control like in the referenced articles.

Let your government representative know you are aware of what's going on and would like something done about it.  However, please, make sure you are doing what you are supposed to and able to do.

Anyway, the two recent articles from the Bloomberg News referenced below, one of which was excerpted and published in our local Huntsville Times business news section, will provide another story that could make those who are not dedicated to their business purpose to "give up".  Don't!  Just make sure you don't become as the firms in the stories.  Know the rules and regulations applicable, to the best of your knowledge and ability, for whatever you are focused on.  Don't take anyone's word.  Ask to see the support for what is being presented to you, and any supplemental references that could impact your decision.  Please keep in mind that the firms in the articles are alleged and not proven guilty.

Remember, when you are a PRIME, You are solely responsible.  You cannot pass the buck.  And when you are a Teaming Partner, Joint Venture, and even a Subcontractor, you still carry a portion of the responsibility.  No one ever thinks it will happen to them!

Maybe this is not a Democrat, Republican, or Independent issue.  Maybe it's a Greed issue.   I do not judge anybody.  God is the only Righteous Judge.  However, I can determine how I do business and with whom I do business based on what is done and not what is said.  I try my best to ask myself the question: "Is this the right thing to do", not only "Is this the legal thing to do".  As a sinful human, I may miss the mark sometimes, but nevertheless, my purposed target and mark remains "to do the right thing".

The two article links are as follows: Everyone is assumed innocent until proven otherwise!

Article 1 - Lawmakers Demand Crackdown on U.S. Program Enriching Wealthy

Some wealthy entrepreneurs have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts reserved for the disadvantaged by repeatedly qualifying for the one-time program. Officials should consider "a potential referral to the Justice Department for civil clawback proceedings," said Tiefer, who is now a professor at the University of Baltimore Law School.

Full Article - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-22/lawmakers-demand-crackdown-on-u-s-program-enriching-wealthy.html

Article 2 - Wealthy Enriched by Double-Dipping in Disadvantaged Plan

Because of opportunistic entrepreneurs and lax government overseers, even the wealthy profit from a taxpayer-supported program designed to bolster underprivileged segments of society.

"Legitimate small businesses are put at a huge competitive disadvantage when bad actors lie about their small business status and don't play by the rules," Representative Sam Graves said in a statement. The Missouri Republican is chairman of the House Small Business Committee. "We owe it to American taxpayers to make sure that contracts intended for small businesses go to small businesses."

Full Article - http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-21/wealthy-enriched-by-double-dipping-u-s-plan.html