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nonresponsibility. As discussed in 5-340, the matter of responsibility must
be referred to the SBA whose decision on responsibility is binding on the
Contracting Officer.
5-330 The Small Business Administration. The Small Business
Administration (SBA) was established by Congress to assist and encourage the
development of small business concerns. One of the major responsibilities
of SBA is to see that small business concerns obtain a fair share of the
vast Government market of goods and services. SBA operates a number of
programs to promote small businesses and small disadvantaged businesses.
The program of particular interest to those involvedwith facility support
contracting are the Set-Asides For Small Business, The 8(a) Program, and the
Certificate of Competency program.
The purpose of small business set-asides is to award certain acquisitions
exclusively to small business concerns.  The determination to set-aside a
procurement for small business can be made unilaterally by the Contracting
Officer.  Alternatively, it may be a joint determination made on the basis
of recommendations from the SBA procurement center representative.  Once the
product or service has been acquired successfully by a Contracting Officer
on the basis of a small business set-aside, all future requirements are, in
general, acquired on the basis of a repetitive set-aside.  Set-asides are
described in detail in the FAR at subpart 19.5.
Section a (a) of the Small Business Act established a program that authorizes
SBA to enter into contracts directly with agencies such as the Navy. The
work is actually performed by contractors under subcontract to SBA. SBA's.
subcontractors are referred to as "8(a) contractors." Under the program,
SBA certifies to the Navy prior to award that the SBA subcontractor is
competent and capable of performing the contract. The Contracting Officer
is authorized at his or her discretion to award the contract to the SBA on
mutually agreeable terms and conditions.  The 8(a) program is discussed in
detail in the FAR at subpart 19.8.
5-340 Certificate of Competency.  SBA has established a Certificate of
Competency (COC) program. This program is intended to assure that small
businesses, especially new entrants into the federal procurement market, are
afforded a fair opportunity to receive Government contracts. Under the
program, if a small business offeror is to be rejected because of a finding
of nonresponsibility, the Contracting Officer must refer the matter to SBA
for a determination of responsibility.  The award is held in abeyance while
SBA is determining responsibility.  During the COC review process, SBA will
not conduct a new responsibility review of the prospective contractor.
After the receipt of a referral from the Contracting Officer, SBA will
contact the small business to determine if it wants to appeal the negative
determination concerning its responsibility by applying for a CDC.  If the
business applies, SBA is required within 15 working days after receipt of
the referral or a longer period agreed to by the SBA and the Contracting
Officer, to determine independently whether the small business is capable of
performing the work in question. If SBA determines that the business is
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