In FY2014, the federal government awarded $445.6 billion in contracts, with $91.7 billion awarded to small businesses. In the same year, veteran-owned small businesses received $19.0 billion in contracts.
Veterans are 9.1 percent of all business owners in the United States. The federal government is committed to seeking veteran owned small-businesses (VOSB) to buy from. There are two main programs in use today. The first is the Small Business Administration’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Concern Program. Passed in 2003, this procurement program states that federal contracting officers may limit competition to SDVOSBs and award a contract as sole source or set-aside contract where certain conditions are met. The SBA’s goal for SDVOSBcontract awards is 3 percent government-wide. Procurement setasides and sole source contracting are on an equal footing with the SBA’s other special focus small business procurement programs which are 8(a), HUBZone, and Women-Owned-Small-Business.
In 2006, Congress authorized the Veterans Administration to have its own veterans contracting program, known as the Veterans First Contracting Program. The VA states that “A new procurement hierarchy within VA for open market procurement was created which places highest priority with SDVOBs followed by VOSBs. These are followed by 8(a), HUBZone, Women-Owned Small Businesses, and then all other small businesses. This procurement authority, and its subsequent implementation, is a logical extension of VA’s mission, to care for the Nation’s Veterans.”
Each program is different in how the status of the veteran owned business is determined. The SBA’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program is self-certifying. You, not a third party, validate your claim to be a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. It requires three steps: 1) certifying your eligibility as an SDVOSB when registering your business in the System for Award Management (SAM) web site; 2) certifying your military service; and 3) validating your Service-Connected Disability.
To be able to participate in the VA Veterans First Contracting Program, veteran business owners must first be verified by the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE). The CVE provides a four-step Verification Application Process: 1. Pre-Application (Has the Veteran compiled all required documents to apply for verification?); 2. Eligibility (Are the Veteran and company eligible to apply?); 3. Ownership (Is the company at least 51 percent owned by one or more Veterans or Service Disabled Veterans?); and 4. Control (Does the Veteran owner have full decision-making authority and managerial experience to manage the business?).
The VA had the second highest amount of all federal agencies in total dollars awarded to VOSB and SDVOSB. Only the Department of Defense spending was higher. For more information about the SBA SDVOSB program, go to http://www.sba.gov/sdvosb.
For information about the VA Veterans First Contracting Program, go to http://www.va.gov/osdbu/verification.
For more information about how the UGA SBDC can assist veterans, CLICK HERE.
(Source: Peter Rassel, Consultant, UGA SBDC at Georgia State University)