Continuing our week-long series focusing the Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) small business development programs – today we take a look at programs specifically created to benefit service-disabled veterans of the United States military (the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business programs, or more commonly, “SDVOSB”).
Just as with the SBA’s 8(a) program that we discussed yesterday, the key feature of the SDVOSB programs is the ability to access government contracts specifically set aside (or even sole-source awarded) only to qualifying members. Note: I say SDVOSB programs (plural) because both the SBA and the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) operate programs design to promote participation by small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.
The SDVOSB requirements are fairly straightforward – but as discussed below, there are a few questions you’ll want to be sure you can answer before you move forward. A business likely qualifies for the programs if:
• It is a small business under the industry classification assigned to the particular contract being pursued;
• It is unconditionally owned (at least 51%) by a service-disabled veteran of the U.S. military; and
• It is unconditionally controlled by a service-disabled veteran of the U.S. military.
A few interesting points – while it may seem obvious, you’ll want to be sure that you actually qualify as a service-disabled veteran. Most notably – at least for purposes of the SDVOSB programs – this requires obtaining written documentation from either the VA or the Department of Defense.
If your small business meets the requirements outlined above, you should be in a good position to seek SDVOSB set-aside contracts through the SBA program (which permits self-certification). However, set-aside contracts through the VA program (which has dynamic policies favoring SDVOSB firms) require pre-verification through the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (“VIP”) database.
As with all of small business programs we’ll discuss this week, it is important to carefully review all SDVOSB requirements and make sure that you comply before seeking the award of a set-aside contract. Incorrect certifications can lead not only to losing a contract – but also to suspension, debarment, and even Civil False Claims Act liability.
I hope that you’ll return to the Blog tomorrow, as I continue this series by focusing in on the SBA’s HUBZone Program.