Back to Basics: Top Five Things About SDVOSBs and VOSBs

You’ve served your country with pride. Now, as a government contractor, it’s only fair that you get your piece of the pie. Previously, we here at SmallGovCon have discussed the 5 things you should know regarding SDVOSBs and VOSBs. But in the years since that, much has changed in the world of SDVOSBs and VOSBs. So here are five updated basics you should know about the government’s contracting program for veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses:

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SBA Provides Answers on Vets Certification Program Roll-Out in Q&A Session

On December 6, 2022, the SBA held a virtual Q&A session to discuss the roll-out of the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) certification program. They will be assuming responsibility as of January 2023 and the SBA will begin accepting applications for certification on January 9, 2023. Through the Q&A session, the SBA provided some tips for contractors, an explanation of the processes that are controlling the SBA’s SDVOSB and VOSB certification program, and even gave attendees a preview of the software that will be used. Of course, SmallGovCon was there to get all the details so that we can break them down for you.

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SBA Issues Final Rule on SDVOSB Certification

SBA has issued its final rule for its takeover of the Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Certification program. The rule will have an effective date of January 1, 2023. We discussed the proposed rule in our post here. Below are a few key takeaways from the final version of the rule.

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Franchise-Type Agreement Sinks SDVOSB Application

One of the key criteria for being a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) is, as you might expect, that a service-disabled veteran control the company. Under Small Business Administration rules, an agreement similar to a franchise agreement can render an SDVOSB applicant ineligible, because the franchisor restrictions on the actions of the company are too strong. A recent case reminds us of the control imposed by these types of arrangements.

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A Helpful Guide: The VA’s Memorandum on the New Certification System

As many of you likely already know, back in late 2020, Congress made two changes to the SDVOSB program when it passed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act. First, all SDVOSBs will be required to certify with the government starting on January 1, 2023. Second, the responsibility for conducting SDVOSB certification will transfer from the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) to the SBA. Seems simply enough, but, obviously, this raises some questions: What if a SDVOSB is already certified with CVE? How much time do self-certified SDVOSBs have to act? Will the CVE still be accepting applications in the meantime? Helpfully, the VA has produced some guidance, and in this post we’re going to expand on it.

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Open to Interpretation? Don’t Guess if Your Joint Venture Agreement Plays by the Rules

A recent SBA decision showcased the strict manner in which SBA interprets its joint venture agreement rules. After an agency awarded a contract to a joint venture entity, SBA determined the joint venture was ineligible due to fairly small deficiencies in a joint venture agreement. It’s a situation that no federal contractor wants to encounter. SBA requires strict adherence to the requirements that must be contained in nearly all joint venture agreements. Unfortunately, one company learned this lesson the hard way.

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SDVOSB Owner Avoids Brewing Up Trouble with a Second Job

In a recent SBA decision, SBA’s judges had the opportunity to review three different simultaneous challenges to whether a service-disabled veteran controlled a SDVOSB. Because there were three different challenges reviewed at once, SBA took a deep dive into the SDVOSB certification standards around the requirement of control of a SDVOSB. With such a deep dive, SBA provided some explanations of SDVOSB control concepts that could be helpful to contactors looking to certify or re-certify as an SDVOSB. In these cases, a SDVSOB owner had a second job, and job experience in a different field, but SBA found the owner had the necessary control over the SDVOSB to remain certified.

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