Back to Basics: Veteran-Owned Businesses and SDVOSB Eligibility

To honor the sacrifice made by our country’s veterans, the federal government has made it a priority to set aside federal contracting opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). To qualify for these opportunities, businesses must meet certain specifications in ownership and control. Let’s take a quick look at some the general qualifications needed to qualify as an SDVOSB and bid on SDVOSB set-aside contracts.

Continue reading

Breaking: SBA Issues Veteran-Owned Certification Rules, Will Eliminate SDVOSB Self-Certification

The SBA has issued its draft rules on how it will go about certifying Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) and Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs). Below, we highlight some of the main components of these rules. The changes stem from Congress’s requirement in the 2021 NDAA to to eliminate SDVOSB self-certification and adopt a government-wide SDVOSB certification requirement, while transferring control of the certification process from the VA to the SBA. For the most part, SBA has taken a simple approach, combining its existing rules on eligibility with much of the application procedures from VA. But the details do matter, and below we’ll walk through some of them.

Continue reading

Control Matters: For SDVOSB Companies, Pay Attention to Appearances as Well as Realities

The case of Superior Optical Labs, Inc. (Superior) v. United States focuses on the control of a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and how that control, or more precisely, lack of control, can disqualify an SDVOSB with 69% service-disabled veteran ownership from a solicitation set aside for SDVOSBs. This particular Solicitation was set aside entirely for an SDVOSB to provide prescription eyeglasses and related services through the Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN). Superior was awarded the contract, which was then protested by PDS Consultants, Inc. (PDS) challenged the SDVOSB eligibility of Superior. In the end, OHA held that Superior did not qualify as a SDVOSB for purposes of the procurement due to a lack of control as required by SBA rules. PDS then challenged OHA’s decision at the Court of Federal Claims.

Continue reading

Recent Task Force Meeting Underscores Challenges Facing SDVOSB Transfer from VA to SBA

Sometimes, task force meetings are held just for the sake of having meetings. However, on June 2nd and 3rd the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development (IATF) and Advisory Committee on Veterans Business Affairs (ACVBA) met to discuss important issues facing small businesses. This shed much needed light on the issues fast approaching and what steps the SBA needs to take.

The main topic of discussion was the pending CVE transfer. The transfer, as I soon found out, is deceptively complex. In a separate point, SBA noted that the Biden Administration announced it will use the purchase power of the federal government to make more awards to disadvantaged businesses, raising the target from 5% to 10%.

The star of the show, however, was the CVE transfer. So, what does this mean for you?

Continue reading

Congress Approves Government-wide SDVOSB Certification Requirement; Transfers CVE to SBA

The House and Senate have agreed to eliminate service-disabled veteran-owned small business self-certification and adopt a government-wide SDVOSB certification requirement, while transferring control of the certification process from the VA to the SBA.

The Conference Report on the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act would require government-wide SDVOSB certification (eventually) and transfer control of the the Center for Verification and Evaluation from the VA to the SBA. Assuming the President signs the bill into law (which, unlike the typical NDAA, remains to seen), SDVOSB self-certification–which is still the law for non-VA contracts–is on its way out.

Continue reading

Joint Ventures: Is “Unequivocal Control” Required?

Fans of the blog know that we’re wild about joint ventures: they allow small business contractors to use their size status while, at the same time, leveraging their joint venture partner’s experience and capabilities.

But joint ventures—particularly joint ventures under one of the SBA’s socioeconomic programs—can be tricky to create. For joint ventures between a small and a large company, the venturers first need an approved mentor-protégé agreement. And regardless, for the joint venture to qualify under a socioeconomic designation, that joint venture must have a compliant agreement.

But that’s still not enough to create a compliant joint venture. As a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision explains, the small business venturer must unequivocally control the joint venture.

Continue reading

SDVOSB Regulations Reveal Typo in Exceptions to Ownership Conditions

As we’ve written about on the blog, SDVOSB regulations were consolidated under the SBA’s rules beginning October 1, 2018, and those changes included some good and bad changes. We recently noticed a single letter in one of the changes that, while most likely a typo, could potentially affect the meaning of one part of the new regulation.

Continue reading