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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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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Federal Court Confirms Strict SDVOSB Unconditional Ownership Requirements

As we’ve discussed, the SBA will soon take the reins over from VA to run the certification process for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) and Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs). Self-certification for SDVOSBs will go away on December 31, 2023, so be sure to get your SDVOSB ownership and control documents up to snuff in order to stay compliant with the SDVOSB rules. One of those rules concerns unconditional ownership by the veteran. A recent federal court case sheds some additional light on that topic, as explored in this post.

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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.

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Keep Registrations in SAM Current to Avoid Loss of SDVOSB Verification

The decision in Bravo Federal Consulting, LLC, SBA No. CVE-213 (Dec. 1, 2021) is both an important reminder of the importance of keeping all database information up to date and a cautionary tale of the unfortunate consequences that can happen when you don’t. In that decision, SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) denied an appeal by Bravo Federal Consulting, LLC (Bravo). Bravo submitted a request to change its name, setting off a chain of events that ended in Bravo losing its verified status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB). 

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Franchise Agreement Terms Sink Company’s SDVOSB Application

It’s a refrain that my colleagues and I have often heard: if you’re a franchisee, it can be really, really hard–perhaps almost impossible–to be verified as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business.

A recent case demonstrates the difficulties in obtaining SDVOSB status as a franchisee. In the case, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the Center for Verification and Eligibility had correctly denied a company’s SDVOSB application because, in the eyes of the CVE and SBA, the terms of the franchise agreement impeded the veteran’s control of the company.

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