what is the VO/SDVO set-aside?
Although there is technically no standard set-side percentage for just veteran-owned companies, the federal government tries to award at least three percent of all federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses each year.
The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business program. Joining the disabled veterans' business program makes your business eligible to compete for the program's set-aside contracts. Keep in mind, you can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs you qualify for. Proclaiming this set-aside is relatively straight-forward as you can just mark it on your SAM registration.
However, most actual veteran set-asides revolve around the Department of Veterans' Affairs, which has a much more potent and restrictive program called the Vets First Verification Program. The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-461) provides the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with unique authority for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) set-aside and sole source contracts.
This procurement authority, and its subsequent implementation, is a logical extension of VA's mission to care for our Nation's Veterans. VA refers to this program as the Veterans First Contracting Program.
The Vets First Verification Program affords verified firms owned and controlled by Veterans and Service-disabled Veterans the opportunity to compete for VA set asides. During Verification, the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) verifies SDVOSBs/VOSBs according to the tenets found in Title 38 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 74 that address Veteran eligibility, ownership, and control. In order to qualify for participation in the Veterans First Contracting Program, eligible SDVOSBs/VOSBs must first be verified. You can click on the link to the right get started on applying for this program if eligible.
can my business get the VO/SDVO set-aside?
A common misconception of veteran- or service-disabled veteran-owned status is that just having one of the principals of the business -- or even a majority of veteran employees -- can qualify your business. Like most personal set-asides (minority, woman-owned, etc), the veteran-owned status applies to a single principle that owns and operates at least 51% of the business. As such, it cannot be combined with other set-asides unless the set-aside applies to a single person (So, for example, a business cannot have a woman principle with 50% ownership and a service-disabled veteran-owned principle with 50% ownership and get both woman-owned and SDVO set-asides. In fact, this business would not qualify for either).
In order to weed out fraud, the Department of Veterans' Affairs goes through a much more extensive check on whether a business qualifies for the set-aside. As part of the MyVA Verification Process, applicants move through four stages: Intake, Assessment, Federal Review, and Decision. The link to the right provides more information and starts you in on the path toward gain verification.
If you are having trouble or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us for additional support. Some assistance -- such a personalized attention or consulting referrals -- may require your company to becoming a member of the Chamber. Feel free to click on the below button to go to our contact page and reach out to us.
Applying to the Vets First Verification Program
Click the Button to Get Started!