GUAM – The military buildup on Guam offers local businesses a remarkable opportunity to take part in the expansion, yet the federal contracting process often seems unreachable to many small businesses. In Guam, veteran-owned businesses thrive as local retired military personnel branch out into entrepreneurship.
In the series Federal Government Contracting 101, GuamBuildupNews.com analysts take small businesses through the contracting process and toward lucrative government work.
Volume 6 discusses the newest set aside program for small businesses: service-disabled veteran-owned small business.
Volume 6: Explaining the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Designation
Despite its convoluted name, the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program (SDVOSBP) is a simple way for Guam businesses to enter the federal contracting market during the buildup. The veteran-owned segment of island businesses has a great opportunity to benefit during the military expansion on Guam.
Due to the significant military presence on island, it comes as no surprise that Guam has a considerable number of retired military personnel. Likewise, Guam also has a high number of veteran-owned businesses.
The military buildup is good news for veteran-owned businesses, because the federal government wants to do business with them — and even more so with service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.
Recognizing the sacrifices made by veterans in service to the United States, many federal agencies such as the Department of Defense (DoD) have made it a policy to aggressively target veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Moreover, Presidential Executive Order 13360 specifically calls for a “significant increase” in federal contracting and subcontracting opportunities for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses on behalf of all federal agencies. As such, the DoD’s goal is to make prime federal contracting and subcontracting opportunities more available to these businesses, with the award goal being 3 percent of all U.S. Government contracts. To reach that goal, the federal government routinely issues SDVOB set asides—an exclusivity that is too good to pass up.
This targeted approach to veterans is good news for Guam, as its significant number of veteran-owned businesses will likely keep SDVO sole-source contracts and set asides local during the buildup.
A company is eligible for the EDVOB Program if it is:
• Classified as a small business per the SBA as determined by North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) code.
• Owned and operated at least 51 percent by a Service-Disabled veteran.
• Managed and controlled daily by one or more service-disabled veterans.
A service-disabled veteran is one who has served in the active military, naval, or air service who was released under any condition other than dishonorable, and whose disability was incurred in the line of military, naval, or air service. The veteran must have an adjudication letter from the Veterans Administration (VA) or similar armed forces documentation stating that he or she has a service-related disability.
There is no “minimum disability” qualifier, meaning the number of veteran-owned businesses that could qualify for service-disabled veteran-owned business status may be significant. Even so, the numbers suggest that many may not realize that they qualify.
As for certifying that your business is service-disabled veteran-owned, there is no formal process. Local businesses basically self-represent their status to obtain federal contracts. However, when competing for SDVO set asides, it is important to note that the contracting officer or any interested party may protest the status of any SDVO business and request verification.
Joint ventures may also bid on SDVO set asides, even if one company is not veteran owned.
Assistance for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses
Veterans can visit the DoD’s Office of Small Business Programs Web site for more information, or visit the Guam Veterans Business Outreach Center.
Guam’s Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) is a community-based project that provides business and technical assistance for veterans starting or expanding a business. The VBOC collaborates with the University of Guam Small Business Development Center and Guam’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to assist veteran-owned businesses through every stage of the business cycle.
To compete in the federal contracting market, a SDVO business must self-certify its status and register with the government’s Central Contractor Registration (CCR). After a bid is placed, the SDVO business will need to fill out an Online Representations and Certifications Application. To register your business online, visit the Government’s Business Partner Network at http://www.bpn.gov.
Veteran-Owned Business Concerns
Another small business classification is a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) concern. Veteran-Owned businesses cannot bid on SDVO set asides, but the FAR requires federal agencies to actively encourage prime contractors to use VOSBs as subcontractors. Any contract over $100,000 includes a clause that requires the prime contractor to provide “maximum practicable opportunity” to VOSBs in regards to subcontracts.
GuamBuildupNews.com will continue to demystify government contracting in our multi-part series Federal Government Contracting 101.