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Small Business & VA FSS Purchasing

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the premier advocates of small businesses.  While small business set-asides are not allowed under the VA Federal Supply Schedules Program, we seek to utilize small businesses as much as possible.

In fact, for purchases made under the VA Federal Supply Schedule Program, VA ordering facilities may:

  1. Consider socioeconomic status when identifying contractors for consideration or competition for award of an order or Schedule BPA; and
  2. Include socioeconomic status as an evaluation criteria and subsequently sued as a primary evaluation factor in source selection

Additionally, VA and GSA Schedule Programs recommend that, at a minimum, ordering activities consider at least one of each of the following: small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, women-owned small business, economically disadvantaged women-owned small business, and a small disadvantaged small business (including 8(a)).  When an order exceeds the micropurchase threshold ($3,000), and two or more items at the same delivered price will satisfy the requirement, the ordering activity should give preference to the item offered by the small business.

VA Schedule orders placed with small businesses may be reported as accomplishments toward an ordering activity’s small business goals; therefore it is to their benefit to place orders with various small businesses and socioeconomic categories.

VA ordering activities are not authorized to restrict competition and/or award sole source contracts to small business concerns for orders placed against mandatory VA Schedule contracts (Schedules 65 & 66), and must use the authorities in FAR 8.405-6(b) for these types of sole source actions.  For VA FSS actions made under the non-mandatory 621 Schedules, ordering activities are required to include SDVOSB and VOSB evaluation factors.  The remaining socioeconomic categories are given preference in the following order: Section 8(a), HUBZone small businesses, and any other small business contracting preference, including women-owned small businesses.  It should be noted that orders placed through the VA Prime Vendor program do not count towards small business goals, unless the Prime Vendor is a small business.

The VA offers two small business set-aside SINs under the 65IIA Medical Equipment & Supplies Schedule: A-13(a) Sterile Latex Gloves, and A-13(c) Non-Sterile Latex Gloves.  When releasing an RFQ within the scope of these SINs, ordering activities can be assured that all responsive contractors submitting a quote will be small businesses.  Ordering activities may include service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned small business as an evaluation factor for RFQs for these set-aside SINs.

To learn more about how the VA utilizes small business or the VA Mentor-Protégé Program, visit the VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization page.

Please contact the VA FSS Help Desk to discuss this issue further or for additional information.

 

- VA FSS Service

(p) 708 786 7737

(e) helpdesk.ammhinfss@va.gov

(w) http://www.fss.va.gov

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