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Veteran-Owned Businesses: Verify or Miss Out on Vets First Contracts

By, Diana Leonardo, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Account Manager, GSA Federal Acquisition Service


Are you a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Verified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOSB) or Veteran Owned Small Businesses (VOSB)? If that doesn’t sound familiar (or you can’t find yourself on the VIP list located at https://www.vip.vetbiz.gov/), please read more to find out how you can qualify for the Vets First Verification Program. Signing up is the only way to make sure you’re qualified for the VA’s Veterans First Contracting Program and aren’t missing out on important business opportunities.


A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has affected a key Department of Veterans Affairs contracting policy. Changes have been put in place aimed at both strengthening and enhancing the VA’s use of set-asides to the SDVOSB and VOSB communities under the authority of the Veterans First Contracting Program. The VA’s revised procedures affect all competitive VA contract actions, including those conducted using GSA’s Federal Supply Schedules (FSS).


The Veterans First Contracting Program allows the VA to set aside specific procurement opportunities for verified SDVOSB and VOSB firms. The Vets First Verification Program ensures that set-aside funds are awarded to accredited firms legitimately owned and controlled by Veterans and Service-Disabled Veterans.


In other words, in order to be given preference under the Veterans First Contracting Program, SDVOSBs and VOSBs must be verified in the VA Vendor Information Pages (VIP) database. Vendors that are Veteran-owned, but don’t go through this verification process, can’t be listed in the VIP database and will lose out on business opportunities only available through the Veterans First Contracting Program.


A guide explaining the Veterans First Contracting Program and the Verification process can be found online at https://www.va.gov/osdbu/docs/VerificationInitialAppGuide2016_Final.pdf.  The VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization website has more information, too, including a link that offers assistance for every step of the verification process.

If you need further assistance in applying for Vets First Verification, VA Certified Counselors are available. Please visit https://www.va.gov/osdbu/verification/assistance/counselors.asp for more information. Again, it’s important that all SDVOSBs and VOSBs get verified in the VA VIP database - you won’t be able to take advantage of the Veterans First Contract Program business opportunities without it.  Get verified today!



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What are the resources available within the GSA to become a vendor as a SDVOSB? Does the GSA match SDVOSBs with potential service and product providers?
Luis Medina
<p>Please visit our website at <a href="http://www.gsa.gov/sdvosb">http://www.gsa.gov/sdvosb</a>&nbsp;for more information. &nbsp;</p>
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