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VA begins set-asides for vet-owned businesses.

The Veterans Affairs Department has launched its "Veterans First" contracting program, giving preference in all procurements to service-disabled veteran-owned firms and those owned by other veterans.

The program was implemented June 20 under a provision of the Veterans Benefits, Healthcare and Information Technology Act passed by Congress last year.

In a memo to VA managers, Deputy Secretary Gordon Mansfield wrote, "I expect each of you to fully embrace the spirit and intent of this law and advance veteran entrepreneurial opportunities within VA."

According to guidance issued by VA's Acquisition Resources Service, SDVs are first in line for contracts, followed by non-disabled vets. The program allows sole-source awards up to $5 million to those firms. It gives SDVs first priority for competitive small business set-asides, followed by other veteran-owned businesses.

In addition, contracting officers may give extra credit to veteran-owned firms in solicitations that are not set aside for them and to any offeror that proposes to use a veteran-owned company as a subcontractor.

Joint ventures are permitted between veteran-owned businesses and other small firms not owned by veterans.

To be eligible, veteran-owned small businesses, including SDV firms, must register in the department's Vendor Information Program at www.vetbiz.gov as well as in the Central Contractor Registration.

The department's guidance did not specify a goal for contracting with veteran-owned companies. The law directed the VA secretary to set a goal.

Preliminary 2006 figures showed the department spent about 3% of its prime contract dollars with SDV companies and about 5% with other veteran-owned firms. (SAA, 1/12)
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Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Date:Jun 29, 2007
Words:257
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