The Department’s Veteran and Small Business Programs implement the requirements to aid, counsel, assist, and protect the interests of Veteran and Small Business concerns to ensure that a fair proportion of total purchases, contracts, and subcontracts for property and services for VA are placed with Veteran and Small Businesses. For acquisition purposes, Veteran and Small Businesses must be independently owned and operated, not dominant in the field of operation in which they are bidding on Government contracts, and otherwise qualify as Small Businesses under the criteria and size standards developed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
This program requires agencies to limit competition on certain contracts to qualified Small Businesses so that small firms do not have to compete with large ones for the same contracts. However, because the law requires the Government to buy at competitive prices, contracts are set aside when two Small Businesses are expected to submit offers to ensure adequate competition. SBA establishes size standards that determine a firm’s eligibility to competitive offers in terms of market price, quality, and delivery. These standards are established on an industry-by-industry basis, using dollar volume of sales or number of employees, to determine eligibility.
“Nonmanufacturer rule” means that a contractor under a small business set-aside contract shall be a small business under the applicable size standard and shall provide either its own product or that of another domestic small business manufacturing or processing concern (see 13 CFR 121.406, FAR 19.001 and the Nonmanufacturer Rule Fact Sheet (pdf 20.6k)).