Stolen Valor is a topic that can raise the blood pressure of both Veterans and non-Veterans alike. Most of the time, these acts only bring shame to the person claiming to be something they are not. In some cases, however, they actually take money away from a Veteran trying to earn a living.
One of the ways this happens is by claiming to be a Veteran-owned small business in order to get set-aside contracts and other business opportunities intended solely for Veteran business owners. Until a few years ago, all a business owner had to do was check a box self-certifying their selves as Veteran-owned business. No one checked.
That is no longer the case at VA. Small business owners who wish to pursue VA set-aside procurement opportunities must be verified as a service-disabled Veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) or Veteran-owned small business (VOSB) by the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE).
The verification program was established to reduce the number of businesses that were fraudulently claiming Veteran status, as well as protect the competitive edge that Veteran small businesses VA set-aside contracts provide to the Veteran-owned small businesses.
The verification program has a strict and rigorous process to ensure businesses are in fact owned and controlled by a Veteran, or multiple Veterans. To assist firms interested in applying for verification, CVE has established a Verification Assistance Program which includes verification assistance briefs, fact sheets, and FAQs, covering every aspect of regulation CFR 38 Part 74 and the verification process. You can find it all on the http://www.vetbiz.gov website.
One key element of the program is application assistance. CVE has developed a partnership to grow and sustain an inventory of verification assistance counselors. Referred to as CVE Certified Verification Assistance Counselors, these individuals provide “no-cost” assistance to Veterans throughout the verification application process. Counselors are located nationwide, and only those listed on CVE’s website are provided continued training and support, and endorsed by CVE. Veterans have reported paying as much as $20,000 for similar services. Through CVE, these services are free.
CVE has also begun hosting Verification Program webinars and virtual town halls to provide comprehensive information to potential new applicants, firms re-verifying, and those who have achieved verification. CVE also uses these sessions to get feedback from its customers. The schedule of webinars includes:
- 1st Tuesday of each month – Preparing for Re-verification Webinar & Town Hall
- This training is designed for firms whose verification will expire in 5 months or thirty days.
- 3rd Tuesday of each month – Pre-Application Webinar & Town Hall
- This training is designed for firms interested in submitted their first CVE Verification application. Also, firms who have been inactive in the program for some time and now desire to submit an application can also benefit from this session.
- 4th Tuesday of each month – How to stay Verified Webinar & Town Hall
- This training is designed for firms who have been verified in the last six months.
To learn more about CVE and the verification program, please connect via http://www.vetbiz.gov or via social media channels:
Firms who have started the Verification process can contact CVE’s Customer Service Contact Center at (866) 584-2344, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For an update on your application, please contact CVE by phone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog was written by Mr. Purvis Broughton. Purvis is a retired Veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving 28 years. As the Verification Support Team Leader, he is responsible for Veteran facing support services for the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) to include the Help Desk/Call Center, Verification Assistance Program, Customer Relations, Verification Program familiarization briefings, Verification Program Training, and coordination with Contracting Officers regarding the Verification Program.