SAN DIEGO, CA.  Veteran business owners interested in the Vets First Contracting Program, now have local resources to help them apply for the Vets First Verification Program. Although the program is attractive to many veteran business owners, the verification process can be intimidating. “The complexity of government often discourages people from taking advantage of these great programs, “ stated Rachel Fischer, Interim Director of the San Diego Contracting Opportunities Center (SDCOC). “This is the main reason we had four of our staff members trained in the Vets First Verification Counseling Program this year.  These staff members are now certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as Verification Assistance Partners and can help guide applicants through the verification process,” she added.
Approved veterans stand to receive access to set-aside and sole source contracting opportunities, along with subcontracting opportunities through the VA. These are contracts that only verified veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) can qualify for. To participate in the Vets First Program, veterans must first set up a profile in the VA’s Center for Verification VIP system and then complete the electronic Verification application (VA form 0877). The application must demonstrate that the small business is at least 51% veteran or service-disabled veteran owned and controlled.
SDCOC, located in Mission Valley, has a long history of assisting small businesses in how to do business with federal, state and local government agencies. Since 1995, the SDCOC has assisted over 10,000 businesses. Individual consulting is the hallmark of the program and this strategy has yielded impressive results. In the last five years, SDCOC clients have generated over $775 million in contract awards, creating nearly 5,200 jobs.



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