SBA No. VSBC-321, 20232023 WL 8798603December 4, 2023

SBA No. VSBC-321, 2023 (S.B.A.), 2023 WL 8798603
Small Business Administration (S.B.A.)
Office of Hearings and Appeals
[Veteran Small Business Certification]
*1 SBA No. VSBC-321-P
*1 Solicitation No. 36CT0B23R0011
*1 December 4, 2023

*1 Department of Veterans Affairs

*1 Technology Acquisition Center

*1 On November 7, 2023, Freedom Technology Partners, LLC (Protestor) filed the above-captioned protest, challenging the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) status of seven (7) joint venture awardees of Solicitation No. 36C10B23R0011. The Contracting Officer (CO) forwarded the protest to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).
*1 On November 20, 2023, OHA ordered Protestor to show cause, no later than November 28, 2023, why the protest should not be dismissed as nonspecific. (Order at 1.) OHA explained that, under applicable regulations, a proper SDVOSB status protest must include “[s]pecific allegations supported by credible evidence that the [challenged] concern (or joint venture) does not meet the VOSB or SDVOSB eligibility requirements listed in [13 C.F.R.] part 128”. (Order at 1, quoting 13 C.F.R. § 134.1005(a)(2).) A nonspecific protest will be dismissed. (Id., citing 13C.F.R. § 134.1007(b).)
*1 OHA noted the Protestor filed a protest against the following business concerns:
*1 ITechJV, LLC
*1 Canopy Health, LLC
*1 NxG Solutions, LLC
*1 RP and Partners, LLC
*1 T4 Designs, LLC
*1 VCH Partners LLC
*1 (Protest at 2.) The Protest alleges the seven joint venture awardees fail to “meet the applicable eligibility requirements for SDVOSB (or VOSB) status because they are not designated in the VetCert database.” (Id) Although Protestor questioned whether any of the seven joint ventures are an eligible SDVOSB joint venture, Protestor does not identify any parties to the joint ventures, nor any reason(s) to believe the seven joint ventures are not in compliance with specific joint venture requirements at 13 C.F.R. § 128.402. Indeed, Protestor makes no reference at all to any eligibility criteria in 13 C.F.R. part 128. OHA further notes Protestor provides screenshot images from the VetCert database but fails to consider VetCert's self-certification option afforded to business concerns.
*1 On November 28, 2023, Protestor filed a response and asserts “while it is true that SDVOSBs may self-certify until December 31, 2023 for all other agency procurements, there is no self-certification option for VA procurements.” (Response at 1.) Citing VA regulations, Protestor asserts “a joint venture seeking SDVOSB status in a VA procurement ‘may be considered eligible’ if it meets the requirements 13 C.F.R. part 128 and the ‘managing joint venture partner makes the representations under paragraph (b) of this section’ - including that, at the time of proposal submission and award, ‘the offeror must represent to the contracting officer that it is a ... Certified SDVOSB/VOSB listed in the SBA certification database at ....”’ (Id. at 3, citing 48 C.F.R. VAAR 819.7003(b)-(c).) (Emphasis Protestor's.) Protestor concludes “each of these joint ventures was required to be designated in the VetCert database in order to be eligible for award ... [b]ecause the joint ventures were not so designated, they were not eligible for award.” (Response at 4.)
*2 Protestor is accurate in its assertion that “VA contracts” are exempt from SBA's self-certification for SDVOSB sole source or set-aside contracts. 13 C.F.R. § 128.401(a). However, Protestor has failed to show how its protest complies with OHA's procedural regulations set for an SDVOSB status protest. Under OHA regulations “a protest merely asserting that the protested concern is not an eligible VOSB or SDVOSB, without setting forth specific facts or allegations, is insufficient.” 13 C.F.R. 134.1005(a)(2). Further, OHA case law has determined “merely providing documents without specifying the allegations is insufficient.” VSBC Protest of Tomahawk Sourcing, LLC, SBA No. VSBC-318-P (2023) (finding protest nonspecific where protestor asserted the business concern was not a SDVOSB by providing an unverified screenshot where the business concern identified itself as a “Self Certified Small Disadvantaged Business”); see also CVE Protest of Veterans Command, LLC, SBA No. CVE-191-P, at 5 (2021) (dismissing allegations of unusual reliance upon a non-SDVOSB subcontractor when the protestor “offer[ed] no evidence, nor even any specific theory, as to how or why [the challenged firm] might be unable to perform the primary and vital contract requirements or would be unduly reliant upon a non-SDVOSB subcontractor”). Here, Protestor fails to offer credible evidence to assert the seven joint ventures are not owned and/or controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans.
*2 Further, Protestor relies on VA regulations to assert the seven joint ventures are not SDVOSBs because they are not present in the VetCert database; however, Protestor fails to bring allegations under the SBA regulations that govern SDVOSBs. Specifically, Protestor fails to make a valid assertion that the seven joint ventures are non-compliant with any of the SDVOSB eligibility criteria set forth in 13 C.F.R. part 128, nor show how each business concern fails to meet SBA joint venture requirements under 13 C.F.R § 128.402. Indeed, Protestor concedes the governing authority to certify a business concern is under SBA regulations. (Response at 2-3.) Thus, I find Protestor has failed to establish that the instant protest is specific.
*2 For the above reasons, the protest is DISMISSED. This is the final agency action of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 15 U.S.C. § 657f(f)(6)(A); 13 C.F.R. § 134.1007(b).
*2 Christopher Holleman
*2 Administrative Judge


This protest is decided under the Small Business Act of 1958, 15 U.S.C. § 657f and 13 C.F.R. Part 134 Subpart J.
SBA No. VSBC-321, 2023 (S.B.A.), 2023 WL 8798603
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