The State of Ohio’s Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (VBE) procurement program provides preference or bonus points to certified companies that compete to contract with the state to supply the goods or services it needs, including eligible construction services.
The Ohio departments of Administrative Services (DAS) and Transportation developed the program, launched in April 2017 following a statutory requirement adopted by the 131st General Assembly in 2015. The VBE procurement program established applicant eligibility requirements, certification procedures for applicants and for applying a preference to bids or proposals for state contracts submitted by VBEs. Since its inception, there are approximately 140 veteran-certified businesses in Ohio.
Eligible businesses must be in good standing with federal, state and local governments, and provide DAS with a copy of a record verifying veteran status or documentation demonstrating active service for each employee, partner, member, or director. To be eligible for certification into the program, a business must satisfy one of the following requirements:
- At least 10 percent of its employees must either be veterans or on active service;
- At least 51 percent of the business must be owned by veterans or persons on active service;
- If the business is a corporation NOT 51 percent owned by veterans or active-duty personnel, at least 51 percent of their board of directors must be in that status; and
- The business must be certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business or veteran-owned small business and the owner(s) of the business meets the definition of veteran as defined in Rule 123:5-1-01(II) of the Ohio Administrative Code.
The program allows prices on bids submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to be five percent higher than bids submitted by businesses not certified as veteran-friendly, and scores on proposals submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to be up to five percent lower than their non-veteran-friendly counterparts. The VBE program is race- and gender-neutral. At this time, there is no specific set-aside percentage or goal associated with the program.
The VBE program is one of three business preference programs administered by the DAS Equal Opportunity Division. The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program establishes a 15 percent set-aside procurement goal for state agencies, boards and commissions in awarding contracts to MBE-certified businesses. The MBE program is designed to assist certified minority businesses in gaining state contracts for goods and services, which can include information technology and other professional services.
The Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) program is designed to assist socially and economically disadvantaged businesses in obtaining state government contracts in the following areas: construction, architecture and engineering; professional services; goods and services; and information technology services. The Ohio Revised Code establishes agency procurement goals based on the availability of EDGE vendors, of which DAS annually notifies state agencies. For purposes of EDGE, racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, and businesses located in certain qualified areas (or census tracts) are presumed to be socially disadvantaged; however, anybody else who can demonstrate social disadvantage also may be eligible for the program. Economic disadvantage is based primarily on the owner’s personal net worth.
For more information contact DAS at http://www.das.ohio.gov/
Published in OhioMBE – May 15, 2018