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SBA OHA Issues Its First Ever CVE Protest Decision

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The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) recently issued what appears to be its first ever decision on a bid protest challenging a company’s eligibility for participation in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) veteran-owned small business (VOSB) and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) program, known as the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) Veteran Information Pages (VIP) database. See Blue Cord Design and Construction, LLC, SBA No. CVE-100-P (Dec. 3, 2018).

Previously, the VA CVE Director decided such protests. As the SBA OHA explained in the Blue Cord decision, however, “[o]n October 1, 2018, 13 C.F.R. § 134.102(h) took effect, establishing OHA’s jurisdiction over protests of eligibility for inclusion in the [CVE VIP] database.”

In Blue Cord, the protester not only challenged the competitor’s CVE eligibility but also the competitor’s size. As the SBA OHA also explained in its decision, however, “OHA does not have jurisdiction to make formal size determinations.” Instead, as the SBA OHA explained, “[t]he responsible SBA Government Contracting Area Director or designee makes formal size determinations in response to a size protest.” As such, the SBA OHA only addressed Blue Cord’s allegations about the competitor’s CVE eligibility, ultimately denying them as “meritless.”

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