June 15, 2005--Veteran-owned tech businesses have until the end of the month to submit proposals for a new program designed to make it easier for them to win government IT contracts.

Last week, the General Services Administration (GSA) extended the deadline for the Veterans Technology Service Government-Wide Acquisition Contract to June 30. Winning companies will be pre-qualified to compete for future government funds as agencies look to meet spending goals on service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOBs). The program will be worth up to $5 billion over the next 10 years.

Brian Haney, director of research operations at INPUT, which provides consulting and analysis to tech companies looking to win government work, called the program a "hunting license" that will help agencies connect with qualified veteran-owned companies. It will also help the underrepresented firms get a foot in the door, which could translate to bigger gains down the road as they develop relationships with the agency. Haney predicts this will translate to an estimated $3 billion annually for SDVOBs by 2009.

To submit a proposal, however, veteran-owned business must be certified as such by the Small Business Administration (SBA), a fact that Haney predicts will limit participation. "Vendors who have certified themselves stand to win some pretty decent contracts," said Haney, who estimates that these contracts will range into the hundreds of millions. Last year, no SDVOB received more than $40 million as a prime contractor.

Details on the program, including the request for proposals can be found at www.vetbiz.gov/library/vts.htm.