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Introduced in House (01/07/1997)

Veterans Entrepreneurship Promotion Act of 1997 - Amends the Small Business Act (the Act) to define as eligible veterans for programs under this Act: (1) disabled veterans; or (2) veterans who served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable. Makes small businesses owned and controlled by such veterans (veteran-owned small businesses) eligible for participation in the annual Government-wide goal of awarding to small businesses no less than 20 percent of all prime contracts awarded in a fiscal year. Subjects veteran-owned small businesses to provisions requiring a report from the head of each Federal agency to the Small Business Administration (SBA) concerning the extent of small business participation in that agency's procurement contracts. Requires the SBA to submit an analysis of such reports to the Congress (currently, only to the President) and to include information concerning the veteran-owned small businesses.

(Sec. 6) Includes veteran-owned small businesses as small businesses for purposes of subcontracting policy and goals with respect to the performance of contracts awarded by any Federal agency.

(Sec. 7) Directs the SBA Administrator, for each fiscal year, to: (1) obtain information concerning the procurement practices and procedures of each Federal agency having procurement authority; and (2) make such information available to any requesting small business. Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to annually engage in affirmative efforts to identify veteran-owned small businesses.

(Sec. 8) Amends the Small Business and Economic Policy Act of 1980 to include information concerning veteran-owned small businesses within a required annual report on the state of small business.

(Sec. 9) Authorizes the SBA to make loans to small business concerns eligible for assistance under the Act, as long as it determines that: (1) the type and amount of such assistance is otherwise unavailable from other sources on reasonable terms; (2) with such assistance, the small business has a reasonable chance to operate soundly and profitably within a reasonable time; (3) such assistance will be used within a reasonable time for plant construction, conversion, or expansion or to supply such business with working capital for appropriate purposes; and (4) such assistance is sound enough to reasonably assure that its terms and conditions will not be breached by the small business. Limits to $750,000 the outstanding balance on any individual small business loan. Provides loan financing terms and conditions.

(Sec. 10) Directs the Administrator to ensure that veteran-owned small businesses have access to programs under the Act which provide entrepreneurial training, business development assistance, counseling, and management to small business concerns.

(Sec. 11) Directs the SBA to make grants to, and enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with, various entities for the establishment and implementation of outreach programs for eligible veterans.

(Sec. 12) Directs the Administrator, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training to establish an interagency working group to develop a comprehensive outreach program to assist eligible veterans.

(Sec. 13) Authorizes the Administrator to appoint an Associate Administrator for Veterans Programs (AAVP) to formulate and execute policies and programs providing assistance to veteran-owned small businesses.

(Sec. 14) Makes it a duty of the SBA to enter into contracts to provide to the Government articles, equipment, supplies, services, or materials or construction work. Outlines administrative procedures for: (1) the awarding of a procurement contract to the SBA after certification of capability; and (2) a review and determination by a department or agency Secretary of a decision not to award a procurement contract to the SBA. Authorizes the SBA to arrange for the performance of procurement contracts by negotiating or otherwise letting subcontracts to veteran-owned small businesses. Authorizes the award of procurement contracts and subcontracts to veteran-owned small businesses which successfully complete an SBA business opportunity and development assistance program (program) (established later under this Act), under specified terms and conditions. Requires veteran-owned small businesses to meet specified certification requirements issued by the Administrator. Directs the Administrator to issue regulations limiting the personal net worth of a program participant and requiring participants to annually submit certain financial information to the SBA. Directs the SBA to: (1) conduct a review to determine whether a withdrawal of funds or other assets by a program participant for the personal use of its owners was detrimental to the achievement of the targets, objectives, and goals contained in the program participant's business plan; and (2) take specified action upon a positive determination. Authorizes a hearing before an adjudicator for small businesses receiving an adverse determination or review under this section.

Directs the SBA to develop and implement an outreach program to inform and recruit small businesses to apply for assistance under this section. Requires subcontracts to be awarded within the county or State where the work is to be performed. Directs the SBA to require each eligible small business to annually prepare and submit to the SBA a capability statement.

Specifies requirements to be met by a small business prior to being awarded a services or supplies procurement contract. Directs the SBA to establish requirements applicable to contracts for general and specialty construction and contracts for any other industry not otherwise subject to such requirements.

Prohibits an otherwise responsible small business from being denied the opportunity to compete for the award of any supply procurement contract under this section solely because such business is not the actual manufacturer of the process or product to be supplied, as long as such business meets certain business size and certification requirements.

Provides conflict-of-interest employment prohibitions and penalties applicable to certain former SBA employees.

Prohibits SBA employees empowered to take action with respect to any program or activity conducted under this section from exercising such authority on the basis of the political activity or affiliation of any entity or owner.

Requires small businesses participating in the program to report semiannually to their assigned veterans business counselors concerning any compensation paid to individuals for assistance in obtaining a Federal contract for such participant. Requires such report to be reviewed and forwarded to the AAVP. Considers the failure to submit a report as good cause for the initiation of a program participation termination proceeding against such business.

Requires awarded contracts to be performed by the business that initially received such contract. Terminates such a contract if the owners relinquish ownership of the business during such contract, with a waiver under specified circumstances. Requires a business to notify the SBA immediately upon entering into an agreement to change ownership.

Establishes within the SBA an eligible veterans business opportunity and development assistance program to provide assistance exclusively for veteran-owned small businesses. Outlines various types of assistance and services to be provided under the program, allowing each business to participate for five years from the date of certification. Requires each participant, promptly after program certification, to submit a business plan for review by the veterans business counselor assigned to assist such participant. Requires plan approval and outlines required plan contents. Requires each participant to annually: (1) review and modify its plan; and (2) forecast its needs for contract awards for the remaining years of program participation. Outlines conditions under which a participant shall be denied assistance and services under the program. Provides for program participation termination proceedings in appropriate circumstances.

Requires a program participant, during the developmental stage of participation, to take steps to attain the goals and targets contained in its plan for the awarding of contracts to such business. Makes a participant in the transitional stage subject to regulations regarding business activity targets.

Establishes a Division of Program Certification and Eligibility within the SBA's Office of Veterans Programs. Requires an annual review of program participants by the Division Director. Requires: (1) review findings and conclusions to be reported to the AAVP; and (2) the AAVP to issue appropriate policy and program directives.

Requires the SBA to conduct an evaluation of a participant's eligibility for continued participation in the program whenever it receives information alleging that a participant no longer meets program requirements.

Divides a program into a developmental stage designed to assist participants to access their markets and strengthen their financial and managerial skills and a transitional stage designed to prepare a participant for program graduation. Outlines appropriate assistance and services to be provided during each stage.

Directs the Administrator to report annually to the Congress with respect to individual and business participants in the program.

(Sec. 15) Authorizes appropriations for FY 1998 through 2000.