What is the Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Certification
The VOSB certification is available for small businesses that are majority owned and managed by a veteran who is directly involved in the day-to-day operations. With this certification, veterans gain a competitive edge for winning government contracts and attracting customers. As a business group that is considered ‘disadvantaged’ in the U.S., certifying your business can help in your present and future operations.
Why Get Certified
A VOSB-certified business is given top priority for government contracts and subcontracting opportunities. The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 was created to offer additional assistance to veterans who own businesses. The federal government is required to award 23% of all contracts to small businesses and a VOSB certification gives you access to an additional 3% of federal government contracts and subcontracts. Though a small percentage, this equals billions of dollars of work every year.
For VOSBs that are not interested in government work, this certification can help veterans expand business within their communities. According to the National Veteran-Owned Business Association, 70% of Americans would prefer to purchase services and products from veteran-owned businesses. By simply displaying your certification on your marketing materials and in your business, you can gain an edge over your competitors and a way to draw consumers to your business.
Once your business is certified, you can join ConnXus’ database of diverse suppliers. This searchable platform makes it easy for large companies to find and select your business for their product and service needs. The next time a Fortune 2000 company is looking for a certified-diverse business, you’ll be in the best position to meet their neTeds.
How to Get Certified
To qualify for a VOSB certification, you first have to prove your veteran status with the Department of Defense Form 214 (DD214), which you received when you retired, separated, or were discharged from the military. You must also directly own at least 51% of your business and manage it strategically and in day-to-day operations. If you meet both of these requirements, you have several options for certification:
Veterans Affairs (VA)
To certify your VOSB through the VA, you must first register with the VetBiz registry. Once you’ve joined this database, you can apply for the Veterans First Contracting Program. This program gives veterans and service-disabled veterans top priority for VA contracts and subcontracts. The VA spends over $3 billion on businesses within this program every year, so this is one of the best option for veterans seeking government contracts.
Not every state offers VOSB certifications or government assistance, but many have some legislation regarding veteran-owned businesses. To see if you can get a certification in your state, view the information offered by the National Veteran Owned Business Association’s State Tracker.
National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC)
The NVBDC is a not-for-profit foundation that operates as the only third-party Veteran Owned Business certification program in the U.S. Applicants must submit several documents and pay a fee of $500-5,000, depending on the size of the company. This certification lasts for one year and will be issued within 60 days of application submission. Small, medium, and large veteran-owned businesses may be eligible for this certification.
U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
Along with VOSBs, special consideration is given to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). The GSA has been working for over a decade to represent and advocate for these businesses, working to increase business and support for service-disabled business owners. Like a VOSB certification, the SDVOSB certification gives you access to federal contracts and subcontracts. Best of all, SDVOSBs get top priority for all federal opportunities, giving these businesses an edge over all competitors. There is no minimum disability rating requirement, so every service-disabled veteran can take advantage of this opportunity.
National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)
NaVOBA offers resources, training, and mentorship for veterans who own small businesses. They advocate for these “vetrepreneurs” throughout the country and offer a VetBiz directory on their website for increased visibility. A NaVOBA Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program is in the works and veterans can sign up for updates about future developments.
Federal Award Management Registration (FAMR)
At FAMR, trained business certification experts guide you through the certifying process. A Registration Advisor will work with you to get any necessary materials and information as they walk you through the process. With their 15 years of experience, certification can be quick, painless, and accurate.
Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC)
VA-certified counselors at APTAC are trained to guide veterans through the VA’s business certification process. Counselors are available nationwide and offer assistance at no cost. Once your business is verified, these counselors can also help you find government contracts that fit best with your business.
Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion
Every freedom, privilege, and opportunity available to Americans is a debt owed to the men and women who sacrifice these benefits in service to our country. The priceless cost of their service can never be repaid, but many people want to honor and thank veterans through community and financial support. For the three million veterans who have opened small businesses across the nation, a diverse business certification can open the door to better business, bigger clients, and exclusive government contracts. By joining a diverse global supply chain, veterans can open new opportunities and give their communities another way to say, “Thank you for your service.”
Already certified? Want to reach bigger buyers? Join our database for better opportunities and help support a sustainable global supply chain of diverse business owners just like you.