How many times you had been asked by your customers if your business is certified veteran-owned? If you’ve served in the military, and perhaps now have a service-related disability, you are often eligible for a certification that will allow you to receive up to 3 percent of prime federal government contracts and subcontracts, according to The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999.
Research by the National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) shows that 70 percent of Americans would prefer to do business with a veteran-owned business than one that is not veteran-owned. In addition, if you plan on doing business and securing contracts with the government a certification is necessary.
How to Get Certified as a Veteran-Owned Business: Do You Qualify?
The qualifications for becoming a veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned business are very specific. You must own at least 51 percent of the company applying for certification. But it’s not enough to be an owner just in name. You must also be in control of management and day-to-day operations within the business.
To prove that you are a veteran, you will need to have a Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214), which is issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation or discharge from active-duty military. If you intend to apply for service-disabled status, you will also need a letter from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs stating that you are, indeed, service-disabled. Contact the VA’s benefits office if you have lost or misplaced this disability status letter.
The first step of getting certified through the VA is registering with the VetBiz Registry, which is a veteran business database. The Center for Veterans Enterprise provides the registry as well as step-by-step guidelines on applying for certification with the VA. You will also be required to have the DD 214 form and possibly a letter from the United States Department of Veteran Affairs stating that you are service-disabled, if applicable.
Registering as a Service-Disabled Veteran
All federal agencies have set aside contracts for service-disabled veterans, if you do plan on doing business with the government, it would be smart to seek out a service-disability rating from the VA. There is no minimum disability rating required to register as a service-disabled veteran. You are eligible for the same benefits, regardless of whether you have a zero percent rating or a 100 percent rating.
The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 established an annual government-wide goal of not less than 3 percent of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards for participation by small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.
Purpose of the SDVOSBC Program
The purpose of the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Procurement Program is to provide procuring agencies with the authority to set acquisitions aside for exclusive competition among service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, as well as the authority to make sole source awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns if certain conditions are met.
In order to be eligible for the SDVOSBC, you and your business must meet the following criteria.
- The Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense
- The SDVOSBC must be small under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement
- The SDV must unconditionally own 51 percent of the SDVOSBC
- The SDV must control the management and daily operations of the SDVOSBC
- The SDV must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSBC