How to Get Certified as a Veteran-Owned Small Business

If you are a veteran and own a small business, you may have looked into owning a veteran-owned business certification. Having a certified veteran-owned business can help you achieve more business from corporations and government agencies. However, you may have found the process to getting started confusing as there are not as many resources available to help you get your certification. Registering as a minority-owned or woman-owned business for example, is a lot easier because resources are more accessible for them.

Having a certification for your veteran-owned business can help you attract new business and clients. The National Veteran Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) claims that 70% of Americans prefer to do business that are veteran-owned rather than not veteran-owned.  By simply displaying your certification on your marketing materials and in your business, you can attract consumers to your business.

In this article, we will discuss how you can get certified and register to become a veteran-owned business.

The Advantages to Registering

Registering your business and getting certified comes with its benefits. Essentially, you want to attract more business. Although the process is time consuming it is necessary to compete for contracts for government agencies.

Corporations also prioritize giving their business to veteran-owned businesses. For corporations, the process of registering as a veteran owned supplier is less time consuming than the process for government agencies. There are also many consumers and businesses that prefer to purchase from veteran-owned businesses.

A veteran-owned small business (VOSB) certified business is also given top priority for subcontracting opportunities. The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 was created to offer additional assistance to veterans who own businesses.

Once your business has been registered and certified, you can join places like ConnXus which is a database of suppliers. This platform allows your business to be searchable by large companies and be selected for their product and service needs. Also, can help you reach even more potential customers for your business as well.

Qualifications Required for a Veteran-Owned Business Certification

In order to be eligible for a veteran-owned business certification, you must meet the following:

  • More than 51% must be owned by a veteran
  • The veteran owner must have been honorably discharged from service
  • The veteran owner must be involved in the day to day operations and management

You will need to have a Department of Defense Form 214 (DD 214) to prove you are a veteran. This form is issued when a service member has been retired, separated, or discharged from active military duty.

If you are disabled and are also looking to qualify for a certification for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB), you must meet the requirements above and need to prove a disability that is service based. You must contact the VA’s benefits office if you do not have the disability status letter.

Different Ways to Get Certified

There are a few different ways to get certified as a veteran business owner.

You will need to get either veteran-owned small business certified or SDVOSB certified through the Vets First Verification Program. This requires you to submit business ownership-related paperwork, your honorable discharge papers and a federal review. The Vets First Verification Program gives veterans and service-disabled veterans top priority for VA contracts and subcontracts.

You need to register with the National Veteran Owned Business Association as a Certified Veteran’s Business Enterprise (VBE) to be included on national registers of veteran-owned businesses to attract work from other private businesses

NAVOBA’s certification is good for two years and is accepted by numerous Fortune 1000 companies as well as states, cities, and entities.

With the Federal Award Management Registration (FAMR), certification experts guide you step by step with the certification process. The process can be quick and painless since they will work with you to get all the information that is needed.

VA-certified counselors at the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (APTAC) are also experts in helping guide veterans through the certification process. These counselors are available at no cost across the nation. After they have helped you through the certification process, they can also help you find government contracts that fit your business.

NAVOBA has released a State Tracker that provides links to how you can register or self-certify with those state governments.

Additional Resources for Veteran-Owned Businesses

There are additional resources that can help your veteran-owned business certified. SCORE offers counseling to small business owners nationwide and can set you up with specialists in veteran-owned businesses. The Center for Veteran Enterprise has lots of information on starting a business, how to get financing, and how to search for business opportunities. Veterans Corporation links you with training across the country as w