The Five Star General Overview of Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

In observance of National Military Appreciation month as well as Memorial Day, Winvale is highlighting Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) and topics relevant to them.

We will be starting with five key things that veteran small business owners

Star #1 should know:

The United States Code defines a veteran as someone who has served in the active military, naval or air service, and who was discharged or released under any conditions other than a dishonorable discharge. Federal Agencies spend an estimated 5% of their budget on VOSBs. With an estimated $179 Billion awarded a year, veteran owned operations can potentially generate $8.9 billion worth of business. Here are three key requirements to becoming a VOSB:

  • 51% of your company needs to be owned by one or more Veterans. If your business is publicly traded, the same criteria needs to be met for shareholders. 
  • Management and daily business operations are controlled by you or other veteran colleagues as well.
  • Your VOSB needs to be categorized as “small” under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement.

Star #2 

There is another program, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). The SDVOSB is highly utilized by many agencies and can be a justification for sole sourcing an opportunity. SDVOSB set aside awards increased by 22% from the fiscal year 2015 to the fiscal year 2016, which exceeded $6 billion in 2016. Once designated as a SDVOSB make sure to include this information on all collateral and government web pages. The SDVOSB requires certification from the SBA and has additional requirements:

  1. As a Service Disabled Veteran (SDV), you have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) or the Department of Defense.
  2. You must unconditionally own 51% of the SDVOSB.
  3. You must control the management and daily operations of the SDVOSB. A spouse or caregiver can support these operations as well.
  4. You must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSB.
  5. Your business must be categorized as “small” under the NAICS code assigned to the procurement.

Star #3

As a veteran business owner, there is a self-certifying process you should complete to become eligible for VOSB status. This self-certification must be made within your Small Business Profile, in the System for Award Management Record. Once awarded the designation, marketing collateral, capabilities statements and forms on government websites should display your companies’ status. This certificate will allow you to sell to federal agencies with your VOSB status. The VA has its own designation process, as discussed below.

Star #4

Although most agencies do not sole source awards to VOSBs, it can still be a useful set aside to self-certify because of VOSB specific resources and events such as:

  1. The Small Business Administration
  2. The National Veteran Small Business Coalition

Star #5

The VA has their own procurement opportunities and through the Veteran First Program, VOSB vendors are chosen first to fulfill procurement opportunities, when it is feasible. The VA is the only agency that sets a goal and tracks the participation of VOSBs. To participate in this program, your business needs to meet specific qualifications to be designated by the VA.

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June 27, 2017

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