Veteran entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to grow their businesses by becoming certified as a Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). This designation qualifies businesses to take advantage of exclusive benefits, including the ability to compete for Veteran Affairs set aside contracts, purchase surplus government property, and access other business development resources.
But in order to participate in the Veterans First Contracting Program, eligible SDVOSBs/VOSBs must first be verified through the Vets First Verification Program. Verification is a critical process that establishes eligibility by confirming that a business is, in fact, owned and operated by Veterans.
Requirements for verification
In order to be eligible for VOSB or SDVOSB status, your business must be at least 51% owned by a Veteran or Service-disabled Veteran.
This includes any person who served active duty with the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard for any length of time and who was discharged by any means other than dishonorable. It also includes reservists or members of the National Guard who were called to federal active duty.
The Veteran owner(s) must have full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making, and strategic policy of the business. They must also hold the highest officer position and be the highest-compensated employee within the company unless a lower compensation strategically benefits the business. The Veteran owner must operate the business fulltime and have the ability to exercise independent business judgment.
The verification process
If you believe your business meets the requirements for qualification, the Vets First Verification Program is your first step to becoming a certified VOSB or SDVOSB. The verification process begins with a detailed application which, upon submission, will progress through four stages: intake, assessment, federal review, and decision.
To prepare your application for intake, you will need to:
Step 1: Gather all required documents.
Step 2: Create a System for Awards Management (SAM) registration, a DS or ID.me logon account, and a Vendor Information Page (VIP) account.
Step 3: Begin your application by uploading the required documentation to your profile.
Step 4: Submit your completed online application to the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE).
Once the application has been received, it will be evaluated for accuracy and carefully reviewed before a final verification is granted or denied.
While the process is fairly well defined, it can be time consuming and difficult to navigate — especially for Veteran entrepreneurs who are already busy managing day-to-day operations. Any mistakes that occur with federal registrations can not only cause delays in the verification process, but they may also result in fines.
Furthermore, as of Jan. 1, 2023, all responsibilities for the verification of Veteran-owned small businesses will transfer from the Department of Veterans Affairs to the Small Business Administration (SBA). This change is ultimately designed to streamline and simplify the application process; however it will require new and returning applicants to navigate a shift in procedures.
At Sage Business Consulting, we’ve helped many Veterans navigate the verification process — and we can help you do the same. From documentation to registration, our consultation services are designed to save you time, money, and eliminate risk.
Learn more about the VOSB/SDVOSB program and see how we can open new doors for your business.