educateContracting departments of businesses need to be aware of the requirements that VOBs must fulfill, in addition to the numerous benefits that working with VOBs provides. In fact, VOBs and SDVOBs are increasingly being sought after by corporations that are seeking supplier diversity. As a result, there are currently 2.5 million VOBs in the country, and they generate more than $1 trillion in sales per year.

Contracting departments also need to be aware of the requirements that are put in place by the government and corporate buyers for registering VOBs and attempting to diversify the awarding of contracts to these suppliers.

Understanding the VOB Verification Process

It is important to be aware of how VOBs are verified so they can access both government and corporate contracting.

In order for VOBs to qualify for government contracts, they must be verified through the VA’s CVE (Centre for Veterans Enterprise), after which they are included on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages and the website. For VOBs to gain this certification, they must have shown a 51% ownership in the business, as well as verify their veteran status with the DOD.

There are also third-party Veteran Organizations (such as the NVBDC) that have their own verification process for VOBs. This verification suffices for many corporate contracts, and most VOBs that are exclusively seeking corporate contracts only need to obtain third-party verification.

Registration of VOBs

In addition to the verification process, most VOBs also register with directories and programs that allow them to be easily found by corporate buyers. As contracting departments prepare contracts for suppliers, they need to work with these programs that register and connect VOBs to corporations. Such programs, such as the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable (VOBRT), provide networking and mentorship opportunities for VOBs. They can also work with corporations in order to help design contracts that are accessible to VOBs.

Use of Technology for Collaboration

In order for VOBs to obtain the capacity of handling corporate and government contacts, they must incorporate the use of technology within their business processes. Contracting departments can offer support in this process as part of their efforts to increase purchases from VOBs. These departments can implement the use of supplier diversity management systems that guide suppliers that are interested in doing business with them. The systems offer guidelines to VOBs on the requirements their processes need to fulfill, offer answers to critical questions and request the right documents that are necessary for transactions to be carried out.