Why the Veteran Owned Business Verification Process Matters
Veterans should not ignore the importance of having their businesses verified as a Veteran-Owned Business. Veterans are being sought out for many different opportunities within society due to their honorable service. Therefore, having your business verified as a Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) gives you access to more business opportunities, such as government and corporate contracting.
Verification Processes Available to Help Diversify Your Customer Base
The verification process for VOSB’s can be a bit involving, which tends to steer veterans away from the process. However, it is indeed worth the effort, considering the benefits. You should also have your DD Form 214 from the National Personnel Records Center in order to prove that you are a veteran, after which you can apply for any of the verifications listed below:
Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE)
When you successfully apply through the Vets First Verification Program, you will receive a verification by the Department of Veterans Affairs” Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) and your business will be added to the Veteran Administrations Vendor Information Pages. This verification process will ensure that your business is eligible for government contracts, as well as, many corporate contracting opportunities that accept the CVE verification. You should read more information about the Vets First Verification program by downloading the “Prepare for Verification” Guide.
PLEASE NOTE: Effective 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. Click on the following link to get the official “Guidance for VA-Verified Firms Concerning Transfer of Verification Function to Small Business Administration (SBA).“
National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)*
NaVOBA has recently started a verification process that veterans can follow when they join the association. NaVOBA verifies to ensure that a business is indeed a VOSB or SDVOSB, and it currently has over 3 million companies that are listed in their directory. In order to be verified, you must show a 51% ownership in the company, as well as, an involvement in day-to-day operations of the business, which is pretty much a standard across all verifications.
National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC)*
NVBDC is another third party authority for the verification of VOSB’s and SDVOSB’s of all sizes. The verification process involves submitting an application, official DD214 and various supporting documents. Like most third-party verifications, there is a fee for having your company verified. If you are an existing CVE verified veteran-owned business, a reduced cost is available.
There are also various states that issue their own verification of VOSB’s and SDVOSB’s, especially in their efforts to include these businesses in their state contracts. California, Arkansas, Illinois and Indiana are some of the states which have established their own verification procedures and have established mandates for setting aside 3% or greater of spending for VOSBs and SDVOSB’s.
*It is important to note that the verification from third-party organizations cannot be used as a method to verify a Veteran-Owned business that is interested in pursuing government contracts. The CVE verification is the ONLY verification that is accepted in order to bid on set aside and sole source contracts. Your business must also be registered in the System for Awards Management (sam.gov) website. Businesses looking to bid on ONLY corporate contracts and are not interested in pursuing government contracts can simply obtain a third-party verification.
Why Verification is Important? DIVERSIFICATION!
Bid on Government Contracts
A CVE verification of your veteran owned business will enable you to compete for the 3% of prime government contracts that are set aside and sole sourced for verified veteran-owned businesses. If your business has the capacity to compete and obtain some of these contracts, it can open up numerous growth opportunities and diversify your customer base as the federal government is required to award 23% of all contracts to small businesses. If you are currently a supplier for one of the many large corporations that have a supplier diversity initiative, verification by the CVE is definitely the most logical choice.
Attract More Business
70% of Americans prefer to do business with VOSB’s compared to non-VOB’s. Therefore, proudly displaying the official VOSB or SDVOSB logo in your stores, website, emails, and letterheads will naturally attract more business from local contractors, suppliers and corporations that are seeking to work with veteran-owned businesses.
Take part in Corporate Supplier Diversity Initiatives
More and more private corporations are looking to diversify their supplier networks to include verified VOSB’s and SDVOSB’s. They are setting aside a certain percentage of their supplier contracts for verified veteran-owned businesses to bid on in order to develop partnerships with them. For example, Ford Motor Company was one of the first corporations to announce a 3% target spend with VOSB’s. The company also pushes many of its suppliers to set the same standard for diversifying their business purchases. However, many of these initiatives require verification from the CVE or an approved third-party verification in order to ensure that your business is indeed veteran-owned.
Access to Programs Offered by the VOBRT
The Veteran Owned Business Roundtable (VOBRT) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to protect and advance the interests of both Service-Disabled and Veteran Owned Businesses. Qualified and experienced VOB’s and Corporate Members support the VOBRT’s mission to honor those who have faithfully served our country offer distinct programs to assist veteran business owners. These programs provide participants with contracting opportunities, mentorship from other seasoned veteran business owners and education on various topics to assist veterans in navigating through some of the most common experiences as a business owner.