veteran small business certification

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Leaving military service and jumping into entrepreneurship can be a rewarding path, but it’s rarely an easy one. Your new business will provide new challenges and opportunities that your service time will have prepared you for in some ways (resiliency), but not necessarily in others (sales and marketing skills). Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and resources, networks, and mentorships available that can help you succeed.

One of the first things that any veteran business owner should do is obtain Veteran Small Business Certification (VetCert). This comes in several forms, including veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, women veteran-owned small business, and economically disadvantaged veteran-owned small business (plus any combination of the above).

If you’re unsure about these terms, or you’re wondering if getting certified is worth the effort, read on.

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Veteran Small Business Certification: An Overview

The Veteran Small Business Certification, often referred to as VetCert or the Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification, aims to support Veterans transitioning into owning and operating small businesses. This certification provides veterans with a competitive advantage when bidding for federal contracts. This certification can be a game-changer, especially for those who have the right qualifiers.

Why Is a Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification Crucial?

As a veteran-owned small business, you have an advantage in the following situations:

  1. Federal Contracting Opportunities: The US federal government has set aside a specific percentage of contracts exclusively for Veteran-owned businesses. This ensures that veterans have a fair opportunity to participate and benefit from federal procurement. The VA in particular only works with companies that are at minimum registered as VOSB, and all federal or state government agencies offer priority to bids that are VOSB. And you can even access support in getting these contracts.
  2. Corporate Contracts: Apart from the government, many corporations prioritize veteran-owned businesses when awarding contracts. Such corporate commitments stem from a recognition of the discipline, dedication, sacrifice, and skills veterans bring to the table.
  3. Network and Support: As a VOSB, you have access to a vast network of veteran entrepreneurs, workshops, and conferences, enabling continuous learning and growth, especially if your company is set for high growth and innovation.

Subcategories Within VOSB

While the Veteran-Owned Small Business certification comes with the above advantages, additional certifications can be even more advantageous, as they rank higher in the federal decision-making process:

Women Veteran-Owned Small Business

This category addresses the unique challenges faced by female veterans and provides them with specific resources and opportunities, and gives them additional prioritization on some contracts.

Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)

This certification honors service-disabled veterans and recognizes the unique challenges they face by providing them with additional prioritization on some contracts. In fact, 3% of all federal contracts are mandated by law to be awarded to SDVOSB.

How to Register as a Veteran-Owned Business

Now that you know about Veteran Small Business Certification, what does the process look like? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Verify Your Veteran Status: A Department of Defense Form 214 will confirm your service and discharge status. This is the primary document that establishes your eligibility.
  2. Determine Eligibility: To qualify for a VetCert, you must prove that at least 51% of the business is owned by Veterans. Additionally, the management and daily operations must be handled by Veterans.
  3. Register Your Business: Register your business with the necessary licenses and permits to show that your business is legitimate and ready for operation.
  4. Apply for the Certification: Access the application through the Small Business Administration (SBA) website. You’ll find detailed instructions, necessary forms, and additional resources there.
  5. Await Verification: All that is left to do is wait. Once the required documents are submitted, the Veteran’s Association will review your application. This process can take a few months, so patience is essential. Once verified, you’ll be added to a database of Veteran-owned small businesses, making you eligible for federal and corporate contracts.

Arm yourself with the knowledge to gain benefits for your business. Your experience earns you an advantage over competitors in your industry. All you have to do is follow these simple steps.

Getting the Most Out of Your Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification

Once you have secured your certification, leveraging it effectively gives you the edge you need. Here are some tips:

  • Stay Updated: Regularly check federal and corporate contract listings. Being proactive can help you spot and seize opportunities early.
  • Network: Engage with other business owners. Collaboration can often lead to bigger contract opportunities, and shared experiences can provide valuable insights.
  • Continuous Learning: Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences tailored for Veteran-owned businesses. Stay on top of the available opportunities for growth by learning from others who have found success.

In Conclusion: Maximizing Business Opportunities with Certification

For Veterans stepping out into the small business world, you may feel overwhelmed by business plans, financial statements, and marketing. Tools like the Veteran Small Business Certification offer a solid foundation. Whether you’re a female Veteran or belong to the SDVOSB category, this certification ensures that your dedication and sacrifices are recognized and rewarded as you start your business.

Your Veteran-owned business certification can significantly boost your chances of winning business from both government agencies and corporations. The certification does not only acknowledge your service but also provides genuine, tangible support as you get started on your business venture.

Biz2Credit can guide you through questions about SBA loans and kickstarting your business endeavor. Securing your VetCert is just one step in the process. Let us help you with the rest.

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