One of the biggest stories right now is the bipartisan compromise on President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill in the amount of $1.2 trillion, which will now move on from the group of senators working on it and continue its way through the legislative process. Even though the bill is still in the works, we know that there will be funds coming down the pike and that government procurement agents will be looking to fill a variety of contracts. One of the ways that vendors can stand out is to become certified with a diversity classification. Supplier diversity programs have become more common, especially within government agencies, and the goal is to support underrepresented groups by allocating a percentage of suppliers with diverse backgrounds who the departments want to hire. One of these diversity classifications is Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB).
What is the Veteran Owned Small Business Program?
This program is offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from the office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSBDU). It provides a variety of benefits for veterans who qualify, including the opportunity to do business directly with the VA. It also offers priority bidding for contracts through other state and federal agencies, tax relief, access to better capital options, and extra support for businesses that show potential for high growth and innovation. The program also provides resources for finding VA procurement opportunities, education and training for how business with the VA works, connections to key contacts to build business partnerships and secure contracts, and other resources.
How do you qualify for the Veteran Owned Small Business Program?
Veterans who own small businesses and want to become certified VOSB need to apply and qualify for the program. Qualifications listed on the program webpage include:
- They are a veteran. Meaning, they served on active duty for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard and didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, or served as a Reservist or member of the National Guard and were called to federal active duty, or were disabled from a disease or injury that started or worsened in the line of duty
- Owned 51 percent or more by a veteran(s)
- These veteran owners have full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making and strategic policies of running the business
- Is the highest paid person (people) at the company or can provide written documentation why they are not
- Works at the business full time
- Holds the highest officer position in the company
Get the process started
It can take some time for these types of certifications to be approved, so veterans that own small businesses and want to include the Veteran Owned Small Business certification on their upcoming infrastructure bids should get started now. You can apply online through the Vets First Verification Program, and learn more through your state’s Verification Assistance Counselor or via a pre-application webinar.
Are you a veteran that owns a small business? How will you take advantage of the VOSB program and use the benefits to secure some of the upcoming Infrastructure Bill spend?