Veteran-Owned Business Certifications
In this article, we outline the various veteran-owned business certifications, explore the pathways to achieving them, and delve into the benefits they offer.
This article is about post-formation certifications for businesses that are 51% or more veteran-owned. In a separate but related article, we outline how a new 100% veteran-owned Texas LLC is entitled to a waiver (or refund) of the $300 state filing fee.
Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Certification
Requirements and Eligibility. A small business that is owned 51% or more by veterans can be certified as a VOSB.
Benefits. A VOSB certification makes your company eligible to participate in the Veteran’s First Contracting Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Also, small businesses owned by veterans may be eligible to purchase surplus property from the federal government. You can see more VOSB resources and benefits via the VA’s Veteran Entrepreneur Portal.
How to Apply. To start the certification process, register with the SBA via VetCert.
Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) Certification
Requirements and Eligibility. A business that is both small and owned 51% or more by service-disabled veterans can be certified as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). A service-disabled veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, and whose disability was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military, naval, or air service. A veteran with a disability rating can self-represent as a Service-Disabled Veteran for Federal contracting purposes.
Benefits. Obtaining a SDVOSB certification from the SBA makes your business eligible to compete for sole-source and set-aside contracts. At least 3% of all federal contracting dollars each year are set aside specifically for certified SDVOSBs.
How to Apply. To start the certification process, register with the SBA via VetCert.
Service-disabled veterans qualify for a Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification.
Requirements and Eligibility. The business must be a for-profit entity that operates principally in Texas that is owned 51% or more by U.S. citizens who are also Texas residents (for at least one year) who qualify as service-disabled veterans with a service-related disability of 20% or greater.
Benefits. A vendor profile will be uploaded to the HUB Directory upon certification approval. State agencies use the HUB Directory in conjunction with the Comptroller's Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL) to solicit bids from certified HUBs for state purchasing and public works contracts. Prime contractors also use the HUB Directory to identify HUBs to whom they will send notifications of their subcontracting opportunities. In addition, the Statewide HUB Program shares advantageous educational and networking opportunities with HUB-certified and prospective HUB vendors all around Texas.
How to Apply. Eligible applicants can apply online to become HUB certified.
Centralized Master Bidder’s List (CMBL)
Once certified as a HUB, you can register as a vendor on the Texas Comptroller’s Centralized Master Bidder’s List (CMBL).
Requirements and Eligibility. To be listed in the CMBL, your business must be HUB Certified.
Benefits. State agencies use the HUB Directory in conjunction with the Comptroller's Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL) to solicit bids from certified HUBs for state purchasing and public works contracts.
How to Apply. Once the business is HUB certified, you can register as a Texas vendor on the Comptroller’s Centralized Master Bidder’s List (CMBL).
Free Texas Entity Formations
A “new veteran-owned business” in Texas (a Texas entity that is 100% owned by honorably discharged veterans) does not have to pay the $300 Texas filing fee or pay Texas franchise tax for five years.
For more details on this benefit, you can read our article on Texas Senate Bill 938 and the benefits afforded to new business entities that are 100% veteran-owned.
OTHER CERTIFYING ORGANIZATIONS
National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) Certification
Requirements and Eligibility. To be NVBDC certified, your business must go through a rigorous vetting process to ensure it is 51% veteran-owned, where the veteran(s) share in all risks and profits commensurate with their ownership interest. The veteran(s) must actively manage the business and be able to dissolve or sell the business without restriction by any other party. Contribution of capital and expertise by veteran owners to acquire their ownership interest must be real and substantial and proportionate to the interest acquired. The veteran(s) shall be able to perform in their area of specialty/expertise without significant reliance on non-veteran-owned businesses.
Benefits. Once certified, veteran-owned businesses (VOBs) and service-disabled (SD) businesses are listed in the NVBDC database. The NVBDC administers a rigorous vetting and certification process designed to withstand the scrutiny of governmental and corporate entities.
How to Apply. To get started, visit the NVBDC website.
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) Certification
Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE) is a premier training program in entrepreneurship and small business management offered by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. V-WISE helps women veterans and female military spouses find their passion and learn the business savvy skills necessary to turn an idea or start-up into a growing venture.
Requirements and Eligibility. V-WISE is open to honorably discharged women veterans with at least 180 days of active duty served, active duty females, and female spouses (widows included) of veterans and service members from any era of service, including National Guard and Reserves.
Benefits. V-WISE training takes place in three phases. The first phase is a 15-day online intensive, followed by phase two, a 3-day residency experience. The third and final phase is 12-months of ongoing support. You will gain actionable strategies for new venture creation. In addition, you will have access to the following:
- A robust team of speakers and instructors, including successful entrepreneurs, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, and leaders in government.
- A community resource network designed to support small business creation and growth, including supportive services provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the IVMF and IVMF partners.
- A community of established women veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs 3,000 strong and growing.
- More than 20 distinct modules of training in opportunity recognition, business planning, financing, economics, marketing, access to capital, business law, social media and more.
How to Apply. Eligible applicants must apply online. The application takes about 15 minutes, and the training will cost $75.
In this comprehensive overview, we have detailed the various types of veteran-owned business certifications, including the eligiblty requirements and the benefits they provide. Federal certifications, including VOSB and SDVOSB, open doors to federal contracting programs and set-aside contracts, while Texas certifications, such as HUB and CMBL, provide access to state purchasing opportunities.
There are additional opportunities beyond the federal and state realms. Organizations like the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University offer certifications and training that not only provide access to valuable networks but also emphasize the significance of genuine veteran ownership and management.
In summary, veteran-owned business certifications serve as powerful catalysts, fostering growth and success for businesses predominantly owned by those who have served our country. They empower veterans to channel their expertise into entrepreneurship, driving innovation, and enriching the economic landscape. These certifications embody not only recognition but also a commitment to supporting the men and women who have sacrificed for our nation, ensuring their continued success on their entrepreneurial journey.
Zachary Copp, Esq.
Mr. Copp is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the founder of the Copp Law Firm. He has been licensed in Texas for 19 years and has personally formed over 3,000 Texas LLCs since 2015. He was recognized as a Rising Star by SuperLawyers® for seven straight years. See full bio →