Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Veteran Owned Businesses

Veteran Owned Businesses are businesses that are owned by veterans and are another type of government classification for businesses. This certification is one of the most beneficial and is usually preferred more often than Woman or Minority owned. In addition, there isn’t only a Veteran Owned title, but three others that each offer different advantages in government contracting.

Veteran Owned Business

First, let’s define what the government considers a veteran. It is an individual who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged other than dishonorably. One of the key differences between a small business and a veteran owned business is that the size does not matter, so long as the owner and operator of the company is a certified veteran of the armed forces.

There are two other classifications that are underneath the Veteran owned business – Service-Connected Disability and Service Disabled Veteran. Service-Connected Disability is someone that received an injury in the line of active duty. A Service Disabled Veteran is an individual who served in the military and whose disability was received or aggravated during their duty in the service. In order to be eligible for the Service Disabled Veteran classification, you must have one of the following: a letter from the Veteran’s Administration, a Department of Defense form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from active duty, or a statement from the Service from the National Archives and Records Administration stating your service-connected disability.

The third type of Veteran owned business is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, which, in addition to meeting the Veteran qualification, must also meet the Small Business Administration size requirements for a small business. In addition, at least 51% of the company must be owned, maintained, and operated by one or more Service-Disabled Veterans, as well as having a service disabled veteran holding the highest officer position in the company.

Similar to Woman-Owned Small Businesses, the Veteran classification doesn’t mean that veterans are socially or economically disadvantaged. However, the government is responsible for ensuring that these individuals receive fair consideration in agency purchases. Congress mandated that at least 3% of all government contracts are to be awarded to disabled veteran owned businesses. In addition, a group called Veterans Business Outreach Program (VBOP) helps eligible veterans build small businesses through mentoring, counseling, and business training. Another program, the Veterans’ Entrepreneurial Training (VET) offers a long-term (up to 12 months) of in-depth business training to veterans.

For more information about the Veteran classification visit: http://www.vetbiz.gov

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