VOB Classifications

As many as 3 million veterans own businesses in the U.S. – as many as 15% of the total number of small businesses. With over 23 million veterans in the United States, that number is expected to increase as government agencies open more of their contract bidding opportunities to the men and women who have proudly served our country. In order to get the maximum assistance and benefits the government offers, it is important to understand the different categories of veteran business and how they apply to you.

Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB)

Veteran-owned business includes any business owned and operated by someone who has served in the Armed Forces. Because most veteran business owners are contractors, mostly in public works construction, many veteran-owned businesses qualify as small businesses.

The U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) provides a unique service by helping VOSBs get listed in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) – a comprehensive database of over 6,000 veteran-owned businesses. To be certified, the business must be at least 51% veteran-owned and meet several other requirements listed on the VA website.

One of the biggest advantages to being identified as a veteran business is preference in contract bidding and the ability to network and find government agency opportunities. To gain the advantages of being veteran-identified, start the verification process today at http://www.vetbiz.gov.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)

Veterans who have been service-disabled are top qualifiers for preferred contracts. Under Executive Order 13360, 3% of all projects contracted by government agencies are required to go to SDVOSBs.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established the SDVOSB Concerns program, to provide government agencies with guidelines for procuring services from SDVOSBs, to establish eligibility guidelines for SDVOSB status, and provide protest and appeal procedures.

According to the SBA, in order to be eligible for the SDVOSBC, you and your business must meet the following criteria:

  • The Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense
  • The SDVOSBC must be small under the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the procurement
  • The SDV must unconditionally own 51% of the SDVOSBC
  • The SDVO must control the management and daily operations of the SDVOSBC
  • The SDV must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSBC
  • The management and daily business operations of the concern must be controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans.
    • Control by one or more service-disabled veterans means that both the long-term decision making and the day-to-day management and administration of the business operations must be conducted by one or more service-disabled veterans
    • The management and daily business operations of which are controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans or, in the case of a service-disabled veterans or, in the case of a service-disabled veteran with permanent and severe disability, the spouse of permanent caregiver of such veteran
  • Service-disabled veteran means a veteran with a disability that is service-connected.
  • Ownership must be direct. Ownership by one or more service disabled veterans must be direct ownership.
    • A concern owned principally by another business entity that is in turn owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans does not meet this requirement.

Women-Owned Veteran Small Business (WOVSB)

Women are accounting for an increasingly high number of the veteran population – almost 10 percent. With more women now recognized as veterans, groups are emerging to help them re-enter the workforce and position their businesses for success.

Womenbiz.gov is a site dedicated to helping women business owners seeking to bid on government contracts. The site provides links to various helpful organizations that discuss contract requirements, connect women with agency opportunities, and provide other useful information about bidding. It also features information about upcoming conferences and networking events focused on government contracting – great venues to connect with other veteran women business owners.

Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB)

SBA certifies small businesses that meet specific social, economic, ownership, and control eligibility criteria. A small business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual or individuals. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, and Native Americans are presumed to qualify. Other individuals can qualify if they show by a "preponderance of the evidence" that they are disadvantaged. All individuals must have a net worth of less than $750,000, excluding the equity of the business and primary residence. Successful applicants must also meet applicable size standards for small businesses in their industry. The federal government has set goals for SDB contracting of five percent (5%).

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