Turning Valor into Value: SBA Certifications and Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
The heroes who've served our country return to civilian life with the discipline, leadership, and determination skills they learned during active duty. But even the toughest veteran may face barriers when starting a small business.
That’s why the SBA offers two certifications targeting veteran entrepreneurs: the Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) and the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) programs.
VOSB and SDVOSB: Two Pathways to Growth
To qualify as a VOSB, a business owner must meet the following requirements:
- Served on active duty with the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, or Coast Guard
- Honorably discharged or released
- At least 51% of the business is veteran-owned
- Veteran has full control over the management and daily operations of the business
To qualify as an SDVOSB, a business owner must meet the same requirements as a VOSB, plus:
- Have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense
- The disability does not prevent the veteran from managing and controlling the business
Once certified, VOSBs and SDVOSBs can access significant benefits, including federal contracts, tax relief, and networking opportunities. SDVOSBs, for instance, have exclusive access to 3 percent of the annual federal contracts, while VOSBs and SDVOSBs can tap into 7 percent of contracts from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Further advantages include access to SBA loan programs, grants, startup support, and opportunities to bid on open contracts.
We’re Here to Serve
Behind every newly certified entrepreneur is a story of veterans transforming their post-service lives, starting a business, and fostering growth in the local economy. Their journey and experience serve as an inspiration for other service members looking to transition into entrepreneurship. If you're a veteran with an entrepreneurial spirit, consider applying for these SBA certifications. You've defended your country; now it's time to let your country help you build your business dreams. Contact St. Louis Small Business Empowerment Center for free help or find additional information on the
Veterans Affairs website.