Introducing the Veteran Small Business Certification Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will now handle all veteran-owned small business and service-disabled veteran-owned small business certifications instead of the VA.
The change took place on the first of this year and does not affect businesses that are already certified. The Veteran Small Business Certification Program will be the Agency’s primary vehicle for handling certification for veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) — important classifications that enable those businesses to qualify for sole-source and set-aside federal contracting awards.
“As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, I am proud that the SBA is designing its new Veteran Small Business Certification Program to be the gold standard in customer experience and support to ensure we grow our base of veteran federal contractors,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the SBA, “Adding this certification to SBA’s portfolio of capital, bonding and contracting programs will enable us to better serve our veteran entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses through federal procurement opportunities.”
Administrator Guzman also shared much-anticipated news that she intends to grant a one-time, one-year extension to current veteran-owned small businesses verified by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of the transfer date.
On that one-year extension, Administrator Guzman added, “Our team is committed to supporting a smooth and seamless transition for our veteran customers and will be providing a one-time, one-year certification extension for VA certified veteran-owned firms, making it as easy as we can for them to continue their entrepreneurial journey.”
“The decision to extend the certification will make a real difference for our nation’s veteran business owners as we move forward with transitioning this certification from the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Larry Stubblefield, Associate Administrator for the SBA’s Office of Veterans Business Development. “In addition to supporting a smooth transition for currently certified firms, we will be able to focus on certifying new entrants and growing our base of certified firms.”
“We have been working closely with the SBA for a long time supporting the transfer of this certification program to the SBA and are glad to see it come to fruition,” said Chairman Jay Bowen, Veterans Employment and Education Commission at the American Legion. “We know that the veteran community will be well-served by this move and that the SBA will make the transition from the VA as smooth as possible. The announcement of the one-year extension for both veteran and service-disabled veteran small business owners further demonstrate the SBA’s dedication to helping the veteran small business community succeed and thrive.”
“National Veteran Small Business Coalition (NVSBC) is pleased to see veteran certification moving to the SBA and being applied across all the federal government agencies,” said Scott Jensen, executive director at the NVSBC. We applaud the SBA’s leadership in driving a process focused on success and supporting veteran-owned businesses and are excited to see the implementation. We also applaud the Administrator’s decision to extend existing certifications for one year. This decision will provide valuable relief to those already certified during a year of increased demand as other companies pursue the mandatory certification requirement.”
“As a voice for disabled American veterans, we are thrilled to hear of the SBA’s commitment to the veteran community through the new certification program,” said Dan Clare, chief communications and outreach officer at Disabled American Veterans (DAV), a nonprofit charity that provides more than a million veterans and their families support each year by empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. “Service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) will positively benefit from the one-year extension of existing certifications, and for self-certified firms to be able to continue to compete for designated set-asides during the grace period. I am confident that both DAV and the SBA will support SDVOSBs through the transition and certification when the time comes.”
The certification period will extend to four years on a one-time basis for firms verified by VA as of January 1, 2023.
Updates in the new program will include:
- Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1, 2023, will be automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period.
- All firms verified by VA as of the January 1, 2023, transfer date will receive a one-year extension to their eligibility giving veterans an extra year to get recertified under the new SBA system.
- The extension will allow SBA to process applications from new entrants into the program and grow the base of certified firms.
New applicants certified by SBA after January 1, 2023, will receive the standard three-year certification period.
Along with the recertification extension, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act grants a one-year grace period for self-certified SDVOSBs until January 1, 2024.
- During the grace period, businesses have one year to file an application for SDVOSB certification and may continue to rely on their self-certification to compete for non-VA SDVOSB set-asides.
- Self-certified SDVOSBs that apply before the expiration of the one-year grace period will maintain eligibility until the SBA makes a final eligibility decision.
Beginning January 1, 2024, both veteran and service-disabled veteran small business owners will need to be certified to compete for federal contracting set-asides, unless an application from a self-certified firm is pending an SBA decision.
Source: U.S. Small Business Administration