WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP)– The Federal government is offering funding to Veterans and other underserved populations who are seeking to start new businesses.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is accepting applications through the Veteran Small Business Certification (VetCert) program.

“The SBA’s new Veteran small business certification program is designed with our commitment to deliver exceptional support for our skilled entrepreneurs from America’s military community,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “Supporting these Veteran entrepreneurs with access to government contracting will ensure they can continue their valued service to the American people, whether working in manufacturing, retail, R&D, or helping us build critically needed infrastructure to promote America’s long-term growth, job creation, and wealth generation.” 

“Small businesses owned by Veterans are eligible for key benefits and well-deserved support because of their owners’ selfless service to our nation,” said Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “Certification is a critical part of that process, and I encourage all eligible Veterans to submit their verification applications to the Small Business Administration starting today.” 

The program will be the Agency’s primary certification process for all Veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and SDVOSBs. These classifications will allow businesses to qualify for sole-source and set-aside federal contracting awards. Certified VOSBs are eligible to compete for sole-source and set-aside contracts at the Department of Veterans Affairs, while certified SDVOSBs can compete for sole-source and set-aside contracts government-wide.

The Agency began accepting applications on January 9, 2023.

As the SBA moves forward to ensure more Veteran entrepreneurs have access to economic opportunities, Guzman has granted a one-time, one-year extension to the current Veteran small businesses verified by the Veterans Administration Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1, 2023.  

The SBA is implementing several improvements to streamline the certification experience for Veteran entrepreneurs. These include: 

  •  Providing Veterans with a central support platform for their small business certification needs. 
  •  Providing reciprocal certification for businesses with remaining eligibility in the women-owned small business (WOSB) and 8(a) programs. 
  • Creating a more business-friendly approach by streamlining the application process and aligning ownership and control requirements across the VetCert, 8(a), and WOSB programs. 

To be eligible to apply for the Veteran Small Business Certification Program, an applicant must: 

  • Be considered a small business, as defined by the size standard corresponding to any NAICS code listed in the business’s SAM profile. 
  • Have no less than 51% of the business owned and controlled by one or more Veterans. 
  • For certification as a SDVOSB, have no less than 51% of the business owned and controlled by one or more Veterans rated as service-disabled by VA.  
  • For those Veterans who are permanently and totally disabled and unable to manage the daily business operations of their business, their business may still qualify if their spouse or appointed, permanent caregiver is assisting in that management. 
  • Eligible new applicants certified by the SBA after January 1, 2023, will receive the standard three-year certification period. 

Use this link for the latest information on the Veteran Small Business Certification program or email vetcert@sba.gov.