VetCert Program Approved More than 10,000 Applications Averaging 15-Day Processing Times

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) marks the one-year anniversary of the agency accepting applications through the Veteran Small Business Certification (VetCert) program, the SBA’s primary certification vehicle to expand federal contracting opportunities for all Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs). This effort is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding access to resources for veterans and other underserved populations. Since the VetCert Program’s transfer to the SBA, VetCert approved more than 10,400 applications from VOSBs and SDVOBs, averaging a remarkable 15-day processing time.

“The SBA’s VetCert, in just its first year of operation, has delivered a platinum standard of customer experience in this critical veteran small business certification program. With new policies, processes, and technology, we’ve simplified doing business with the federal government for America’s military community,” said SBA Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman. “We have achieved all this while maintaining a phenomenal approval rate for applications. The tremendous VetCert milestones the SBA has reached support our veteran entrepreneurs with access to government contracting while promoting innovation, competition, job creation and wealth generation — a win for the American people and economy.”

The VetCert program is SBA’s primary certification vehicle for VOSBs and SDVOSBs, important classifications that enable those 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 Jan. 9, 2023. The National Defense Authorization Act 2021 granted a one-time, one-year extension grace periodto self-certified SDVOSBs until Jan. 1, 2024. Any SDVOSB company that applied to VetCert before the end of the grace period is still authorized to vie for federal-wide SDVOSB set-aside contracts until a program determination is made. Since the grace period ended at the start of the new year, self-certified SDVOSBs that did not apply before the deadline are encouraged to complete their applications as soon as possible to ensure they will be able to continue to do business with the federal government as certified contractors.

The SBA implemented several improvements to streamline the certification experience for veteran entrepreneurs. Those improvements and other notable accomplishments in the first year of implementation of the VetCert program include:

  • Provided veterans with a central support platform for their small business certification needs.
  • Provided reciprocal certification for businesses with remaining eligibility in the women-owned small business (WOSB) and 8(a) programs.
  • Created a more business-friendly approach by streamlining the application process and aligning ownership and control requirements across the VetCert, 8(a), and WOSB programs.
  • Established the VetCert web-based Veterans Case Management System (VCMS) material change module in May 2023. This key change allowed veteran-certified companies to report changes in ownership company structure and veteran status.
  • Retained the best customer-friendly aspects of prior veteran certification programs. The VetCert customer call center and mailbox were transferred from the Veterans Affairs program. The SBA also maintained the ability to correct business documents during the process and direct contact with case processing agents at every phase.  A robust Frequently Asked Questions library was re-established as part of the VetCert Program. To date, 42,525 VetCert customer service responses have been completed by the VetCert Verification Support personnel.
  • Rolled out the VetCert VCMS recertification module in September 2023, approximately four months before the first recertification applications were due. The recertification process also retains legacy streamlined concepts that ensure accurate and fast VetCert determinations.
  • Began offering monthly virtual VetCert webinars starting in Fall 2023 for any interested veteran applicants starting the veteran certification process. Registration for the January VetCert webinar can be found at: https://events.gcc.teams.microsoft.com/event/30a4093b-6b0f-4caf-a782-a7d32d60b8f1@3c89fd8a-7f68-4667-aa15-41ebf2208961

Background on the Veteran Small Business Certification Program

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 an SDVOSB, have no less than 51% of the business owned and controlled by one or more veterans rated as service-disabled by the 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 Jan. 1, 2024, will receive the standard three-year certification period.

The SBA database of certified veteran-owned small businesses now has over 25,000 firms, including those that were certified before the transfer to the SBA.

For the latest information on the Veteran Small Business Certification program, visit Veteran contracting assistance programs, reference the program’s FAQs, or email vetcert@sba.gov.

All changes to the certification process, along with new eligibility requirements may also be viewed at:  federalregister.gov/documents/2022/11/29/2022-25508/veteran-owned-small-business-and-service-disabled-veteran-owned-small-business-certification

Article Courtesy of the SBA