How Vet-Owned Small Businesses can Capitalize on Gov’t Contracts

Veteran Owned Business

Veteran Owned BusinessThe federal, state and local governments have created veteran-owned small business programs – allowing a veteran (or service-disabled veteran) business owner to certify their firms to receive procurement preferences. For instance, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 sets an annual government wide goal of 3 percent of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards annually for small businesses owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans. But in fiscal year 2010, only 2.5 percent were awarded to service-disabled veteran business owners.

So how can veteran entrepreneurs get their full share of government contracts?

Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN Advisor on Government Contracting, offers the following tips:


  • Verify your business with – and do it TODAY! This program was created to assist veteran business owners in registering their businesses with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and to enable VA contracting officers to easily identify veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses eligible for procurement opportunities.


  • After you receive your veteran verification notice, register your business with the Central Contractor Registration. This is the government’s general vendor database and the first key step in landing government contracts.


  • Familiarize yourself with the government contracting programs for veteran-owned small businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses by visiting your local Small Business Administration (SBA) office. There, you can meet with a SBA Veteran Business Development Officer, who is responsible for comprehensive outreach and the execution and promotion of policies and programs to the Administration that provide assistance to veteran-owned small businesses.


  • Consider marketing your business to agencies beyond the Department of Veterans Affairs, such as the Department of Defense (DOD). In an effort to increase government wide contracting support to veteran-owned firms, the DoD is encouraging the use of Veterans Technology Services (VETS) — a small business set-aside Government Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) that provides access to IT solutions from a qualified pool of service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. VETS allows for long-term planning of large-scale program requirements while strengthening opportunities for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. If interested, make you review 10 step guide for doing business with the DoD.


  • Look into multiple award contracts — also known as Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts. IDIQ contracts can be a key enabler for growth since they can offer repeat business without repeat efforts. Recently enacted rules require federal agencies to set aside contracts and task orders through IDIQ contracts, making this the contracting vehicle of choice for agencies.