There is a large population of veterans who own small businesses in the US, and a big reason for this is the grants and opportunities offered to veteran-owned businesses. Veteran-owned businesses are becoming an increasingly essential part of the American economy. In fact, according to recent estimates, veteran-owned businesses account for up to $1 trillion in revenue and employ nearly 5 million people.
There are different types of veteran-owned businesses, but one of the most common is the service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB). Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) are enterprises that have been verified as 51% or more owned by service-disabled veterans. They offer various services, including construction, information technology, and more.
With so much to learn about service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, this article will discuss what SDVOSBs are and what they offer. We will also discuss the types of grants available to veteran-owned businesses and the types of veteran-owned businesses you can use for various services.
What is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business?
The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) idea comes from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) to help veterans with a service connected disability get their businesses up and running. The DoD and the VA offer grants, contracts, and other opportunities specifically for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses to rehabilitate veterans after their services to the country.
The Office of Small Business Programs, under the Department of Defense (DoD), creates this initiative to maximize opportunities in Federal prime and subcontracting. Also, this outreach aims to appreciate the sacrifices veterans offer in service to the country at all levels of government.
The grants under this program are for the research and development of new products and services for service-disabled veterans. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) made it a law that the federal government would give out at least 3% of all prime contracting dollars to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans stipulated by the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999.
The VA also offers grants for service-disabled veterans who want to start their own businesses. These grants are awarded through the Veteran Entrepreneur Portal (VEP) program. The VEP program is a free online resource that connects service-disabled veteran entrepreneurs with the resources they need to start and grow their businesses.
The Mission Of The Office Of Small Business Programs
The mission of the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) is to ensure that small businesses, including service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), have a fair opportunity to participate in Department of Defense (DoD) contracting and subcontracting.
The OSBP also advocates for using small businesses to promote competition, increase the number of small businesses that the DoD does business with, and meet the needs of the veterans.
The office also provides outreach and technical assistance to small businesses, including service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs), so they can be better equipped to participate in the Department’s contracting and subcontracting opportunities.
What Services Do Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Offer?
There are various services that service-disabled veteran-owned businesses offer. They include the following:
Construction is a popular industry for veteran-owned businesses, as many service-disabled veterans have experience in this field. A Service-disabled veteran can work as general contractor or contracting officer, but some also specialize in specific construction areas, such as electrical work or plumbing.
Information technology is another popular industry for veteran-owned businesses. Many service-disabled veterans have experience in this field and can provide various services, including website design, computer networking, and data recovery.
Event planning is another service that veteran-owned businesses can provide. Many service-disabled veterans have experience organizing events, such as military functions, weddings, and corporate functions.
Groceries And Home Goods
Groceries and home goods are other types of services that veteran-owned businesses can provide. Many service-disabled veterans own grocery stores or home goods stores. These businesses can provide grocery delivery, home cleaning, and lawn care services.
Restaurants are good examples of businesses service-disabled veterans might own. Many service-disabled veterans have experience in the food industry and can provide services such as catering, food delivery, and event planning.
Security and Cybersecurity
Due to several years of experience in the military, many service-disabled veterans have expertise in security and cybersecurity. They can provide data protection, malware removal, and intrusion detection services. Some service-disabled veterans can also be consultants to help businesses create security plans.
There are many other services that service-disabled veteran-owned businesses can offer. These businesses play an essential role in the economy and provide valuable customer service.
Types of Grants Available to Veteran-Owned Businesses
There are different grants available to veteran-owned businesses. The following are some of the most common:
The Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Relief Program
The Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Relief Program is a grant program that provides financial assistance to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The program helps these businesses start and grow by providing them with access to capital, business counseling, and technical assistance.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer programs (SBTT)
The SBTT and SBIR programs offer small-business grants to veteran-owned businesses and services looking to contribute to federal development and research. The Small Business Administration coordinates these two programs, and 11 federal agencies list these grant opportunities on the SBIR website.
Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOC)
The Small Business Administration (SBA) backs over 22 Veteran Business Outreach Centers across the country, which provide training, workshops, mentorship, and counseling to veteran business owners.
These organizations offer business plan preparations, comprehensive feasibility analysis, and pre-business plan workshops for service-disabled veterans looking to launch a new business. The VBOCs are located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico and offer services such as business plan development, access to capital, government contracting assistance, and marketing assistance.
GrantWatch is an online database of over 8,000 grant opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. The website provides a searchable database of grants and information on how to apply for them.
Warrior Rising is a nonprofit organization that helps service-disabled veterans transition to “vetrepreneurs.” These veterans are allowed to participate in an 8-week business course that covers topics such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and financial management.
The Boots To Business program
The Boots to Business program is offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and is open to all service members, veterans, and their spouses. The program provides participants with an introduction to entrepreneurship and the basics of business ownership.
These are a few of the grants available to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Veterans can contact the organizations above for more information on how to apply for these grants.
Note: If you have a Veteran-Owned Small Business, you can qualify for benefits when bidding on federal contracts—along with access to other resources and support—through the Vets First Verification Program. This program is supervised by the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).
Small Veteran-Owned Businesses To Patronize
We all want to support our veteran community, and one way to do that is by using veteran-owned businesses for the products and services we need. The following is a list of some great veteran-owned businesses:
Priceless Consulting LLC
Priceless Consulting LLC is a veteran-owned and operated web design and SEO company. This firm offers web development, SEO services, digital marketing, and website support and maintenance. With years of experience in the industry, Priceless Consulting is now an award-winning company that helps boost the online presence of businesses of all sizes.
RallyPoint is a network where service-disabled veterans come to talk and network. The organization is home to over 1 million service members who gather online every day to discuss open and candid conversations about things like military life, transition to civilian life, careers and jobs, education opportunities, family matters, entertainment, and essential life issues.
Unite US is a service-disabled veteran-owned business that focuses on delivering health, human & social services. The company designs, builds, and deploys best-in-class case management and care coordination technology.
Also, the Unite US software empowers public, private, and nonprofit resources within communities across the country to leverage a common platform. The Unite US network addresses the social determinants of health by coordinating resources through secure electronic referrals and collaborative case management tools tracking 100% of outcomes.
Black Rifle Coffee Company
Black Rifle Coffee Company is a coffee business founded by former CIA contractor, Evan Hafer. The company is veteran-owned and operated, and its coffee is roasted in small batches. Black Rifle Coffee Company sources their beans worldwide, and they offer various coffees, as well as tea and gear.
Elemental Path is the creator of CogniToys, WiFi-enabled smart toys that learn and grow with kids. The service-disabled business is owned by Donald Coolidge (US Marine Corps) and powered by IBM Watson with Elemental Paths patent pending personality engine. CogniToys offer kids a fun and educational speech-based play experience without a screen.
Rhumbix is a veteran-owned and operated construction workforce management company. The company was founded by Stanford engineering graduates Zach Scheel (US Air Force) and Drew DeWalt (US Navy). Rhumbix provides a mobile platform that leverages the power of data to help contractors improve safety, optimize labor productivity, and reduce costs.
Hire Veterans is a veteran-owned business that connects businesses with qualified veterans for employment opportunities. The company was founded by Michael Dominguez (US Army, Infantry) and James Dominguez (US Army, Corps of Engineers). Hire Veterans offers various services to help businesses find and hire veterans, including resume writing, job postings, and veteran talent sourcing.
GoldenKey is a veteran-owned business that provides various real estate services, including residential and commercial sales, property management, and investment consulting. The company was founded by Brandon Frere (US Army, Infantry) and Michael Strobel (US Army, Special Forces). GoldenKey is located in Durham, North Carolina, San Francisco, California, and St. Louis, MO.
The Department of Defense is committed to supporting service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. These businesses offer a wide range of products and services and provide value to the DOD and the country. If you are a veteran-owned business, be sure to check out the DOD’s website for more information on how to get started. Also, plenty of grants are available for veteran-owned businesses, so don’t be afraid to apply for them.
Furthermore, if you require any specific services, remember that many businesses are ready and willing to help. All you have to do is ask around or look online for more information. Lastly, remember to spread the word to other veterans about the great opportunities for veteran-owned businesses. Helping others is what the veteran community is all about.