Becoming a Founder

Resources for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses

Did you know that there are specific resources available to support veteran-owned small businesses? Learn more about how to access and use these resources.

Blog Author - Justworks
Oct 19, 20233 minutes
Blog Author - Justworks

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

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If you're a veteran-owned small business, you're in good company. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 320,000 businesses were veteran-owned in 2020, and these companies employed an estimated 3.6 million people. 

As a veteran, you likely have many traits that prepared you for small business leadership, as well as practical skills that can help you as a founder or entrepreneur. And while every business has its challenges and obstacles to overcome, the good news is that there are many resources specifically available to support veteran-owned small businesses and veteran entrepreneurs. 

Here, we'll dive into some of these resources and how to access them, whether you're just starting out or you're further along in your business journey. 


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Veteran-Owned Business Certification

To tap into the benefits of veteran-owned enterprises, the first step is to have your business classified in this category.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has two classifications for certified veteran enterprises:

  1. Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB)

  2. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) 

It's important to note that not every business run by a former military member is classified as "veteran-owned." To qualify and obtain a veteran-owned business certification (called a VetCert), your business must meet these guidelines:

  • No less than 51% of the business must be owned and controlled by one or more veterans

  • For a SDVSOB, the same applies, and the veteran owner(s) must be rated as service-disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

  • Be considered a small business according to the SBA's size standards, and be registered with 

The SBA provides a helpful fact sheet to review as you're getting started with the application process.

VetCert Benefits 

Being designated as a veteran-owned enterprise and obtaining a VetCert has several benefits for your business. Some of these include:

  • Eligibility to compete for sole-source and set-aside contracts at the V.A. and across the federal government 

  • Eligibility for the Vets First Verification Program that includes resources, education, and training to help you learn how to do business with the V.A.

  • Access to SBA tools and resources to help you start or grow your business

VetCert also allows veteran business owners to reach a broader network of customers, solidify contracts, and become profitable.

Additional Programs for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Beyond VetCert, there are several other national resources available to help start and grow your business, through SBA, V.A., and more. Here are a few to explore:

  • SBA's Boots to Business program is built for transitioning service members, including National Guard and Reserves, and their spouses. The program supports veteran entrepreneurs with training courses that cover the fundamentals of business management, including market research, organizational design, and financial planning. 

  • The V.A. offers a Veteran Entrepreneur Portal — a valuable tool for veterans aspiring to be business owners. Here, you will find details on financing, government contracting, and other veteran initiatives.

  • Veteran Institute for Procurement (VIP) helps veteran-owned small businesses increase their ability to win government contracts. Eligibility varies depending on the program, but all are free for veteran-owned businesses.

  • Bunker Labs is another provider of programs tailored to veteran entrepreneurs, including an incubator for early-stage startups, and a year-long program for CEOs. 

  • Female veterans can check out Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-WISE). This training program in entrepreneurship and small business management is offered through Syracuse University. 

For even more programs for veteran entrepreneurs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers a nice roundup.

Finding Local Support

Support doesn't stop with these national programs. Resources may also be available in your city or local area. 

Here are some more ideas to explore:

  • SBA District Offices are available across the country and territories to help you understand and use the SBA's programs and services. For example, the Veterans Business Outreach Center Program features workshops, counseling, mentorship, and training services available in SBA district offices. They also list upcoming events in your district.

  • Look into what state or local directories exist in your area where you can list your business for greater reach and exposure. For example, the NYC Department of Veterans Services offers a map of veteran-owned businesses in the city, giving them more visibility to potential customers.

  • As your company grows, you may want to hire fellow veterans in your neighborhood. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program can help you find veteran talent in your community. 

As you can see, there are many opportunities for veteran-owned business enterprises to get training, help, and guidance.

How Justworks Helps Your Business

Justworks knows small businesses. While veteran-owned businesses may face some unique challenges, you also face many of the same hurdles as many other companies. Hurdles like running payroll efficiently, accessing great benefits to offer your team, or keeping up with all the HR tasks on your plate.

Justworks can help you overcome these challenges and grow your business. Learn more about Justworks Payroll, our lightweight payroll product that's great for businesses who are getting up and running. Or explore Justworks PEO, an all-in-one payroll, HR, and benefits solution for businesses looking for a more robust offering. 

Ready to get started? Let's join together and build a program that works for your business.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.
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Written By
Blog Author - Justworks
Oct 19, 20233 minutes

Justworks is a technology company that levels the playing field for all small businesses. Through our software and as a partner, we help our customers take care of their teams, streamline their operations, and navigate the complex aspects of managing a workforce with confidence.

Learn more with Justworks’ Resources

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