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How Applying for a Veteran-owned Certification Can Help Your Startup 

Currently, there are over 1.76 million veteran-owned enterprises in the United States, generating around $1 trillion in annual sales for the economy. When you consider the ever-increasing demand for products and services offered by veteran-run businesses, these numbers will only grow further in 2023.  

Having said that, the main challenge for such companies is to connect with their prospective customers, who are actively searching for verified “veteran-owned” products and services. This verification is an important consideration for customers, and this is where certifications come in.  

Getting accredited through a trusted agency like 58joralemon can help veteran-run businesses establish authenticity and credibility for their brands. 

Propelling growth through veteran-owned certification. 

If you can highlight the “veteran-owned business” status on all branding and promotional materials for your company – such as packaging, storefront signage, visiting cards, website, email signature, and brochure – you can attract more customers. 

You can even highlight your business’ diversity status on advertising platforms (social media or search engines) to gain the attention of individuals and communities that want to support veteran entrepreneurs. 

Having a veteran-owned accreditation can help your start-up business reach and expand to worldwide markets. 

  A survey by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA) confirms that two-thirds of Americans prefer spending on veteran-owned businesses over civilian-owned ones. It is their way of showing gratitude and support to the military community. 

More reasons to get your business certified 

The benefits of diversity certifications go way beyond the scope of the marketing landscape. Yes, it helps generate more leads AND convert them into sales faster. When you have a verified stamp saying “veteran-owned business”, you open doors to federal contracts, funding programs, counseling options, corporate supply chains, training, and networking. Some of these are:

1. Eligibility to bid on federal contracts – Presently, 40% of veteran-owned companies are in the retail and construction sectors or are offering professional services in scientific/technical areas. These areas are in high demand on the list of government projects. The federal government even sets aside 3% of all contract bids for certified Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). That’s a lot of contracting dollars. 

2. Access to large projects with ‘Diversity Supplier’ status: Veteran-owned businesses come under marginalized diverse communities. Approximately 15% of Fortune 1000 corporations prioritize purchasing from verified diversity (veteran-owned) suppliers. It is a very lucrative opportunity for veteran-operated start-ups to capitalize. 

3. Access to funding and loans – According to the Gusto Survey of New Businesses 2021, veterans own only 10.7% of new businesses in the United States. Running a business is hard and making it successful is even more difficult. Veterans often have no credit history and find it extremely hard to get bank loans for their start-ups. Initial capital or working capital crunch can be overcome with the following options, and having a veteran-owned certification does help speed up things:  

(a) Small Business Administration (SBA) provides many types of assistance for veterans to find suitable business loans 

(b) Grants for small businesses: 

(c) StreetShares Foundation Veteran Small Business Award 

(d) Veterans Business Fund (VBF) 

(e) Hivers & Strivers

Are you ready to register your veteran-owned business? Here is your eligibility checklist for getting certified: 

Firstly, three veteran-related certifications are available in the market for veteran-run start-ups. These are

  • veteran-owned business enterprises,
  • veteran-disability-owned business enterprises, and
  • service-disabled veteran-owned business enterprises. 

Before figuring out the best certification for your business, you need to check if you qualify as a ‘veteran’ as per the legally defined criteria:  

  • You served on active duty with the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Reservists for any duration
  • You were discharged or released from duty under conditions other than dishonorable. 

If you fulfill these two qualifiers, you can proceed to check whether you are eligible for veteran-owned certification: 

  • Your business is a small-scale enterprise and is not a non-profit.  
  • At least 51% of the business is owned and controlled by veterans (an individual or a group).
  • The business should be independent and not reliant on another company for sustenance.  
  • The veteran(s) need to be employed full-time as office workers and should be actively involved in the company’s day-to-day management. It means that the veteran(s) must handle daily operations, service decisions, and strategic policy decisions.
  • The veteran(s) must hold a permanent highest designation in the company, such as a head official or managerial position.  
  • One of the veterans must have complete managerial expertise to run the enterprise.  
  • Veterans must receive the highest pay in the company. If they are taking a lesser pay, they must provide a complete formal document explaining the reason how it benefits the business organization. 

Additional conditions: 

‘Service-Disabled Veteran Disability-Owned Business Enterprises’ (SDV-DOBE®) – The eligible veterans must have sustained their disability during the service period. The physical or mental disability incurred should substantially impair one or more major life activities. 

Also read: 10 Reasons why you should certify your veteran owned business

‘Veteran Disability-Owned Business Enterprises’ (V-DOBE®) – The disability of the veteran must not have occurred during the time of service.  

What is the best way to get veteran-owned certification? 

Cocolevio’s 58Joralemon is a third-party certification agency that screens the application and supporting documents to validate your company’s eligibility to qualify as a veteran-owned business enterprise. The application simplifies the certification process and makes it impervious to rejections/re-applications. 58Joralemon collects & submits information and documentation needed to verify eligibility and process your application without hassles. 

The certification process starts with a nominal fee of $99. The entire process normally takes 1-3 weeks to complete. 

To get your start-up business certified as veteran-owned, register here. 

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