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SBA path forward for Veteran Small Business Certification Program

WASHINGTON — National Veterans Small Business Week (NVSBW), Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s 33 million small businesses, announced consequential updates to the planned launch of SBA’s new Veteran Small Business Certification Program — including her intention to grant a one-year extension to firms verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)’s Vets First Verification Program through the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of the January 1, 2023 transfer date.

“As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, I am proud that the SBA is designing its new Veteran Small Business Certification Program to be the gold standard in customer experience and support to ensure we grow our base of veteran federal contractors,” said Administrator Guzman. “Adding this certification to SBA’s portfolio of capital, bonding, and contracting programs will enable us to better serve our veteran entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses through federal procurement opportunities.” 

Scheduled to officially begin operations and accept new applications in January 2023, the Veteran Small Business Certification Program will be the Agency’s primary vehicle for handling certification for veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs)—important classifications that enable those businesses to qualify for sole-source and set-aside federal contracting awards.

Administrator Guzman also shared much-anticipated news that she intends to grant a one-year extension to current veteran-owned small businesses verified by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of the transfer date on January 1, 2023.

On that one-year extension, Administrator Guzman added, “Our team is committed to supporting a smooth and seamless transition for our veteran customers and will be providing a one-time, one-year certification extension for VA-certified veteran-owned firms, making it as easy as we can for them to continue their entrepreneurial journey.”

The certification period will extend to four years on a one-time basis for firms verified by the VA as of January 1, 2023.

Updates in the new program will include:

  • Firms verified by the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as of January 1, 2023, will be automatically granted certification by SBA for the remainder of the firm’s eligibility period.
  • All firms verified by the VA as of the January 1, 2023 transfer date will receive a one-year extension to their eligibility, giving veterans an extra year to get recertified under the new SBA system.
  • The extension will allow SBA to process applications from new entrants into the program and grow the base of certified firms.
  • New applicants certified by SBA after January 1, 2023, will receive the standard three-year certification period. Along with the recertification extension, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act grants a one-year grace period for self-certified SDVOSBs until January 1, 2024.
  • During the grace period, businesses have one year to file an application for SDVOSB certification and may continue to rely on their self-certification to compete for non-VA SDVOSB set-asides.
  • Self-certified SDVOSBs that apply before the expiration of the one-year grace period will maintain eligibility until the SBA makes a final eligibility decision.

Beginning January 1, 2024, both veteran and service-disabled veteran small business owners will need to be certified to compete for federal contracting set-asides unless an application from a self-certified firm is pending an SBA decision.

For the latest information on the Veteran Small Business Certification program, visit www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/veteran-assistance-programs or email cvetransfer@sba.gov.

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