Veterans starting or growing a small business in Louisiana may have heard about opportunities that are only awarded to former members of the armed services. According to the U.S. General Services Administration, a percentage of most federal contracts are set-aside for specific small businesses, including those owned by service-disabled veterans. In order to apply, however, your business must first receive certification as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, or SDVOSB. You accomplish this when your company is at least 51% owned and controlled unconditionally by a service-disabled veteran.

To prove that you are a service-disabled veteran controlling the business, you may have to show that you are the individual who is making the material changes and primary decisions for the company. Demonstrating how well you manage the day-to-day operations can help in gaining significant trust with potential contractors. Keeping detailed records and copies of important paperwork that you have signed may also serve as substantial proof that the company is under your control.

If you are launching a new veteran-owned business, you should give careful consideration to how you plan on generating your company’s income and who your potential customers will be. If your objective is to provide products or services to the federal government or military, it is to your advantage to learn about those specific contracts that have been set aside for veteran-owned businesses.

Using the U.S. Government SAM database

Once you are confident that you can overcome any challenge regarding whether the business is under the ownership and control of a veteran, the next step is to register your profile on the U.S. Government System for Award Management database, or SAM.gov. When your business is in their database, you may then search for government set-aside opportunities and apply if your business meets their specified requirements.

Entering into SDVOSB set-aside contracts

In April of 2019, the VA announced its goal to increase the number of contracts awarded to SDVOSBs. This is an opportunity for qualifying small businesses to take advantage of an increased number of federal contracts that have been set aside for them. For service-disabled and veteran entrepreneurs in Louisiana, growing a business through U.S. government contracts becomes more achievable when you know what to expect when interacting with federal agencies.