Veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists who own businesses can benefit from Washington state’s veteran-owned business (VOB) certification.
The certification is free and available to Washington-based businesses which are at least a 51 percent owned by honorably discharged veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
Businesses that receive the VOB certification will be registered in an online portal called Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) that government entities use to request bids on projects. Being listed in WEBS can help businesses win contracts with state or local government agencies. Gov. Jay Inslee has asked state agencies to do 5 percent of their purchasing from businesses owned by veterans or service members. VOB-certified businesses also are listed on the website of the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs.
Veterans must first register through an online portal called Washington’s Electronic Business Solution (WEBS), then submit documentation to prove their eligibility.
Veterans must provide proof of honorable veteran status with one of the following documents:
- DD214 member 4 copy
- Retired VA ID card
- Retirement certificate
- Discharge certificate or, if currently serving, military ID, badge, recent pay stub, or letter on military letterhead
To be eligible, a business must be owned by a veteran with a controlling stake in the company. Veterans can submit one of the following documents to prove an ownership stake of at least 51 percent in the business:
- Master business application
- Business plan
- Operating agreement
- Meeting minutes
- Shares report
- Stock certificate breakdown
- Tax forms with ownership percentage listed
- License (if sole proprietorship)
Community properties, or business that represent a 50/50 split between two veterans, are eligible as long as the veteran maintains day-to-day operational control of the business.
Finally, businesses must submit proof that their business is a Washington State Enterprise, defined as an enterprise incorporated in the state of Washington as a Washington domestic corporation, or — for enterprises that are not incorporated — as an enterprise whose principal place of business is located within the state of Washington.
Veterans can submit the necessary documents one of the following ways:
- Email to email@example.com
- Mail to: WDVA Business Registry, PO Box 41150, Olympia, WA 98504-1150
The program has been around since 2007, but Project Manager Jennifer Montgomery said there’s an ongoing effort to make veteran business owners aware it’s available to them.
“That’s the biggest piece for us, is getting the word out to business owners that this certification is out there,” she said. “Many business owners are busy doing their daily grind business and they’re not out there looking to sign up in the systems.”
More information is available at the WDVA’s website.
Thumbnail image courtesy of Craig Adderley, Pexels