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Exploring GSA Schedule Opportunities for Veteran-Owned Businesses Blog Feature
Stephanie Hagan

By: Stephanie Hagan on September 18th, 2023

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Exploring GSA Schedule Opportunities for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Government Business Development | 5 Min Read

It’s not easy to maintain a GSA Schedule contract, especially if you’re a small business and you have to juggle daily operations along with commercial sales and the government market. It can be especially difficult as a veteran-owned business—veterans can face significant obstacles entering the federal market. To attempt to mitigate this issue, the federal government has several programs and opportunities to help veteran business owners, especially small businesses, succeed as contractors. Let’s delve deeper into the opportunities available for veterans and how you can use your GSA Schedule to grow your company.

Opportunities as a Veteran-Owned Small Business

It’s no secret that the federal government prefers to use small businesses contractors. The Small Business Administration (SBA) publishes small business contracting goals each year, and several federal agencies publish their own goals as well, encouraging the use of small businesses over larger firms in the procurement process. One of these goals is unique to veteran-owned businesses. Additionally, small businesses have access to set-aside contracts including contracts open to all small business, or with a narrower scope meaning only certain designations such as veteran-owned businesses can apply.

If you are considered a small business and you are a veteran-owned company, we highly recommend you apply for a Veteran Small Business Certification through the SBA. This certification with the SBA allows Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs) to compete for federal sole-source and set-aside contracts in the federal government. Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSBs) also have access to opportunities for sole-source and set-aside contracts at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under the VA’s Vets First program (which we’ll discuss later in this blog).

How to Qualify as a Veteran-Owned Small Business

So, you think you may qualify as a VOSB and/or a SDVOSB, what’s the next step? To qualify as a VOSB, you must:

  • Be a small business according to SBA’s size standards
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more veterans
  • One or more veterans has full control over the day-to-day management, decision-making, and strategic policy of the business

To qualify for the SDVOSB program, your business must:

  • Be a small business according to SBA’s size standards
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans
  • Have one or more service-disabled veterans manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions
  • Eligible veterans must have a service-connected disability

All certifications have been moved to the SBA, and you can apply now through the Veteran Certification (VetCert) portal.

Searching for Contracting Opportunities as a Veteran Small Business

As mentioned above, if you are a certified small business and also have a certification through VetCert, you can use these designations to find contracting opportunities. Using procurement sites like, GSA eBuy, and Acquisition Gateway, you can find relevant contracts to bid on that are only open to either small businesses or even VOSB/SDVOSB contractors. Be sure to use the filters and keywords to ensure you are looking at all the unique opportunities available to you. Some may even be sole source, giving you the ultimate leverage.

There are also larger specialized contracting vehicles such as GWACS (Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts) out there that apply to both small businesses and veteran owned businesses. Examples of these are the existing Vets 2, Alliant 2, and upcoming vehicles such as Polaris, Alliant 3, and OASIS+

Veteran Support through the VA

The VA has several programs and resources to help veteran owned businesses succeed. For small businesses, the VA has a branch of the Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). Through this support center, veteran businesses can access tools, resources, and networking opportunities necessary to do business with VA and other federal agencies. There’s also a Direct Access program helping businesses network and build partnerships, as well as a veteran entrepreneurial portal, for veterans looking to grow, start, and sustain their small business.

Additionally, the VA has a Vets First Contracting Program which we'll cover below.

Taking Advantage of the Vets First Contracting Program

VOSBs and SDVOSBs can use the VA’s Vets First Contracting Program to find set-aside contracts issued by the VA. As one of the largest procurement organizations in the federal government, the VA presents ample opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses to bid on relevant contracts and win a piece of the government pie.

Under this program, the VA seeks to award at least 15% of its contracts to VOSBs and at least 3% to SDVOSBs. Veteran businesses can also use this program to find prime contractors to partner with. The VA has a large database of prime contractors, so small businesses can look for contractors to team up with on a project. It goes both ways as well—prime contractors need to find subcontractors to meet their annual goals, so they can use this program to find a company that fits.

Additional SBA Support for Veteran Businesses

The SBA offers other support in addition to their VetCert and small business contracting goals. For example, the SBA has training programs specific to the type of veteran business including:

  • Veterans and active service
  • Women veterans
  • Service-disabled veterans
  • Military families
  • Veteran businesses interested in federal procurement

If you are in need of financial support, the SBA offers loan programs and an authorized list of lenders by geography with the Lender Match tool.

If you need advice and hands on support, the Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) are available nationwide. These centers offer business plan workshops, concept assessments, mentorship, and training.

Succeeding in the Federal Marketplace as a Veteran-Owned Business

GSA Schedules open up a world of opportunities for veteran-owned businesses, offering them a platform to grow and contribute significantly to the government sector. By understanding the programs available and leveraging the resources and support provided by GSA/SBA/VA, veteran-owned businesses can carve out a successful place in the federal marketplace.

If you need help preparing your GSA Schedule for upcoming opportunities, or you would like to learn more about how you can get a GSA Schedule for your business, contact one of our consultants today. Many of our clients are veteran owned businesses and we would be happy to help you find the right path for your company.

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About Stephanie Hagan

Stephanie Hagan is the Training and Communications Manager for Winvale. Stephanie grew up in Sarasota, Florida, and earned her Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Rhetoric/Communications from the University of Richmond.