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Positioning Small Businesses for Federal Government Contracts: SDVOSB Certification Requirements, Mistakes to Avoid, and Preventing SDVOSB Fraud


Small businesses play a crucial role in the economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and contributing to local communities. For many small businesses, securing federal government contracts can provide a significant boost to their growth and stability.

One avenue for accessing these opportunities is through the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) certification. This article explores the requirements for SDVOSB certification, how small businesses can position themselves for federal government contracts, common mistakes to avoid, and strategies to prevent SDVOSB fraud.

1. Understanding SDVOSB Certification Requirements:

The SDVOSB certification program is designed to promote the participation of service-disabled veterans in government contracting. To qualify, businesses must meet several requirements, including:

a. Ownership and Control: The business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans.

b. Veteran’s Service-Connected Disability: The service-disabled veteran must have a disability connected to their military service, as verified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

c. Size Standards: The business must meet the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) size standards for the relevant industry.

d. Good Character: The business owner must have a good character and be able to demonstrate the necessary experience and expertise to manage the business effectively.

2. Positioning Small Businesses for Federal Government Contracts:

a. Market Research: Conduct thorough market research to identify federal agencies and contracts relevant to your industry and capabilities. Understand the specific requirements and develop strategies to align your business accordingly.

b. Capability Statement: Create a comprehensive capability statement highlighting your business’s core competencies, past performance, and relevant experience. Tailor this document to specific government agencies and contracts.

c. Networking and Relationships: Attend industry events, trade shows, and conferences to network with government officials, prime contractors, and other small businesses. Building relationships and partnerships can enhance your chances of securing government contracts.

d. Proposal Writing: Develop effective proposal writing skills or seek professional assistance. Emphasize your unique qualifications, past performance, and how your business aligns with the government’s requirements.

e. Certifications and Registrations: Besides SDVOSB certification, explore other certifications such as the 8(a) Business Development Program, Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification, and Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) certification, depending on your eligibility. Additionally, register your business in the System for Award Management (SAM) database.

3. Mistakes to Avoid in Pursuing  Service Disabled Veteran Government Contracts

a. Inaccurate or Incomplete Documentation: Ensure that all documentation submitted for SDVOSB certification and government contract proposals is accurate, complete, and compliant with the relevant regulations. Inaccurate information can result in disqualification or potential legal consequences.

b. Lack of Diligence in Research and Preparation: Failing to conduct thorough research on service disabled veteran government contracts opportunities, agency requirements, and competitors can hinder your chances of success. Invest time and effort into understanding the landscape and positioning your business accordingly.

c. Unrealistic Pricing or Overcommitment: Be cautious when submitting pricing proposals. Unrealistic pricing or overcommitting on resources can lead to inadequate delivery or financial strain on your business.

d. Poor Contract Performance: Delivering subpar performance on government contracts can damage your reputation and impact future opportunities. Prioritize effective project management, quality control, and customer satisfaction.

4. Preventing SDVOSB Fraud:

SDVOSB fraud undermines the integrity of the program and disadvantages legitimate businesses. To prevent fraud, consider the following strategies:

a. Internal Compliance: Establish robust internal controls and processes

to ensure compliance with SDVOSB requirements and maintain accurate records. Regularly review and update the documentation to reflect any changes in ownership or control.

b. Educate Employees: Train employees on the requirements and obligations associated with SDVOSB certification. Foster a culture of integrity and ethical conduct within your organization.

c. Monitor and Report Fraud: Stay vigilant and report any suspected instances of SDVOSB fraud to the appropriate authorities, such as the SBA’s Office of Inspector General or the Department of Justice. Cooperate with investigations and audits to protect the integrity of the program.

Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) play a crucial role in the federal government contracting landscape. To maintain the integrity of the SDVOSB program and avoid government contract fraud, it is essential for these businesses to adhere to ethical practices and comply with all regulations. Firstly, SDVOSBs should ensure strict adherence to eligibility requirements throughout the certification process. This includes maintaining accurate records of service-disabled veteran ownership and control, promptly reporting any changes in ownership or management, and ensuring that the highest-ranking officer is a service-disabled veteran. By maintaining eligibility and providing accurate representations of their status, SDVOSBs can avoid fraudulent activities and potential criminal liability.

Secondly, SDVOSBs should have robust internal controls in place to ensure compliance with government regulations. This includes maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial records, implementing effective accounting systems, and conducting periodic internal audits. By proactively monitoring their financial transactions and ensuring transparency in their business operations, SDVOSBs can minimize the risk of fraud and potential legal consequences. Additionally, it is crucial for SDVOSBs to stay informed about changes in government contracting regulations and maintain a thorough understanding of the applicable laws. By staying up to date with legal requirements and seeking legal advice if needed, SDVOSBs can navigate the complexities of government contracting and mitigate the risk of inadvertent non-compliance that could lead to legal liability.


Securing federal government contracts can be a game-changer for small businesses, providing opportunities for growth and stability. By understanding the requirements for SDVOSB certification, avoiding common mistakes, and implementing strategies to prevent fraud, small businesses can position themselves effectively for federal government contracts. With dedication, preparation, and integrity, SDVOSBs can contribute to the nation’s economic prosperity while fulfilling their mission of supporting service-disabled veterans.

If you are a service disabled veteran business and have questions or need help with Service Disabled Veteran Government Contracts, call our SDVOSB attorneys and government small business lawyers at 1-866-601-5518.

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