How to Become a Vet-Friendly Business

Qualified veteran-owned businesses in Ohio and Pennsylvania can realize benefits from special designations the two states offer.

Ohio’s Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (VBE) procurement program provides preference or bonus points to certified companies that compete to contract with the state  to supply the goods or services it needs, including eligible construction services.

The VBE program applies to all state agencies’ purchases made by bid or proposal under chapter 125 of the Ohio Revised Code. Essentially, the program allows for:

• Prices on bids submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to exceed those prices on bids submitted by businesses not certified as veteran-friendly by up to 5% and still be eligible to win the award.

• Scores on proposals submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to be up to 5% lower than the scores businesses uncertified as veteran-friendly submit and still be eligible to win the award.

To be eligible for certification, the applicant business must satisfy one of the following criteria:

• At least 10% of its employees are veterans or on active service.

• At least 51% of the applicant business is owned by veterans or persons on active service.

• Should the applicant be a corporation 51% of which is not owned by veterans or persons on active service, at least 51% of the board of directors must be veterans or persons on active service.

• The business is certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business or a Veteran-Owned Small Business and the owner(s) of the business meets the definition of veteran as defined in the Ohio Administrative Code.

The applicant must complete a Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise application and provide supporting documentation as required. The business that applies for certification must provide records verifying veteran status, which demonstrate an owner or employee’s status as a veteran or person on active service.

A checklist to support documentation for Ohio can be found here. The completed application and supporting documentation can be submitted to

Application requirements are similar for Pennsylvania business owners who seek veteran certification. Learn more here.

Sources: Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.