Federal Contracting Offers Growth Opportunity for Veteran Entrepreneurs

Federal Contracting Offers Growth Opportunity for Veteran Entrepreneurs
Photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika/Air Force

Are you a transitioning servicemember or veteran thinking about starting your own small business? Or maybe you have already established your small business and are exploring options to expand your reach. One question, though – how?


Before you dive into launching your new venture, opening a new location, or expanding your product line, it’s important to consider which growth strategy makes the most sense for you and your business. One option is to become a federal contractor: The U.S. government is the largest customer in the world and procures all types of goods, supplies, and services. 


There are two broad categories of government contractors:

  • Prime contractors bid on and win contracts directly from government agencies.
  • Subcontractors join prime contractor teams, usually to provide a specific capability or product.


To compete for contracts, you will need to qualify as a small business, register as a government contractor, and ensure your business complies with federal contracting rules. It sounds daunting, but the process to register as a federal contractor may be easier than you think. You can find more information and get started on the Small Business Administration’s website. 


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The federal government's goal is to award at least 3% of all federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) each year, and the government limits competition for certain contracts to business in the SDVOSB program. To qualify, your small business must:  

  • Be a small business (check out SBA.gov/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 and also make long-term decisions.


Need more help? Get free and personalized counseling services by contacting a Veterans Business Outreach Center adviser today!


Join MOAA's MET Program

Not sure what career path you would like to explore? Want to connect with others in the job-search process? Check out MOAA's virtual Military Executive Transition (MET) program, a one-day workshop to help military leaders and veterans seeking guidance in navigating the civilian sector. The next event is on tap for March 25; Premium and Life members receive significant registration discounts.


Learn More Register Now

About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.