50 Innovators of the Year 2022
Veterans of all generations have one major thing in common. They live by the motto of “adapt and overcome.” From the slightest inconvenience to enormous hardship, they pride themselves on being able to make something useful of the situation they’ve been handed. Many carry this into their post-enlistment lives and their businesses. Service-disabled veterans are afforded many great opportunities to help get a business up and running, and in doing so, they can also help their brothers and sisters in arms.
We know that small businesses are a vital component of our economy. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), there are nearly 30 million small businesses in the United States, and they collectively employ 47.8 percent of the US workforce.
Furthermore, SBA reports that 2.4million small businesses are classified as veteran-owned businesses. According to the SBA and census estimates, veteran-owned firms showed receipts of $1.14 trillion, had an aggregate annual payroll of $195 billion, and employed over five million people in 2012. Nearly 7.3% of those veterans reported having a service-connected disability.
The National Veteran Business Development Council is an innovative company that helps identify and certify service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses in the government and commercial marketplace. The National Veteran Business Development Council is the original Veteran Owned Business Certification organization developed by Veterans for Veterans. The purpose is to provide a credible and reliable certifying authority for all-size businesses, ensuring that valid documentation of a veteran’s status, ownership, and operational control exists.
In conversation with Keith King, Founder and CEO of the National Veteran Business Development Council
Q. Why was National Veteran Business Development established?
I established National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) to address the growing need to identify and certify Service Disabled and Veteran Owned Businesses (SD/VOBs) in the corporate marketplace. A primary goal for NVBDC is to bring SD/VOBs and Supplier Diversity Professionals together to establish business relationships. By becoming a corporate NVBDC member, our members can meet their Supplier Diversity goals with access to our Certified SD/VOBs. NVBDC is devoted to providing certified SD/VOBs access to these corporate members. Through networking events, educational sessions, 1:1 matchmaking, mentoring programs, and on-site training, NVBDC promotes its value proposition to include certified SD/VOBs in diversity and inclusion procurement practices and policies in the $80 billion corporate marketplaces.
Q. How could you possibly change the perception of Americans about veteran owned-companies?
It started in 2012 when NVBDC created the rationale for Veteran-Owned businesses to be included in Corporate Supplier Diversity programs. The presentation includes data on the economic disadvantages, educational disparity, and career hindrances. We knew that our Veterans had skills and knowledge that would benefit the corporations we sought.
The corporations demand that “you Veterans must create a certification program that MEETS OUR CORPORATE STANDARDS. We are not going to risk hiring self-proclaimed veteran businesses.”
In April 2014, NVBDC completed its Certification process testing in conjunction with representatives from GM, Ford, Chrysler, Kellogg’s, WBENC, NMSDC, VBOC, SCORE, and the VA. Receiving their collective approval, NVBDC launched its certification program while it worked on completing its online certification program- released nationally in June 2015.
Q. How is NVBDC certification helpful for corporate members?
The NVBDC administers a rigorous certification process designed to withstand the scrutiny of governmental and corporate entities seeking to utilize certified SD/VOBs. The NVBDC adopted these rigorous standards to align with supplier diversity industry best practices.
Q. What is innovation according to NVBDC?
NVBDC Certification provides Veteran business owners access to an $80 Billion market that did not exist before we created our certification program. We provide the opportunity to participate in this new market through our corporate partners. NVBDC’s value proposition for SD/VOBs is to provide certification that is recognized, accepted, and required by many corporate supplier diversity industry professionals. Once NVBDC Certification is achieved, SD/VOBs can actively compete for supplier diversity spend opportunities with major corporations.
Q. The veterans built NVBDC. What impact has it created on the loyalty of the customers?
NVBDC has grown from a visionary concept to a nationally accepted certification source supporting corporate America’s efforts to add Service-Disabled and Veteran-Owned Businesses (SD/VOBs) to their supplier diversity programs. To completely understand the meaning of this to all our veteran business owners, they MUST accept the responsibility to adopt and embrace corporate certification standards.
In 1999 the Federal Government passed PL 106-50 establishing Service-Disabled and Veteran-Owned Small businesses as legal business classifications in the Federal Government procurement regulations. Public Law (PL 108-183/December 16, 2003), known as “Veterans Benefits Act of 2003,” enables Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses to receive sole-source and restricted competition contracts for goods purchased by the Federal Government. In 2008 the VA introduced its verification program known as CVE at no cost to the veteran business owner.
These laws set up an unrealistic expectation that the corporate certification effort would somehow offer the same benefits. Understanding the differences in rules, applications, and terminology between public and private sector certification programs is vital. The veterans who understand that NVBDC certification offers them access and opportunities with corporations are “proud” to have earned our certification. Our corporate members trust us to provide them with “real” veteran Owned businesses.
Enabling Service Disabled and Veteran Owned Businesses to grow in the corporate marketplace
Keith King is the Founder and CEO of the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC). He is a 40+ Year Veteran advocate with heavy legislative experience, and a strong record of success in writing, lobbying for, and passing laws to benefit ALL veterans.
Keith’s volunteer efforts on behalf of his fellow Veterans have been fueled by his success in his personal and business life. Through the years, Keith has taken on various leadership roles on the National, State, and Local levels. He is committed to helping today’s veterans as they transition out of the military and back into American society. Keith is a Vietnam Veteran.