The State of 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.
In order to be eligible for certification, the applicant business must satisfy one of the following criteria:
- At least ten percent of its employees are veterans or on active service;
- At least fifty-one percent of the applicant business is owned by veterans or persons on active service;
- If the applicant business is a corporation fifty-one percent of which is not owned by veterans or persons on active service, at least fifty-one percent of the board of directors are veterans or persons on active service; or
- The business is certified by the United States 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 Rule 123:5-1-01(II) of the Ohio Administrative Code.
Steps for VBE Certification
The applicant must complete a Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise application and provide supporting documentation as required (a list of which can be found here). The business applying for certification must provide records verifying veteran status, which demonstrate an owner's or employee's status as a veteran or person on active service. Acceptable records include:
- United States Department of Defense form 214 (DD-214);
- United States Department of Defense form 215 (DD-215);
- United States Uniformed identification card (DD Form 2);
- United States Department of Veterans Affairs identification card;
- United States Department of Defense military identification;
- Ohio driver's license with armed forces logo;
- National Guard Bureau Form 22 (NGB-22); or
- Any other official documentation verifying status.
Steps to Certification
- Complete the application.
- Submit supporting documentation as required to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits of VBE Certification
The VBE program applies to all state agencies' purchases made by bid or proposal under chapter 125 of the Ohio Revised Code (R.C.). 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 five percent and still be eligible for winning the award; and
- scores on proposals submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to be up to five percent lower than the proposal scores submitted by businesses not certified as veteran-friendly and still be eligible for winning the award.
Statutory and Regulatory Authority
The enabling statutes for the VBE program is R.C. 9.318. The regulations that govern the program are found in Ohio Adm. Code Chapter 123:5-1-01 and 123:5-1-16.