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Veterans Small Business Development

DC Veterans Small Business Development Page

Mission: Connecting veteran entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners with the resources needed to be successful.

MOVA is committed to helping veterans interested in starting their own small business, as well as providing resources for the development of existing veteran business owners. Veterans leave the military with a highly experienced skill-set attuned for small business, including managing an effective team, establishing and following operating procedures, and focus to achieve success.

The District of Columbia business community has a strong interest in taking advantage of the diverse skill-set veterans possess, and by collaborating with the local business community, MOVA is working to create veteran-centric programs designed to offer you the support needed to start and succeed in business.

*The resources on this page are designed to assist veterans who are currently or have a desire to become business owners. *

Forming Your Business

Veterans that are interested in conducting business operations in the District of Columbia must be licensed. Business licensing is administered through the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), ready to start a business but, don’t know where to start? Download a copy of the  4 Steps to Obtaining a Basic Business License

1. Choose a Business Structure  –  The business structure you choose influences everything from day-to-day operations to taxes, to how much of your personal assets are at risk. You should choose a business structure that gives you the right balance of legal protections and benefits. The US Small Business Administration works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor or train small businesses. Click Here to contact local resource partners, for business counsel.

2.  Choose your business name – Register your business name to protect it. Corporate Registration if operating as a corporate entity ie. Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Partnership) Trade Name Registration if planning on using a fictitious or shortened version of the corporate name when conducting business. Ready to register? Click Here to register an account with DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and begin the process of registering your business.

3. Register with Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and DC Office of Tax and Revenue  –  

  1. IRS Apply for Employer Identification Number (EIN) online at irs.gov, in person at 77 K Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002, or via telephone at (202) 803-9000
  2. DC Office of Tax (OTR) Register EIN with the DC Office of Tax and Revenue online at mytax.dc.gov, in-person at 1101 4th Street, SW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20024, or via telephone at (202) 727-4TAX.
  3. For-Profit: Complete FR-500 (Combined Business Tax Registration)   Non-Profit: Complete FR-500 (Combined Business Tax Registration) Complete FR-164 (OTR Application for Exemption)
  4. Clean Hands Certification: Sign an affidavit stating you do not owe more than $100 to the Government of the District of Columbia. Visit dcra.dc.gov/publication/dcra-clean-hands-self-certification-form

4. Registration with Office of the Zoning Administrator

Certificate of Occupancy (COO): If operating out of an office located in the District. Visit dcra.dc.gov/service/get-certificate-occupancy.  Home Occupation Permit (HOP): If conducting business out of a home in the District. Visit dcra.dc.gov/service/get-home-occupation-permit.

5. Basic Business License (BBL) Application

Submit a BBL application including the required supporting documentation and payment. Your business' activities determine the type of Basic Business License required. Visit mybusiness.dc.gov

6. Open a Business Bank Account

Open a business account when you're ready to start accepting or spending money on your business. A business bank account helps you stay legally compliant and protected. It also provides benefits to your customers and employees.

7. Obtain Business Insurance

Business insurance protects you from the unexpected costs of running a business. Accidents, natural disasters, and lawsuits could run you out of business if you’re not protected with the right insurance.

8. *For Potential Government Contractors – Obtain a DUNS Number

The DUNS Number is used to establish your company’s D&B® file, which can help potential partners and lenders learn more about your business, and may also help them make more informed decisions about whether or not to work with you as a client, supplier, or partner. There is no cost to obtaining a DUNS Number Click Here To Obtain Your Free DUNS Number

9. For Potential Government Contractors, Register with the System for Award Management (SAM.GOV is the self-certifying credentialing system that allows veterans to identify all government agencies that they are indeed a veteran-owned business) the government recognizes veteran entrepreneurship as an important aspect of veterans’ health and our societal well-being. The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 established initiatives to meet these needs and set standards for reserving a percentage of federal contract opportunities for veteran-owned and service disabled veteran-owned companies. VA Certification as a Veteran Owned Business (VOSB) or Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOSB), aka VETBIZ certification, requires the following:

  • Determined to be a small business by the SBA Size Determination Program
  • 51% ownership by one or more veterans or service-disabled veterans
  • To obtain the SDVOSB distinction, a service-connected disability must first be established by the Department of Defense or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 

9. For Potential Government Contractors, Register in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)

Once SAM registration is completed, a link to the SBA’s Supplemental page will be displayed on the screen. Clicking this link takes the vendor to the page where they may enter their firm’s information which will then be populated into the SBA Dynamic Small Business Search. Every applicable question on the DSBS should be completed.


Doing Business with DC Government (Local Government Municipality)

1. For one-on-one counseling sessions, or to schedule an appointment to have all of your business development questions answered visit the Small Business Resource Center 

2. Already have a business license or interested in conducting business in DC? Ready to take your business to the next level? Visit the DC Business Portal to learn how to take your business to the next level! Register to become a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE)

3. The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) is dedicated to maximizing Small Business Enterprise (SBE) participation while linking SBEs to contracting and procurement opportunities. CBE Connect is a comprehensive and robust undertaking by DSLBD to provide CBEs a one-stop shop for all contracting and procurement needs.

SBE is a subcategory of the DC Government’s Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program that gives certified businesses a preference when bidding on DC Government contracts. To be certified as an SBE, a business must demonstrate that they are local and receive the Local Business Enterprise (LBE) designation. Then, the business must demonstrate that it is independently owned, operated, and controlled; meets the U.S. Small Business Administration definition of a small business, and has not exceeded DSLBD thresholds for annualized gross receipts over the past 3 years.

*Businesses are encouraged to review the detailed records for this budget category at FY 18 SBE Opportunity Guide (Green Book) to identify potential areas in which to expand their business and pursue contract opportunities. The green book monitors 84 DC government agencies with expenditures that can be spent with SBEs


Available Assistance to Help SBEs Compete For Contract Opportunities

DSLBD’s DC Procurement and Technical Assistance (DC PTAC) program offers free, in-depth contracting assistance to qualified DC businesses. Once SBEs meet DC PTAC requirements they may work with PTAC contracting specialists to expand their business to identify and compete for local and federal contract opportunities. Requirements: Must have a business plan, have a DUNS number, be a registered business with DCRA, and have past performance (government preferred). People often have the misconception that any CBE/SBE can work with PTAC, but they must meet the requirements.

Contact DC PTAC at 202.727.3900 or dslbd.dc.gov/ptac


Doing Business with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Businesses must already have an active CBE certification in order to participate in the program. Please note DSLBD does not participate in the process of processing or making final determinations on MWAA’s certification program.

Begin to apply for MWAA’s certification program by clicking the following link http://www.mwaa.com/business/department-supplier-diversity-dsd-1

Interested In Doing Business With the Department of Veterans Affairs? (Federal Government)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), through its Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE), established specific programs to help Veterans start a business and become qualified as a Veteran-Owned, or a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, which will enable qualified business owners to be eligible for federal set-asides. To begin the process of verifying your business as a VOSB or SDVOSB Click Here

For more information, including assistance with starting a business, becoming qualified, and other business opportunities, visit the VA Veteran Business website at http://www.va.gov/osdbu/Veteran/

There is no charge to receive assistance with the CVE application process Department of Veterans Affairs provides free of charge, Certified Verification Counselors. To contact a VA Certified Counselor in your area Click Here


Other Business Development Resources

Boots to Business

V-WISE - Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (for post - 9/11 Veterans with service-connected disabilities and their family caregivers)

Dog Tag Inc. Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program

Tips for DC Small Businesses

Reducing Payroll Costs

Promotion Planning

Eco-Friendly Restaurant Tips