Information Guide for Service-Disabled Veteran and Veteran Disability-Owned Businesses
There are approximately 57 million people with disabilities in the U.S., and they’re nearly twice as likely to be self-employed. With initiatives like the USBLN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program (DSDP), they also have the ability to achieve greater economic success and independence. The program certifies disability-owned business enterprises (DOBE), including those owned by veterans with service-related disabilities, and connects them with industry leaders and decision makers.
Why Get Certified?
The USBLN’s Disability Supplier Diversity Program (DSDP) is the leading third-party certifier of disability-owned businesses. This nationally recognized program serves in an advocacy and certification capacity, and provides many distinct benefits:
- It links disability-owned businesses to contracting opportunities with corporate America, government and other buying organizations.
- It provides exclusive access to educational resources to expand an owner’s understanding of best practices when competing for contracts and procurement processes.
- It creates networking opportunities – through conferences, teleconferences, and trade fairs – that match leading corporate and government leaders with Disability Supplier Diversity Program participants to help foster business relationships.
- It provides access to key supplier diversity contacts of Fortune 500 and 1000 corporate partners.
- It advances a mentoring and business development program, in which corporate partners serve as mentors to certified disability-owned business enterprise mentees.
- It provides a voice for service-disabled veterans and the disability supplier community at large with government agencies and other prominent organizations.
Alignment with Veteran Affairs
The same qualities that make for effective military personnel – integrity, courage, resilience, teamwork – drive veterans, including service-disabled veterans, to succeed in the private sector, especially as business owners. Veteran Affairs provides many resources for veteran business owners, and the USBLN is dedicated to building upon the entrepreneurial tools provided.
- The USBLN certification process requirements align with those of the VA.
- The USBLN requires significantly less certification documentation for veteran and service-disabled veteran business owners already certified with Veteran Affairs, saving time and expediting the certification experience.
- With the USBLN, veterans who incur a disability outside of service have the ability to reference their veteran status and certify as Veteran-Disability Owned Business Enterprise (V-DOBE).
Connect with Fortune 500-1000 Companies
Certification by our national organization provides access to Fortune 500 and 1000 corporate partners, which has its own benefits:
- Key supplier diversity leaders of Fortune 500 and 1000 companies help DSDP certified disability-owned businesses better navigate their supply chain systems.
- Opportunity to build relationships with USBLN corporate partners actively looking for capable, innovative and competitive service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.
The DSDP provides a variety of resources in order to expand disability-owned business owners’ understanding of best practices when competing for contracts and procurement processes, including:
- Monthly teleconferences with relevant topics such as “How to do business with major corporations.”
- Information on bidding opportunities and supplier outreach and networking events.
- Executive education scholarships designed to strengthen management and technical skills, and grow business capacity.
- Networking events that provide face-to-face interaction with top business leaders, corporate buyers, and other diverse suppliers.
- A mentoring and business development program that matches partner representatives with certified suppliers to help improve their skills, business process and management acumen.
- Quarterly webinars, which aim to educate suppliers on specific topics important to their success.
The DSDP offers three different certifications: Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) Certification, Veteran-DOBE (V-DOBE) Certification, and Service-Disabled Veteran-DOBE (SDV-DOBE) Certification. A Disability-Owned Business Enterprise Certification (DOBE) is available to any business at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by a person with a disability. The Veteran-DOBE Certification (V-DOBE) is available to a business enterprise owned by a veteran with a disability, not related to their time in service. The Service-Disabled Veteran-DOBE Certification (SDV-DOBE) is available to a business enterprise owned by a veteran with a disability, whose disability was caused by their time in service. In order to get certified:
- Interested disability-owned business owners can submit a confidential application through the USBLN fully accessible online system.
- The USBLN’s National Certification Committee reviews all applications, and conducts site visits.
- The total certification time takes 90 days or less, much less than other traditional certifications.
The USBLN’s network is spread across the nation, ensuring that all certified disability-owned businesses receive support from coast-to-coast.
DOBE Spotlight Series: iDisability™
iDisability™ is an enterprise-wide eLearning solution. It was developed in a partnership between Joyce Bender and Andrew Houghton, both USBLN Certified DOBEs, and DOBE Host Committee Members.
DOBE Spotlight Series: Mona Lisa Faris
Mona Lisa Faris, the publisher of DiversityComm, originally planned to be a professor of intracultural communication and public speaking when she realized she needed to make an important decision: start a teaching fellowship, or take an entrepreneurial path and begin publishing a newsletter on diversity.
DOBE Spotlight Series: Pat Graves, Caption First
Caption First, a USBLN® Certified DOBE™, has been providing real time captioning services for almost 30 years. The company is dedicated to delivering communication alternatives for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have trouble with comprehension and fluency.
DOBE Spotlight Series: Matt Hempel
Agilitech Solutions LLC, a USBLN® Certified SDV-DOBE™ and VA Verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, was formed to address the critical issues of web accessibility for the disabled community. It provides automated web accessibility solutions that work with a single line of code.
The Public Relations Society of America Recognizes O’Brien Communications
The October Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (DOBE) Spotlight is on O’Brien Communications. Founded by Tim O’Brien in 2001, this PR firm was recently ranked as one of the top 14 PR firms in Pittsburgh. O’Brien Communications is the 2017 recipient of the Public Relations Society of America “Indie Award.”