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Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization




The Super-Market. We are the greatest, richest untapped underutilized market in the Nation.”
- Michelle “GI” Gardner-Ince, Director of WVOSBI, on women Veteran businesses

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Women Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI) is committed to fostering diversity and promoting minority and women Veterans in business. Since its inception in 2019, VA OSDBU’s WVOSBI has focused on giving opportunities to women Veterans by providing programming and access to economic opportunities. WVOSBI works to enable women Veterans by connecting them to networking and collaborative opportunities with Federal agencies, commercial, non-profit and educational entities. WVOSBI aims to help more women-owned businesses become prime vendors and assist VA achieve its 5% WOSB contracting goal.

VetBizLady Office Hours and Networking Sessions

Join us for our weekly VetBizLady Office Hours and Networking Sessions. Please use the link to register. The meetings are every Tuesday 12-2pm. Please let me know if you have any questions. Click here

The Women Veteran-Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI) is the first of its kind program in the Federal Government focused on women Veteran CEOs. WVOSBI's mission is to equip, empower and educate Women Veteran entrepreneurs for success and economic opportunities. In addition, the WVOSBI seeks to:

  • Raise awareness of the need to increase WVOSB utilization in the Federal and commercial marketplace;
  • Expand and enable access, economic, procurement and learning opportunities for WVOSBs;
  • Increase knowledge sharing and collaboration amongst Federal agencies, commercial entities, non-profits, and educational institutions;
  • Foster collaborations and strategic partnerships amongst WVOSBs.

Click here for WVOSBI YouTube

Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government

The signing of Executive Order 13985 (EO) marked a historic commitment by the Federal Government to advance racial equity and support underserved communities. This EO has the potential to directly impact Women Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. Each agency is mandated to review and identify potential barriers to underserved communities seeking Federal benefits and procurement opportunities.

According to a White House fact sheet, ”the Federal Government is the largest consumer of goods in the world, buying everything from software to elevator services to financial and asset management… Federal procurement is one of our most powerful tools to advance equity and build wealth in underserved communities… And yet, just roughly 10% of Federal agencies’ total eligible contracting dollars typically go to small, disadvantaged businesses, a category under Federal law for which Black-owned, Latino-owned, and other minority-owned businesses are presumed to qualify.”

Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government

Women are the fastest growing cohort within the Veteran community and 48% of women Veterans belong to a minority group. Women Veterans who are also minorities are eligible for more opportunities through additional contract set asides. As almost half of the women Veteran-owned small businesses are minorities, racial equity in procurement means greater business opportunities for minority women Veteran-owned small businesses.

Executive Order 13985 is aimed at eliminating barriers in Federal contracting for members of underserved communities. As a result, members of these groups should expect new policies from the Biden Administration that will reduce those barriers to entry and yield more procurement opportunities. Since Women Veteran Owned Small Business Initiative (WVOSBI) and minority Veteran-owned small businesses fall into the category of an underserved communities, they benefit from this directly. Sections five and seven of EO 13985 have potential to identify areas of improvement for underserved communities in the following areas:

  • Lowering barriers:
    • Enrollment in, and access to, benefits and services in Federal programs;
    • Taking advantage of agency procurement opportunities;
  • Equity in agency actions and programs;
  • Making resources available agency civil rights divisions and offices serving underrepresented or disadvantaged communities;
  • Promoting equitable delivery of Government benefits and opportunities.

Additionally, on June 21, 2021, the Biden Administration released a statement focused on how it will advance equity for underserved communities. This press release outlines the increased Government spending that could impact small businesses, build Black wealth and narrow the racial wealth gap.

WVOSBI Statistics

In Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), committing to equity means creating an environment of impartial treatment for a just distribution of tools and resources. Our equity plan is to correct systematic imbalance of access to services and benefits marginalized Veterans have earned.

New strategies to advance equity

  • Build the data foundation needed to rigorously monitor whether outcomes are equitable for underserved veterans.
  • Improve access and outcomes for underserved veterans across key programs and services.
  • Increasing contracting opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses and small disadvantaged businesses.
  • Address health equity for underserved veterans.
  • Build and maintain trust with underserved veterans.

Building on VA's Progress

This Equity Action Plan builds on VA's progress delivering on equity and racial justice in the first year of the Biden-Harris Administration.

  • Supporting LGBTQI+ veterans through policy and program changes
  • Advancing equity through grantmaking, research and training
  • Improving access for Native American and Alaska Native Veterans
  • Strengthening services for women Veterans
  • Using Veterans' voices as VA's north star for equitable service delivery
  • Addressing inequitable barriers faced by Veterans with other than honorable discharge status
  • Supporting veterans experiencing homelessness

Click here to read the entire VA Equity Action Plan Summary


  • Transitioning skills learned in military to business
  • Socio-economic certifications and certification strategy
  • Lack of business development strategy/capacity
  • Discrimination:
    • Sexism; racism; ageism; disability; difficulty breaking into predominantly male markets; differences in social networks (networking)
  • Business knowledge/capacity
  • Entering the Federal supply chain/Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)
  • Difficulty obtaining capital for start-up or expansion (systems & real property)
  • Creating internal contact as a potential
  • Resources
  • Business Acumen
  • Capital
  • Training to acquire government contracts
  • Networking/Peer networks
  • Training/mentoring
  • Contact information for Gov't POCs and Prime Vendors

Why Pursue Entrepreneurship

  • Independence and creativity
  • Flexibility and work-life balance
  • Business opportunities
  • Dissatisfaction with current employer
  • American Dream: Be a business owner

When starting your own business, doing market research and assessing your location are critical. Market research allows companies to learn what opportunities are available by determining which areas are more utilized by the federal government. Certain regions in the U.S. are Veteran-centric and which, in the interim more funded by Congress. These target markets and regions are where VA spends the majority of its capital. Targeting these markets strengthens the chances of success and long-term growth. It is important to know what VA spends their money on. Below is a list of VA top spend areas with their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.

VA's Top Spend Areas in FY 2020-22

VA's Top Spend Areas in FY 2022-22Source: FEDMINE analysis of Federal Procurement Data system - Next Generation Data (FPDS-NG) Data updated 02/23/2023

VA's Top Spend Areas for WOSBs in FY 2020-22

VA - WVOSBI Top 10 Industry Codes FY22 VA - WVOSBI Top 10 Product Codes FY22 VA - WVOSBI Top 10 Type of Setaside FY22Source: FEDMINE analysis of Federal Procurement Data system - Next Generation Data (FPDS-NG) Data updated 02/23/2023

Top States for Women Veterans and WVOSBs

Top States for Women Veterans and WVOSBs
  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Georgia
  4. Florida
  5. New York
  6. Virginia
  7. Maryland
  8. District of Columbia

Executive Order 13985

Read the entire order

Section 5. Conducting an Equity Assessment in Federal Agencies. The head of each agency, or designee, shall, in consultation with the Director of OMB, select certain of the agency’s programs and policies for a review that will assess whether underserved communities and their members face systemic barriers in accessing benefits and opportunities available pursuant to those policies and programs. The head of each agency, or designee, shall conduct such review and within 200 days of the date of this order provide a report to the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy (APDP) reflecting findings on the following:
  1. Potential barriers that underserved communities and individuals may face to enrollment in and access to benefits and services in Federal programs;
  2. Potential barriers that underserved communities and individuals may face in taking advantage of agency procurement and contracting opportunities;
  3. Whether new policies, regulations, or guidance documents may be necessary to advance equity in agency actions and programs; and
  4. The operational status and level of institutional resources available to offices or divisions within the agency that are responsible for advancing civil rights or whose mandates specifically include serving underrepresented or disadvantaged communities.

Section 7. Promoting Equitable Delivery of Government Benefits and Equitable Opportunities. Government programs are designed to serve all eligible individuals. And Government contracting and procurement opportunities should be available on an equal basis to all eligible providers of goods and services. To meet these objectives and to enhance compliance with existing civil rights laws:
  1. Within 1 year of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall consult with the APDP and the Director of OMB to produce a plan for addressing:
    1. any barriers to full and equal participation in programs identified pursuant to section 5(a) of this order; and
    2. any barriers to full and equal participation in agency procurement and contracting opportunities identified pursuant to section 5(b) of this order.
  2. The Administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, the United States Chief Technology Officer, the Chief Information Officer of the United States, and the heads of other agencies, or their designees, shall take necessary actions, consistent with applicable law, to support agencies in developing such plans.

(SBA women business laws)

Women-Owned Small Business Law - Established guidelines for procurement program for women-owned business concerns

Read the entire law

Public Law 106-554, Section 811(m)

  1. Section 8 of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637) is amended by adding at the end the following: 811(m) PROCUREMENT PROGRAM FOR WOMEN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS CONCERNS-
    1. DEFINITIONS- In this subsection, the following definitions apply:
      1. CONTRACTING OFFICER-The term "contracting officer" has the meaning given such term in section 27(f)(5) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 423(f)(5)).
      2. SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN OWNED AND CONTROLLED BY WOMEN-The term "small business concern owned and controlled by women" has the meaning given such term in section 3(n), except that ownership shall be determined without regard to any community property law.
    2. AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT COMPETITION-In accordance with this subsection, a contracting officer may restrict competition for any contract for the procurement of goods or services by the Federal Government to small business concerns owned and controlled by women, if-
      1. each of the concerns is not less than 51 percent owned by 1 or more women who are economically disadvantaged (and such ownership is determined without regard to any community property law);
      2. the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that 2 or more small business concerns owned and controlled by women will submit offers for the contract;
      3. the contract is for the procurement of goods or services with respect to an industry identified by the Administrator pursuant to paragraph (3);
      4. the anticipated award price of the contract (including options) does not exceed-
        1. $5,000,000, in the case of a contract assigned an industrial classification code for manufacturing; or
        2. $3,000,000, in the case of all other contracts;
      5. in the estimation of the contracting officer, the contract award can be made at a fair and reasonable price; and
      6. each of the concerns-
        1. is certified by a Federal agency, a State Government, or a national certifying entity approved by the Administrator, as a small business concern owned and controlled by women; or
        2. certifies to the contracting officer that it is a small business concern owned and controlled by women and provides adequate documentation, in accordance with standards established by the Administration, to support such certification.
    3. WAIVER-With respect to a small business concern owned and controlled by women, the Administrator may waive subparagraph (2)(A) if the Administrator determines that the concern is in an industry in which small business concerns owned and controlled by women are substantially underrepresented.
    4. IDENTIFICATION OF INDUSTRIES-The Administrator shall conduct a study to identify industries in which small business concerns owned and controlled by women are underrepresented with respect to Federal procurement contracting.
      1. VERIFICATION OF ELIGIBILITY--In carrying out this subsection, the Administrator shall establish procedures relating to-
        1. the filing, investigation, and disposition by the Administration of any challenge to the eligibility of a small business concern to receive assistance under this subsection (including a challenge, filed by an interested party, relating to the veracity of a certification made or information provided to the Administration by a small business concern under paragraph (2)(F)); and
        2. verification by the Administrator of the accuracy of any certification made or information provided to the Administration by a small business concern under paragraph (2)(F).
      2. EXAMINATIONS--The procedures established under subparagraph (A) may provide for program examinations (including random program examinations) by the Administrator of any small business concern making a certification or providing information to the Administrator under paragraph (2)(F).
      3. PENALTIES.-In addition to the penalties described in section 16(d), any small business concern that is determined by the Administrator to have misrepresented the status of that concern as a small business concern owned and controlled by women for purposes of this subsection, shall be subject to-
        1. section 1001 of title 18, United States Code; and
        2. sections 3729 through 3733 of title 31, United States Code;
    6. PROVISION OF DATA-Upon the request of the Administrator, the head of any Federal department or agency shall promptly provide to the Administrator such information as the Administrator determines to be necessary to carry out this subsection.

Executive Order 12138 - Created a National Women's Business Enterprise Policy and prescribing arrangements for developing, coordinating and implementing a national program for women's business enterprise.

Read the entire order

Section 1-101.Within the constraints of statutory authority and as otherwise permitted by law:

  1. Each department and agency of the Executive Branch shall take appropriate action to facilitate, preserve and strengthen women's business enterprise and to ensure full participation by women in the free enterprise system.
  2. Each department and agency shall take affirmative action in support of women's business enterprise in appropriate programs and activities including but not limited to:
    1. management, technical, financial, and procurement assistance,
    2. business-related education, training, counselling and information dissemination, and
    3. procurement.
  3. Each department or agency empowered to extend Federal financial assistance to any program or activity shall issue regulations requiring the recipient of such assistance to take appropriate affirmative action in support of women's business enterprise and to prohibit actions or policies which discriminate against women's business enterprise on the ground of sex. For purposes of this subsection, Federal financial assistance means assistance extended by way of grant, cooperative agreement, loan or contract other than a contract of insurance of guaranty. These regulations shall prescribe sanctions for noncompliance. Unless otherwise specified by law, no agency sanctions shall be applied until the agency or department concerned has advised the appropriate person or persons of the failure to comply with its regulations and has determined that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means.

Eligible NAICS for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

To assist Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) in competing in substantially underrepresented industries, the Federal Government limited specific contracts to businesses participating in the WOSB Federal Contract program. There are further restrictions for Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs). All contracts for goods and services are identified by their registered NAICS codes through the SBA.

See the complete SBA list of those eligible industries and their NAICS codes.

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For advice on potential procurement opportunities in your area, contact your local
VA Small Business Liaison