The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) is the original Veteran Owned Business Certification organization developed by Veterans, for Veterans. The organization’s purpose is to provide a credible and reliable certifying authority for all-size businesses ensuring that valid documentation exists of a Veterans status, ownership, and operational control.

During a conversation with Global Business Leaders, Keith King (Founder and CEO) highlighted the major inspiration behind establishing the organization while walking us through its mission and vision. Keith is a 40+ Year Veteran advocate with heavy legislative experience, and a strong record of success in writing, lobbying for and getting passage of laws to benefit ALL veterans and has adjudicated 1,000’s of veteran claims for benefits. He is an expert in Veteran laws and VA claims and the difference between them. Through the years, he has taken on a variety of leadership roles on the National, State, and Local levels. Following are some snippets from the fascinating conversation.

How was the National Veteran Business Development Council established? What was the primary inspiration behind founding the organization?

In late 2012 and after years of successfully completing Federal and State contracts, I was disappointed in the fact that I had not been awarded any contracts with corporations.  Knowing that under Federal law if a corporation had a contract with the Federal government that they could be required to submit a sub-contracting plan that included Minority, Women and Veteran owned businesses, I wanted to know why in most cases Veteran owned businesses were not being included.  Moreover, I was advised to contact the supplier diversity managers at the corporations to find the answer to my concerns. Being in Michigan, I reached out to the “Detroit 3” (GM, Ford, Chrysler) each of whom had a long and successful history of supplier diversity programs. Their answer was direct and simple – they would not contract with Veteran owned businesses until “you veterans create a certification program that meets our corporate standards”. Not knowing what that really meant, I was directed to the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) and the Great Lakes Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Both organizations were willing to teach me and my team their certification methods.

In 2013, I made the decision to suspend operations of my company, Keith King and Associates, and focus on the development of a certification program for veteran-owned businesses. I also began to recruit my Officers who immediately began to write the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) based on what they were learning from the Women and Minority groups. Thus, NVBDC was established to address the growing need to identify and certify both service-disabled and veteran-owned businesses (SD/VOBs) in the government and commercial (corporate) marketplace.

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.

Supplier Diversity practitioners sought to do business with SD/VOBs but required assurance that the companies were owned and operated by SD/VOBs. NVBDC sought to create a credible certifying agency to address this gap and to meet the needs of corporations by defining the
governance for certification standards for SD/VOBs.

What are the vast array of services and solutions provided by the National Veteran Business Development Council? How would you describe your most popular offering(s)?

VIRTUAL TUTORIAL: The Virtual Tutorial will include instructions on how to add additional users from the corporate team, navigate our database, and show the new member features that will cut their search time in half.

WHAT IS A VETERAN: What is a Veteran explains the standards that NVBDC uses to determine if the applicant is in fact a Veteran.  This has been presented to over 150+ Corporations and has proven to be greatly beneficial to supplier diversity professionals.

ERG PRESENTATION: We engage with the corporate member’s internal veteran employee group, explain what the corporation is doing, who and what we do & if wanted, we identify vet activities in their market. We also have found this is a great company morale builder!

MENTORSHIP: This program helps our corporate members to launch mentoring/ advisory programs for Veteran business owners. We have a syllabus ready or the corporate member can use their own program.

MILITARY AND VETERAN ORGANIZATION TASKFORCE: Our aim is to work with the MSO/VSO’s economic development leaders to identify their Veteran business owner members and provide them with information about NVBDC and the importance of certification while creating reciprocal business relationships that will enhance our values and directives as a Veteran business certification organization.

JROTC: Our 50 State Managers will choose 1 recipient from their state who is a JROTC student or a child/grandchild of an honorably discharged Veteran and will graduate from high school in the current year. The awardee will receive a $2,500 award at $1,000 for the first year and $500 per year for the next 3 years to obtain their degree.

Please walk us through the team of the National Veteran Business Development Council. How is the company encouraging inclusion, diversity and equity with its offerings and organizational vision?

We have the advantage of being able to hire for “heart”. We can teach skills, but you can’t teach passion.  Eight out of the eleven NVBDC board members are veterans. Each officer has a long history of military or veteran advocacy service. We created the NVBDC to help our
fellow veterans.  We support all Veteran Owned Businesses: Service-Disabled, Veteran, Women Veteran, Minority Veteran, Disadvantaged Veteran, and LGBTQ, Veteran-Owned Businesses.  Supplier Diversity Professionals need innovative, competitive, and emerging Veteran suppliers in their supply chain. We have a proven track record of success demonstrated through our Corporate and Veteran success stories.

Lastly, what would be the top three goals for National Veteran Business Development Council in the coming years?

Here are our top three goals for the coming years:
1. To have an official role with the SBA in helping to drastically reduce (eliminate) the amount of fraud in the veteran government contracting programs.
2. Continue building our staff and resources to expand our national and international presence.
3. Expand our educational programs for both our veteran-owned businesses and our corporate members to help them include our veterans in a larger portion of supplier diversity opportunities.