NaVOBA helps veterans protect their brands

The National Veteran-Owned Business Association — an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization led by corporate America — has been actively certifying its demographic since 2017. Its mission is to create corporate contracting opportunities for America’s veterans’ and service-disabled veterans’ business enterprises — VBEs and SDVBEs — through certification, advocacy, outreach, recognition and education.

NaVOBA proudly serves as the official veteran-owned business partner of the National Business Inclusion Consortium, along with National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc., National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, to name a few.

NaVOBA’s VBE/SDVBE certifications directly mirror those of the minority business enterprise and women’s business enterprise certifications and ensure that any certified VBE/SDVBE is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more U.S. military veterans.

One of the defining characteristics of NaVOBA’s board of directors is two-thirds of its board of directors’ seats are held by corporations to ensure its alignment with the needs of corporate supplier diversity programs.

“We built our board around areas of expertise,” said Heather Herndon Wright, NaVOBA chair. “A differentiator between NaVOBA and other veteran-certifying organizations is that our board of directors is corporately driven. One of the reasons we created NaVOBA was because we wanted an organization that we felt confident would protect our brands.”

Although the board of directors was not seated until 2019, the move was deliberate, she said.

“We waited to seat the governing board of directors until we had a senior-level finance officer to serve as treasurer to ensure our financials were set up properly and transparently,” Wright said. “We were fortunate to get two corporate allies to step up, and we now have two co-treasurers from AT&T [Inc.] and [The] Boeing [Co.].”

Another innovative approach NaVOBA has taken to make things easier for their veteran business owners is to fully digitize its certification application, administration and sourcing process online through a system developed by AdaptOne. All veterans are also prescreened and prequalified through a third party that verifies their veterans’ status with the U.S. Department of Defense.

“We do not allow them to even start the application process until their eligibility is confirmed,” said Matt Pavelek, president of NaVOBA. “Once verified, they are still required to submit a DD214 [certificate of release or discharge from active-duty military service] and other eligibility information, along with the required documentation.”

Although launched in 2017, the online process became fully operational in 2020, and now allows corporate allies, certified VBEs and partner organizations to search by criteria such as keyword, revenues, number of employees, location, geography served, etc. And it also allows veterans to upload marketing and promotion information.

“It’s a very robust sourcing tool,” Wright said.


To learn more about NaVOBA, visit


NaVOBA VBE/SDVBE AT&T Boeing Co. Business Opportunities U.S. military veterans. National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.

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