Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative

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LOUISIANA VETERANS FIRST BUSINESS INITIATIVE

The Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative was championed by Governor John Bel Edwards during the 2019 legislative session. It was created to honor the sacrifice that Louisiana veterans have made by recognizing businesses owned by a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse.

The program will allow for veterans, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouses who have a fifty-one percent ownership in a business to apply for and gain certification to recognize and promote their businesses. In addition, the program will create a searchable database for anyone seeking to patronize a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse business.

Questions?

Please email us at [email protected] and we will return your message promptly.


Resources 

Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs has many resources to support veterans. Visit the Resources page to learn more on what is available to our Louisiana veterans.

Louisiana Economic Development has several programs to assist businesses.

  • Veteran-owned businesses can also benefit from the Veteran Initiative certification that provides greater access to state government purchasing and contracting opportunities.
  • LED offers many small business programs and resources, click here to find out more.
  • Visit the Resources by Region page to learn about additional state and local resources to sustain and grow your business.

FAQS

  1. Why should I sign up?

    The Louisiana Veterans First Business database allows Louisiana to honor businesses owned by a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse. The program also helps in the promotion and marketing of such businesses. The program will also allow these businesses to be searched in the Louisiana Veterans First Business database by those individuals or companies looking to do business with veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse owned businesses. 

  2. Does it cost me anything to sign-up?

    No. This program is free to all Louisiana businesses that are at least 51% owned by a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse.

  3. What qualifies my business to sign-up and become certified?

    To participate, a business must be certified by the Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs as being 51% owned by a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse. The business must also be registered and in good standing with the Secretary of State.

  4. What are the steps to become certified?

    Please register above to be notified when registration opens.

    Step 1: Register to certify a business.
    Step 2: Ensure the business is registered and in good standing with the Secretary of State.
    Step 3: Go to one of the 55 Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs Parish Service Offices, bring the required documentation, and have the business certified.
    Step 4: Insignia, decal and certificate will be emailed and mailed to business owners for use in promoting the business as owned by a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse..

  5. What documentation is needed to become certified by Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs as a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse for this program?

    When visiting the nearest LDVA Parish Service Office, a Veterans Assistance Counselor will verify veteran status and complete the required certification form. This form will be provided to business owners upon completion of their online registration at the Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative site. Business owners must bring this form along with the additional documents below to one of the 55 Parish Service Office to certify status. If business owners are not signed up to receive notification when registration opens, please sign-up here.

    Veteran: Provide an original or certified copy of an official discharge record which shows that the business owner’s service was under conditions other than dishonorable.
    Examples of acceptable documents:

    • DD Form 214
    • NGB Form 22
    • DD Form 256

    Active: Business owners must present a current, valid Uniformed Services ID Card or Common Access Card (CAC) confirming active, reserve, or national guard status.

    Gold Star: Business owners must verify that they are a Gold Star spouse as defined by the Department of Defense (DoD), by bringing a US Department of Veterans Affairs award letter granting you Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.  Business owners may still qualify even if the VA has stopped paying such business owners because they have remarried.  The LDVA Veterans Assistance Counselor will ensure that the circumstances of the servicemember’s death meet the requirements of the DoD definition.

    If you encounter any difficulty in securing the required documentation listed above, assistance is available.  Visit the nearest LDVA Parish Service Office to receive assistance. Find the most convenient location by visiting https://www.vetaffairs.la.gov/locations/.

  6. What do I receive as a part of this certification program?

    Louisiana veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse businesses registered for the Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative will be added to a searchable database for anyone wanting to learn more about the businesses.

    Participating businesses will also receive an insignia to use in all marketing and advertising efforts. This logo will be available in the database at any time as well as emailed to participating businesses owners upon completion of registration. Business owners will also receive a plaque/certificate and window decal to display at the place of business.


LDVA Certification Documents

What documentation is needed to become certified by Louisiana Department of Veteran Affairs as a veteran, active-duty or reserve military, or Gold Star spouse for this program?

During your visit at the LDVA Parish Service Office nearest you, a Veterans Assistance Counselor will verify veteran status and complete the required certification form. This form will be provided to you upon completion of your online registration at the Louisiana Veterans First Business Initiative site. You must bring this form along with the additional documents below to one of the 55 Parish Service Office to certify your status. If you are not signed up to receive notification when registration opens, please sign-up here.

Veteran: Provide an original or certified copy of an official discharge record which shows that your service was under conditions other than dishonorable.
Examples of acceptable documents:

·         DD Form 214

·         NGB Form 22

·         DD Form 256

Active: You must present a current, valid Uniformed Services ID Card or Common Access Card (CAC) confirming your active, reserve, or national guard status.

Gold Star: You must verify that you are a Gold Star spouse as defined by the Department of Defense (DoD), by bringing a US Department of Veterans Affairs award letter granting you Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.  You may still qualify even if the VA has stopped paying you because you have remarried.  The LDVA Veterans Assistance Counselor will ensure that the circumstances of the servicemember’s death meet the requirements of the DoD definition.

If you are having trouble getting any of the documentation listed above, we can help!  Visit your nearest LDVA Parish Service Office to get assistance.  Find the location most convenient for you by visiting https://www.vetaffairs.la.gov/locations/.