13 CFR § 128.203 - Who does SBA consider to control a VOSB or SDVOSB?
(a) General. To be an eligible VOSB, the management and daily business operations of the concern must be controlled by one or more veterans. To be an eligible SDVOSB, the management and daily business operations of the concern must be controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans (or in the case of a veteran with permanent and severe disability, the spouse or permanent caregiver of such veteran). Control by one or more qualifying veterans means that one or more qualifying veterans controls both the long-term decision-making and the day-to-day operations of the Applicant or Participant.
(b) Managerial position and experience. A qualifying veteran must hold the highest officer position in the concern (usually President or Chief Executive Officer) and must have managerial experience of the extent and complexity needed to control the concern. The qualifying veteran need not have the technical expertise or possess the required license to be found to control of the concern if the qualifying veteran can demonstrate that he or she has ultimate managerial and supervisory control over those who possess the required licenses or technical expertise.
(c) Control over a partnership. In the case of a partnership, one or more qualifying veterans must serve as general partners, with control over all partnership decisions.
(d) Control over a limited liability company. In the case of a limited liability company, one or more qualifying veterans must serve as managing members, with control over all decisions of the limited liability company.
(e) Control over a corporation. One or more qualifying veterans must control the Board of Directors of the concern.
(1) SBA will deem qualifying veterans to control the Board of Directors where:
(i) One qualifying veteran owns 100% of all voting stock and is on the Board of Directors;
(ii) One qualifying veteran owns at least 51% of all voting stock, the qualifying veteran is on the Board of Directors, and no supermajority voting requirements exist for shareholders to approve corporation actions. Where supermajority voting requirements are provided for in the concern's articles of incorporation, its by-laws, or by state law, the qualifying veteran must own at least the percent of the voting stock needed to overcome any such supermajority voting requirements; or
(iii) Two or more qualifying veterans together own at least 51% of all voting stock, each such qualifying veteran is on the Board of Directors, no supermajority voting requirements exist, and the qualifying veteran shareholders can demonstrate that they have made enforceable arrangements to permit one qualifying veteran to vote the stock of all qualifying veterans as a block without a shareholder meeting. Where the concern has supermajority voting requirements, the qualifying veteran shareholders must own at least that percentage of voting stock needed to overcome any such supermajority ownership requirements.
(2) Where a concern does not meet the requirements set forth in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, the qualifying veteran(s) must control the Board of Directors through actual numbers of voting directors or, where permitted by state law, through weighted voting (e.g., in a concern having a two-person Board of Directors where one individual on the Board is a qualifying veteran and one is not, the qualifying veteran vote must be weighted—worth more than one vote—in order for the concern to be eligible). Where a concern seeks to comply with this paragraph (e)(2):
(i) Provisions for the establishment of a quorum cannot permit non-qualifying-veteran Directors to control the Board of Directors, directly or indirectly; and
(ii) Any Executive Committee of Directors must be controlled by qualifying veteran Directors unless the Executive Committee can only make recommendations to and cannot independently exercise the authority of the Board of Directors.
(iii) Non-qualifying-veterans may be found to control or have the power to control in circumstances where non-qualifying-veterans control the Board of Directors of the Applicant or Participant, either directly through majority voting membership, or indirectly, where the by-laws allow non-qualifying-veterans to prevent a quorum or block actions proposed by the qualifying veterans.
(3) Non-voting, advisory, or honorary Directors may be appointed without affecting qualifying veterans' control of the Board of Directors.
(4) Arrangements regarding the structure and voting rights of the Board of Directors must comply with applicable state law.
(f) Supermajority requirements. One or more qualifying veteran(s) must meet all supermajority voting requirements regarding the management and daily business operations of the concern, regardless of the legal structure of the firm. An Applicant must inform the SBA, when applicable, of any supermajority voting requirements provided for in its articles of incorporation, its by-laws, by state law, or otherwise. Similarly, after being certified, a Participant must inform the SBA of changes regarding supermajority voting requirements.
(g) Unexercised rights. A qualifying veteran's unexercised right to cause a change in the control or management of the concern does not in itself constitute control, regardless of how quickly or easily the right could be exercised.
(h) Limitations on control by non-qualifying-veterans.
(1) A non-qualifying-veteran must not:
(i) Exercise actual control or have the power to control the concern;
(ii) Have business relationships that cause such dependence that the qualifying veteran cannot exercise independent business judgment without great economic risk;
(iv) Provide critical financial or bonding support or a critical license to the Applicant or Participant, which directly or indirectly allows the non-qualifying-veteran significantly to influence business decisions of the qualifying veteran.
(2) A non-qualifying-veteran may be involved in the management of the concern, and may be a stockholder, partner, limited liability member, officer, and/or director of the concern. However, a non-qualifying-veteran generally may not:
(i) Be a former employer, or a principal of a former employer, of any qualifying veteran, unless the concern demonstrates that the relationship between the former employer or principal and the qualifying veteran does not give the former employer actual control or the potential to control the Applicant or Participant and such relationship is in the best interests of the concern; or
(ii) Receive compensation from the concern in any form as a director, officer, or employee, that exceeds the compensation to be received by the qualifying veteran who holds the highest officer position (usually Chief Executive Officer or President), unless the concern demonstrates that the compensation to be received by the non-qualifying veteran is commercially reasonable or that the qualifying veteran has elected to take lower compensation to benefit the concern.
(i) Limitation on outside employment. The qualifying veteran who holds the highest officer position of the business concern may not engage in outside employment that prevent the qualifying veteran from devoting the time and attention to the concern necessary to control its management and daily business operations. A qualifying veteran generally must devote full-time during the business's normal hours of operations, unless the concern demonstrates that the qualifying veteran has ultimate managerial and supervisory control over both the long-term decision making and day-to-day management of the concern. Where a qualifying veteran claiming to control a business concern devotes fewer hours to the business than its normal hours of operation, SBA will assume that the qualifying veteran does not control the concern, unless the concern demonstrates that the qualifying veteran has ultimate managerial and supervisory control over both the long-term decision making and day-to-day management of the business.
(j) Exception for extraordinary circumstances. SBA will not find that a lack of control exists where a qualifying veteran does not have the unilateral power and authority to make decisions regarding the following extraordinary circumstances:
(1) Adding a new equity stakeholder;
(2) Dissolution of the company;
(3) Sale of the company or all assets of the company;
(4) The merger of the company; and
(5) Company declaring bankruptcy.
(k) Exception for active duty. Notwithstanding the requirements of this section, where a qualifying veteran is a reserve component member in the United States military who has been called to active duty, the concern may elect to designate in writing one or more individuals to control the concern on behalf of the qualifying veteran during the period of active duty. The concern must keep records evidencing the qualifying veteran's active duty status and the written designation of control and provide those documents to SBA.