How to Apply for the Minority-Owned Business Certification - FF Blog
How to Apply for the Minority-Owned Business Certification
June 02, 2022

How to Apply for the Minority-Owned Business Certification

If you are a minority business owner, you know that systemic barriers can make it challenging to grow your venture. The good news is that you can get certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and overcome some of these obstacles.

Once you become an MBE, you’ll open the doors to corporate and federal business contract opportunities. You may also qualify for grants and business development training. This blog post will review what this certification is and how it may take your business to new heights. 

What is a Minority Business Enterprise?

A Minority Business Enterprise is any business at least 51% owned and operated by an individual who is both a U.S. citizen and at least 25 percent African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latin, Hispanic, or Native American descent.

It must also be a for-profit organization and have a physical location in the U.S. or its territories. In addition, the minority owners need to be involved in the day-to-day management and operations of the organization. 

Why Get Certified as a Minority Business Enterprise

There are various reasons you may want to consider an MBE certification. If you obtain one, you can reap these benefits. 

1. Expand Your Network

You can connect with other minority-owned businesses and participate in joint-venture and partnership opportunities. By doing this, you can steer your business to the next level.

2. Improve Your Knowledge and Skills

As a small business owner, you know knowledge is power. As an MBE, you can participate in professional development programs, including technical training and mentorship programs.

3. Land Federal Contracts

Since federal organizations must give a certain number of contracts to MBEs, a certification can allow you to compete for them. This can lead to new, lucrative opportunities. 

4. Secure Funding

There are many programs designed to assist MBEs with funding. You may receive business loans and grants that can provide you with the capital to succeed. 

How to Get Certified as a Minority Business Enterprise 

There are several ways you can get certified as an MBE. The most common programs you may want to consider include: 

  • The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) 
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) 
  • State and local programs 

To apply for certification, you’ll need to submit several documents, such as:

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Ownership agreements
  • Bylaws
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship of all owners
  • Proof of general liability insurance
  • Lease agreements and/or security deeds
  • Copies of resumes, driver’s licenses, and principals of all owners
  • Voided business checks 

In general, the application process involves the following steps:

  • Start an online application and receive an Application ID. 
  • Upload all required documents and ensure they contain your business name.
  • Pay the minority-owned business certification cost, which is $350 if you earn less than $1 million in annual revenue. The price will be more if your revenue exceeds $1 million.
  • Submit your application
  • Wait for a Field Auditor to contact you to schedule an on-site visit.
  • Allow the Board Certification Committee to review your completed application.

The approval process typically takes 90 days. Upon approval, you can expect a phone call or email with more information about the certification process.

Other Resources for Minority-Owned Businesses 

In addition to the MBE certification, you may consider these resources for minority-owned businesses.

1. The U.S. Department of Commerce-Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

The MBDA has secured millions of dollars in contracts for minority business owners. It also offers a variety of tools that you can use to get matched to government contracting opportunities. 

2. Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) Business Development Program also assists minority business owners interested in government contracting. If you participate in it, you can create joint ventures with other minority businesses and strengthen your bids on contracts.

3. The Black Business Association (BBA)

The BBA advocates for African-American-owned businesses, offering numerous resources, like bid listings and networking events. 

4. United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC)

The USHCC Hispanic Business Enterprise Program strives to grow Hispanic small businesses. It provides mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.

5. US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC)

This organization aims to support the pan-Asian business community through its certification program, webinars, and networking events.

Conclusion: Become a Certified Minority-Owned Business 

If you meet the prerequisites, there’s no reason not to get certified as a certified minority-owned business. It involves a straightforward application process and an affordable fee, so you have nothing to lose. By becoming certified, you can take advantage of many perks and set your business up for unparalleled levels of success.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].