Who Qualifies As a Minority Business Owner
If you are a minority business owner there are government programs and certifications that can grant you business connections that may lead to an increase in sales. Depending on your race, gender, and income you may qualify for additional help from a different state and federal programs, providing your business with the opportunity to grow!
These programs allow minority group members to work with corporate members by providing the corporations their products and services. Corporations all over the United States want to help disadvantaged business enterprises prosper. This generates more revenue for the certified MBEs when linking up with corporations to form large business contracts. On the other hand, the corporations that do business with minority business enterprises (MBE) experience supplier diversity.
Now let’s review what goes into qualifying for these programs, what certifications are available to you, and a business owner’s means of applying for these programs.
Qualifying as a Minority Business Owner
In aspirations to obtain an MBE certification, you have to be a U.S. citizen and be identified as a minority. Minorities in the United States include African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Indians, Asian Pacifics, and Asian Americans. Furthermore, the business’s functions and daily operations have to be managed and operated predominately by the minority group. Your business must have minority ownership of at least 51% to be able to qualify and be approved for this type of government contract.
To qualify to be a certified minority business owner, you need to provide a substantial amount of documentation in the application process. This can include submitting your business’s articles of incorporation, bylaws, ownership agreements, lease agreements, liability insurance, proof of U.S. Citizenship, copies of bank resolutions, stock certificates, and more.
Types of Certifications
Federal Government Certifications
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a minority business owner program for those who are ‘socially and economically disadvantaged’. This program is known as the 8(a) Business Development Program, in which it aids individuals who have low capital and credit opportunities in comparison to other business owners who have a similar line of business but are not disadvantaged. You can visit sba.gov for more information regarding this government certification program.
The 8(a) Business Development Program helps gain access to government contract opportunities to those that may never have the opportunity to obtain its benefits on their own. These contracts can help struggling businesses get out of murky waters and into the light of prosperity.
State and Local Certifications
The minority business owner will have to contact the nearest regional state office to their business’s headquarters to apply for the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification. Every state may have a unique certification process, so it is advisable to reach out to state or regional councils that can help you take advantage of these business resources. Once you apply, your state’s regional affiliates review your application for approval.
Private Sector Certifications
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) can provide your business with contacts from corporations that are willing to set up contracts with you. Taking these contract opportunities can help grow your business. The NMSDC certification program has many private sector businesses in the corporate world that will lead the MBE to business opportunities.
The corporations affiliated with the program would be happy to provide your business with tips and show the small business owner how to work at a much larger scale, in preparation for the small businesses blooming future.
Women’s Business Enterprise Certification
The Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification is offered to businesses that have a majority of women owning, operating, and managing the business. This is offered by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This allows help for women to prosper in the world of business more fluidly. This certification offers access to events and networking to meet other business owners, supplier diversification, programming opportunities, and more. This organization wants to support women-owned businesses with tools, resources, support, and business opportunities needed to grow their business.
Keep in mind- If you are a women business owner and minority business owner, you can apply for both business certifications: the MBE Certification and the WBE certification.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification
The DBE Certification is offered to businesses with a majority, or at least 51%, of owners, managing, controlling, and operating the business, who fall under economic disadvantages. An economically disadvantaged individual is someone who does not have a personal net worth of over $1.32 million. To be eligible, a majority of your business owner demographics must be either African American, Native American, Asian-Pacific, Hispanic, Asian-Indian, a woman, or a combination of these.
This program is offered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, which works together with state agencies to increase the amount of minority and women-owned businesses in state and local transportation projects.
Visit the National Minority Supplier Development Council website at nmsdc.org and complete an online application to obtain an MBE certification, paying via credit card. The Certification Committee will review your application in the national office located in New York. Once it has been submitted and approved by the Certification Committee, your application will be sent to the Board for final approval. Whether your application has been accepted or denied, you will receive an email and a notification in the mail to notify you.
For the 8(a) Business Development Program Application and the Women’s Business Enterprise Certification, you can go to the Small Business Administration (SBA) website at https://certify.sba.gov/ for more information.
The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) application is available on the U.S. Department of Transportation website at https://www.transportation.gov/civil-rights/disadvantaged-business-enterprise/ready-apply for more information.
The application process for every program may be slightly different for each applicant because everyone has unique eligibility requirements and need a vast array of documentation and information. Be sure to complete the application(s) and to have all additional documentation ready in case of a request.
Once you have been approved for a program, you are entitled to benefits that will help your business scale through its new network, resources, contracts, and opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of these things so that your business can grow to fulfill its mission.
Starting a business is never easy, especially without adequate funding and resources to provide for your business. While some may have the funds necessary to scale the business, others have to look to additional external resources to help provide for them in any way.
These vast amounts of programs are made for those who are minority races trying to start their businesses that will get them out of the “economically disadvantaged” status in their lives. Those who could qualify for the different programs must be informed of the resources available to them.
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