Is your business owned at least 51% by a woman or minority? Are you looking for a way to grow your business and give it an advantage over your competition? Applying for a disadvantaged business certification such as the Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), or one of several other disadvantaged business certifications, may be just what you need.
Attaining WBE, DBE or other certifications can provide many advantages to your business.
- The WBE certification which is offered through the National Women’s Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC) and the Women’s Business Development Center (WBOC) can identify your business as eligible for contracts that require women or minority participation. This organization also allows you the opportunity to network with other women owned business owners.
- Other disadvantaged business certifications including the DBE, 8(a), Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB), Disabled Veteran (DV) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) that are issued through government agencies and provide that certified businesses be included on government vendor lists. Government agencies are required to issue contracts to a certain percentage of certified businesses each year.
- Because of the stringent qualification and certification processes, obtaining any of these certifications can add credibility to your business.
Each certification has its own specific application form and submission of required documentation, however, all of the certifications have the same general requirements in order to determine that the applicant (woman or disadvantaged individual) qualifies as such, and control over the business is held by the disadvantaged individual(s).Other general guidelines include:
- Ownership of the business – or combined ownership if more than one individual from the same business is being included in the same certification – must be 51% or more.
- There is a social or economic disadvantage for the applicant business owner(s) in that they are a woman, Black American, Hispanic American, Native American or an Asian-Pacific American. Subcontinent Asian-Americans or other minorities are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- Personal net worth for the applicant business owner(s) is under required limits (for government certifications).
- The business qualifies as a small business as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA) (for government certifications).
- The business is wholly independent from other businesses.
- The management and control of the business lies with the applicant business owner(s). This means they are the final decision makers for all aspects of the business.
Do you think your business might qualify? GREAT! Now the certification process can begin; and MarksNelson can help you every step of the way. MarksNelson has experience with preparing the WBE, DBE and other specialized state disadvantaged business applications. We can help you:
- Analyze the specifics of your business to determine the best certification for you and your business,
- Assist with preparing the application and obtaining and organizing required personal and business documents,
- Assist with questions arising from review of the application by the certifying agency,
- Prepare you for the personal visits to your place of business by the certifying agency,
- Assist with regular updates regarding changes in the business as required by the certifying agency to maintain the certification.
If you are interested in looking at certifications but feel you don’t meet the minimum standards we’ve addressed in this article, MarksNelson can work with you and your business by recommending changes to your business structure and/or operations which would assist you in meeting certification requirements. For additional information, contact Don Towle or Shannon Barberich at 816-743-7700.