Small business accreditation is available in a variety of formats and gives entrepreneurs fantastic chances to collaborate and compete for contracts with bigger companies. Many state and local governments, as well as federal organizations, are required to reserve a portion of their contracts for small firms, particularly those run by women and people of color. I'll go over how to become certified as a woman- or minority-owned small business in this article.
How Can I Obtain a Woman-Owned Business (WOSB) Certification?
Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) and Women-Owned Small Business certificates are the two categories of women-owned businesses (WOSB).
Women-owned businesses (WBE)
State and municipal governments, as well as numerous private sector groups dedicated to providing opportunities to women-owned businesses, use the term "women's business enterprise" (WBE). Previously, you could self-certify your company, but now you had to go via one of the third parties that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved:
Women's Chamber of Commerce, Women's Business Enterprise National Council, and National Women Business Owners Corporation (WBENC)
While the certification may only be appropriate for conducting business with that specific government, you can also look for WBE/WOSB certification through one of the State Offices for Minority and Women Business Enterprises or through your local government office.
Although each business has its procedures, specifications, and qualifying requirements, WBE certification applicants generally need to:
- Be a for-profit company with a U.S. location
- a woman or group of women owning 51% of the company (When applicable) has a board that is presided over by women
- Have a woman lead the company as its chief executive officer who is in charge of day-to-day operations and has experience in the main line of business.
Additionally, WBE applicants must be citizens or authorized residents of the United States.
Female-run small businesses (WOSB)
The term "Women-Owned Small Business" (WOSB) is used by federal agencies that are dedicated to awarding contracts to businesses run by women. In reality, the federal government wants to give at least 25% of its contracts to small firms in general and 5% to female business owners in particular. Additionally, qualified business owners can apply to be designated as an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB), a subclass of the WOSB for economically underprivileged business owners.
A company must meet the following requirements to be qualified for the EDWOSB/WOSB Federal Contracting Program:
- Be a small business as defined by SBA size guidelines.
- Be at least 51 percent owned and run by women who are citizens of the United States.
- Make long-term decisions and let women handle daily tasks.
Women business owners should start at the SBA's certification website and respond to questions about eligibility before applying. If your application is approved, you will be provided instructions on how to obtain certification through the SBA or a list of authorized third-party certifiers.
The SBA provides application checklists and a list of needed papers to assist you with the procedure. You are then instructed to build your SBA account, register for SAM (System for Award Management), where you can identify contracting opportunities, and receive a DUNS number (needed).
Depending on the sort of business you run and how you applied, you may need to include some or all of the following data and documentation:
Name of the business and false name of the business ("Doing Business As" DBA)
- Names, locations, and websites of the owners
- The corporate law framework
- Date of incorporation
- A list of all owners, partners, shareholders, or members within the year before the application's due date
- DUNS code (from Dun & Bradstreet)
- Any connections with affiliates
- Contact details for dependable consumers
- Personal loans or business loans
- Information regarding employees
- A birth certificate, a current passport, or documentation of naturalization
- All owners' licenses to drive
- All owners, directors, partners, officials, and key personnel's EIN (Federal Tax ID) resumes
- current loan statements and bank statements for all deposit accounts
- signature cards for financial institutions
- documentation of the capitalization of the business
- three years' worth of financial documents, comprising a balance sheet and a profit and loss statement
- three years' worth of tax returns
- A certificate with the fake or assumed name
- The Secretary of State has granted permission to conduct business in the state and/or issued a certificate of good standing.
- filing of articles of incorporation and modifications with the secretary of state bylaws
- Officers, directors, managers, members, or general partners are listed in the statement of information submitted to the Secretary of State.
- Operating agreements and the articles of formation for LLCs
- copies of all stock certificates for corporations
- corporate shareholders' and directors' meetings' minutes
- Shareholder contracts
- Partnership contracts
- licenses for the professions, industries, or businesses
- a copy of the business location's lease or deed
Then, firms must update their certification information once a year at beta.certify.sba.gov and the Dynamic Small Business Search database.
How Can I Obtain Certification as a Minority-Owned Company?
The minority-owned business certification is another crucial designation. Federal, state, local, and big enterprises reserve a portion of their contracts exclusively for minority-owned firms, similar to EDWOSB, WBE, and WOSB (MBEs).
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is a membership organization with 1,450 corporate members who include both publicly traded and privately held significant firms, as well as 23 regional affiliate councils around the country. By providing networking and educational opportunities as well as an official certification procedure for minority-owned firms, NMSDC encourages supplier diversity.
The following are the requirements for WOSB certification:
- The company's owners must be Americans.
- A minimum of 51% of the company must be run, owned, and controlled by minorities. (According to the NMSDC, at least 25% of a minority must be Asian, Black, Hispanic, or Native American. Additionally, site visits, interviews, and screenings are used to determine minority eligibility. One or more members of a minority group must control at least 51 percent of the equity in publicly traded companies.)
- The company must be for-profit and have a physical presence in the United States or one of its territories.
- Minority owners are required to take part in the day-to-day management and operations of the company.
Fill out the online application on the regional NMSDC affiliate's website that is most convenient for your company to use to begin the WOSB certification process. The documentation needed varies depending on the sort of business; however, you may get ready by learning more about:
- The background of your company
- A declaration of incorporation
- Constitutional documents
- Stock ledger and stock certificates
- Board of Director and shareholder meeting minutes
- Amendments to the bylaws of corporations
- Any contracts and papers relating to the ownership, management, and control of the business
- All principals must present identification, such as business cards, resumes, driver's licenses, and proof of U.S. citizenship (birth certificates or U.S. passports only)
- Agreements for corporate bank resolution and bank signature cards
- Leases for commercial property and security documents
- Evidence of general liability insurance and, if necessary, bonding
- Copies of the canceled checks for the company
Email and regular mail will be used to notify you after your application has been accepted. Start by visiting the Small Business Administration's (SBA) contracting website, where you can find relevant links to procurement possibilities and helpful tips on how to bid, to find out about federal and state contracting opportunities. Enquire with your local affiliate about attending training sessions, networking events, and fairs featuring business opportunities. You must recertify every year by submitting the most recent tax returns and any changes to your contact information.
An SBE Certification is what?
In that it is not a single designation from a single source, small business enterprise (SBE) certification differs slightly from the other small business certifications mentioned above. SBE accreditation is offered by numerous institutions and regional administrations, each of which has its own rules and specifications. You might need to fulfill requirements like having a certain number of employees or revenue.
Furthermore, obtaining SBE certification from one organization does not automatically grant your company SBE-certified status elsewhere. For instance, obtaining SBE certification for the City of Los Angeles may provide your company access to several contracts there but not elsewhere. But obtaining SBE accreditation through various groups and councils may only improve your chances of landing new clients and expanding your clientele.
After You Have Been Certified
Making the most of your designation after receiving a certification depends on your continued participation. Use the certificate in all of your marketing materials and as part of your email signature, and post official logos on your website to spread the word.
Although lucrative, procurement opportunities require a lot of work to bid on and typically have a drawn-out vetting procedure. Search state, city, or company websites for bidding possibilities before submitting applications for state, local, and corporate projects. Finally, make sure you are aware of the standards and dates to maintain compliance.