Minority and Woman-Owned Businesses

What is Certification?

Certification is a review process to verify the business is owned, controlled and operated by the applicant or applicants. Certification requires the business be woman-owned or of a socially and economically disadvantaged group. The following groups are presumed disadvantaged: African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Subcontinent Asian-Pacific Americans. Certifying agencies are responsible for ensuring only firms meeting the specified eligibility criteria are properly certified.

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Why should I get certified?

Many government agencies receiving federal dollars, major corporations, universities, and school systems have implemented Supplier Diversity Programs. These programs establish goals for the company or organization to award a percentage of their business to minority and woman-owned businesses. Certification ensures the business is minority or woman-owned and not a misrepresentation designed to take advantage of the established procurement goals set by the organization.

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What is the typical certification process?

A business entity submits an application, along with the necessary supporting documentation and a processing fee, if applicable. The application is then reviewed to determine if all required information is included in the application. Once the applicant’s file is complete (meaning all documentation pertinent to the business and legal structure has been received), it will go to the Certification Committee for review. An on-site visit is then scheduled by a trained certification specialist to review the applicant’s business. At the meeting following the site visit, a final recommendation is made regarding the applicant’s eligibility. The applicant is then notified of certification or non-certification.

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What type of supporting documents are usually required?

Documents that provide evidence that the applicant is conducting the business as described as well as verifies the ownership, management, and control by the owner(s) are required. Financial documents, such as the Profit & Loss Statement and Balance Sheet, Bank Signature Card, Tax Returns, Resumes and etc. verify this information. Depending on the certification, documents proving race and ethnicity may also be required.

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What is the normal processing time for certification?

The processing time is generally 60-90 days once all documentation has been received by the agency.

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If I get certified are there any guarantees I will secure additional business?

Certification is meant to help level the playing field for minority and woman-owned businesses. Although there are major corporations and government entities with goals to use minorities and women-owned businesses, there are no guarantees your business will receive additional business if you become certified.

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What are the names of some of the major certifications and what can you tell me about them?

Certifying Agency Certification Name Gender & Ethnicity Requirement Agencies & Organizations Using the Certification Annual Gross Receipts Requirements Personal Net Worth Requirements Regulated By Application and Renewal Fee
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) 51% or more minority or woman-owned & operated business Federal Transportation Agencies and Government Agencies Receiving Federal Funds SBA Industry Standards Less than $1.32 million excluding the home & business US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration None
Tri State Minority Supplier Development Council (TSMSDC) Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) 51% or more minority owned and operated Private Sector & Some Public Entities None None National Minority Supplier Council $250 App. Fee
$250 Renewal Fee
Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Socially & economically disadvantaged, 51% or more owned and operated Federal Government SBA Industry Standards Less than $250,000 excluding home & business SBA None
Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Socially & economically disadvantaged, 51% or more owned and operated Federal Government None Less than $250,000 excluding home & business SBA None
Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Women Business Enterprise (WBE) 51% or more woman-owned & operated business Private Sector None None Women’s Business Enterprise National Council $350 App. Fee
$350 Renewal Fee
KY Minority and Business Certification Enterprise Certification KY M/WBE Certification At least 51% or more owned & operated by a minority or woman The state of Kentucky SBA Industry Standards None The State of Kentucky None

The above information is only a sampling of the different agency requirements. You should contact the agency directly to get more information.

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Where do I find more information about certification and the certifying agencies?

Certifying Agencies Address Phone
Kentucky Minority and Women Business Enterprise
Certification Program
 (KY M/WBE Certification)
Email
Frankfort, KY
502-564-8099
Tri State Minority Supplier Development Council (TSMSDC)
(MBE Certification)
614 W. Main Street, Suite 5500
Louisville, KY 40202
502-625-0137
Small Business Administration (SBA)
(8A & SDB certification)
Romano L. Mazzoli Federal
600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pl
Louisville, KY 40202
Email
502-582-5971
Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
(WBE certification)
3360 E. Livingston Ave., Suite 3A
Columbus, OH 43227
614-222-6700
Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
(DBE certification)
200 Mero Street
Frankfort, KY 40622
502-564-3601 x3042

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