Overview – State Unique Certification Programs

Overview – State Unique Certification Programs

Many states use the same terminology for the socioeconomic programs that they administer. The most common programs include MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) and WBE (Woman Business Enterprise). Additionally, every state will have a process to apply for DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise), which is a federal program administered at the state level and which applies to Department of Transportation contracts (for information regarding the DBE program please follow link). So, most states have multiple programs with different benefits, costs, application process, processing time frames (10 -90 days) as well as recertification requirements. Additionally, many states offer reciprocity to other state certification agencies.

Image The MBE programs are designed to encourage minority-owned business growth in the government sector by providing technical training and notification of opportunities. Many states include set-asides within their programs. These states will typically have the most rigorous application/validation process. Approximately half of the agencies that administer their state's MBE program will also be assigned as the administrator for the WBE, or equivalent, program. In addition, at our last count, 11 states had multiple agencies administering their programs (sometimes based on regions and sometimes based on ethnic distinction). A few states has designed private non-profits to administer their programs some of which provide support to multiple states (e.g. the Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC) supports DC, MD, VA, and parts of WV).

Generally speaking the certification processes for these programs is quite exhaustive. Typically, they are similar in scope to the requirements established by the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program (Small Disadvantaged Business [SDB] Program). The applications usually require:

  • Substantiate that the company is controlled by the applicant. This requires that the applicant owns at least 51% of the firm and that there is no potential for negative control from people at other companies that are offering financing, equipment, office space or any other assistance through a process/transaction that is not what would be a commercially available transaction.
  • Support that the company has the potential to succeed. Many states have a length of time in business criteria such as 1 or 2 years. This requirement is also looking at the company's financial statements and requires that the company has a positive equity value, that in general the company is making money, and that the company has adequate capital to perform in its industry.
  • Proof that the applicant is socially disadvantaged. This requirement is straightforward in most cases and requires that the applicant is 25% or more African-American, Hispanic American, Asian -Pacific Islander American, Subcontinent Asian American, or Native American.
  • Proof that the applicant is economically disadvantaged. This requirement varies significantly by state and generally has a threshold for the applicant's total assets ($4 million is common), a threshold for the applicant's average annual income ($250,000 is common), and a threshold for the applicant's adjusted net worth ($250,000 is a common threshold but with many exceptions).

*Additionally, most sites also include a company site visit as part of their application review.

We have highlighted select states that have generally been selected based on large public annual spend or because they offer a unified approach. While there is a high degree of commonality among the applications, the benefits from holding the certification(s) can vary greatly. Additionally, some states have tailored their eligibility criteria and may include application fees.

We offer MBE/WBE/ (State Unique Name Program) for all states that administer socioeconomic programs and we are ready to explain the specific benefits and eligibility criteria for each state with your company. As detailed above, the application document(s) for the typical MBE/WBE/Other is quite exhaustive. The below listed fee is all inclusive. We provide a free initial “deep-dive” consultation with Mark Ryan (Senior Partner Ez8a) to evaluate your company’s eligibility and likelihood to successfully obtain certification… critical input to your evaluation as to the merits of your potential investment.

Fee: $3,200.00 Buy Now

*Only $1000 when combined with 8(a) Certification

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