Eligibility Criteria for MBE

The minimum requirements to qualify as a MBE with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) or a local MBE program administered by a city, county or state are:

  •  A for-profit business located in the United States;
  •  51% owned, operated, capitalized and controlled by a member(s) of a presumed group identified below, who is the top executive officer responsible for managing daily operations with a technical expertise (experience) in the firm’s primary business expertise;
  •  Legal residents (green cards) are accepted by most MBE programs administered by a city, county and state; however, the NMSDC require U.S. Citizenship (no exceptions).

Generally speaking, a member(s) of a presumed group includes:

  • Black American: any Black racial group originating in Africa;
  • Hispanic: origins in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese cultures;
  • Native American: a Native of Alaska or Hawaii, or certified member of a federal or state recognized Indian Tribe;
  • Asian Pacific: origins in the Pacific Islands, China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore or Philippines;
  • Subcontinent Asian: origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands, Nepal or Sri Lanka.

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MBE

Certification for Minority-owned Businesses

Minority Business Enterprise Certification with the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), a private third-party that certifies minority-owned businesses on behalf of U.S. corporations or MBE certification through city, county or state programs.

WBE

Certification for Women-owned Businesses

Women Business Enterprise Certification with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a private third-party that certifies women-owned businesses on behalf of U.S. corporations or WBE certification through city, county or state programs.

DBE

Certification for Minority or Women-owned Businesses

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification by U.S. Department of Transportation through state transportation authorities for minorities or women-owned businesses, or other socially and economically disadvantaged individuals such persons with disabilities.

8(a) or WOSB

Certification for Minority or Women-owned Businesses

8(a) Business Development Program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small businesses owned by minorities or women who are socially and economically disadvantaged individuals or as a Women-owned Small Business – WOSB certification.

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MBE Q & A FAQs

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is the nation’s leading third-party certifier, who certifies companies as minorities-owned business enterprises (MBEs) on behalf of the private sector (U.S. Corporations). The NMSDC provides its corporate members with access to the NMSDC’s online database of certified MBEs.

Fees are determined by each local certifying office.

Similar to above, fees are determined by each, individual MBE certification program.

The processing time is generally 90 days from the date an application is deemed complete by the local certifying office.

The following is a brief summary of certification process:

  1. A business entity submits an application, along with the necessary supporting documentation, notarized sworn affidavit and non-refundable processing fee.
  2. Each local certifying office has a certification staff and a certification committee, who generally meet once a month.
  3. Once the certification staff review the application and determine no other documents are required the application is reviewed by the certification committee.
  4. After the certification committee reviews the application, an on-site visit is conducted at a pre-determined time with the minority business owner(s).
  5. Following the site visit, at a subsequent meeting of the certification committee, a final decision is made regarding the firm’s eligibility; generally speaking, if approved, applicants are notified by e-mail and if denied, a formal letter is sent.
  • The following is a general list of documents for the MBE certification. Note: other documents may be required by individual certification office.
  • Commercial Tax Returns for 3 previous years; if firm is less than 3 years old, owners personal returns should be provided in lieu of each year a commercial return is not available
  • Financial Statements corresponding to tax returns listed above
  • Debt Instruments including but not limited to: loans, lines of credit, notes payable, agreements, promissory notes, surety agreements, security agreements, real estate leases and long term rental or lease agreements
  • Commercial bank signature authorization card and corporate banking resolution
  • Proof of capital and/or equity investment by female owner(s)
  • Employee List
  • Most recent employee payroll
  • W-2s and/or 1099 forms from every owner, officer or director
  • Written Business History
  • Professional License(s) (if applicable)
  • Local Business License (if applicable)
  • Resumes of all Owners, directors, and key personnel
  • Proof of Gender
  • Proof of Citizenship or Legal Residency
  • Any trust agreement(s) involving the majority female ownership
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan Agreements – ESOPS’s (if applicable)
  • Corporation Documents: articles of incorporation and amendments, shareholder and director meeting notes, bylaws, stock certificates and ledger and any agreement affecting owner’s rights
  • Certificate of Authority if an out of state company
  • LLC Documents: formation and filed amendments, operating agreement and any amendments
  • Partnership Documents: all agreements related to the rights of partners; if LLP copy of state formation
  • Management/Consulting agreements Service agreements (influencing the daily operations)
  • Affiliate Agreements defined as common business ownership of 5% or more
  • Subsidiary Agreements defined as a parent company holds 50% of another entity’s stock
  • Franchise Agreements
  • Union Agreements

Yes, provided, 51% of the entity is owned by member(s) of a presumed group who have contributed a proportionate amount of capital to acquire ownership and, when applicable, the entity’s governing board is controlled by member(s) of a presumed group, and the executive officer, responsible for daily operations is a member of a presumed group with technical expertise (experience) in the firm’s primary business activity and are U.S. Citizens or legal residents (except for the NMSDC). NOTE: the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) requires applicants be U.S. Citizens, whereas, other MBE programs accept legal residents.

Yes, an on-site visit is mandatory with each initial application. Some MBE programs may conduct a site visit every three years; regardless, after the initial on-site visit, at the certifying office’s sole discretion, additional on-site visits may be conducted.

But for a few exceptions, in general, all of the members of a presumed group who comprise 51% ownership of the applicant firm.

  • The following is a general list of documents. Note: other documents may be required by individual MBE certification programs.
  • Commercial Tax Returns for 3 previous years; if firm is less than 3 years old, owners personal returns should be provided in lieu of each year a commercial return is not available
  • Financial Statements corresponding to tax returns listed above
  • Debt Instruments including but not limited to: loans, lines of credit, notes payable, agreements, promissory notes, surety agreements, security agreements, real estate leases and long term rental or lease agreements
  • Commercial bank signature authorization card and corporate banking resolution
  • Proof of capital and/or equity investment by female owner(s)
  • Employee List
  • Most recent employee payroll
  • W-2s and/or 1099 forms from every owner, officer or director
  • Written Business History
  • Professional License(s) (if applicable)
  • Local Business License (if applicable)
  • Resumes of all Owners, directors, and key personnel
  • Proof of Gender
  • Proof of Citizenship or Legal Residency
  • Any trust agreement(s) involving the majority female ownership
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan Agreements – ESOPS’s (if applicable)
  • Corporation Documents: articles of incorporation and amendments, shareholder and director meeting notes, bylaws, stock certificates and ledger and any agreement affecting owner’s rights
  • Certificate of Authority if an out of state company
  • LLC Documents: formation and filed amendments, operating agreement and any amendments
  • Partnership Documents: all agreements related to the rights of partners; if LLP copy of state formation
  • Management/Consulting agreements Service agreements (influencing the daily operations)
  • Affiliate Agreements defined as common business ownership of 5% or more
  • Subsidiary Agreements defined as a parent company holds 50% of another entity’s stock
  • Franchise Agreements
  • Union Agreements

Additional information about the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s MBE Certification Program is also available here

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