Am I “certifiable?”
Is your small business eligible for a certification? If you’re an owner who is a member of an underrepresented group or if you small business is owned, operated, and controlled by 51% of such a group, you might be!
Certifying your small business can help you win government contracts, gain access to resources, or lead you to new business opportunities. Customers are becoming increasingly savvy to these certifications and seeking out businesses owned by minorities, women, veteran, or LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.
Learn more about who can look for these certifications, the most common types, and how to get started with the certification process.
Who can certify their small business?
When it comes to small businesses, there are a number of people who are eligible. At its simplest, any small business is eligible to be certified as such if they meet size and expertise requirements. Local government entities may have additional requirements, such as registering as a vendor/supplier with the city or conducting business in local and nearby counties.
Some certifications can be awarded for underrepresented groups, such as minorities, women, veterans, or LGBTQ. Keep in mind that multiple certifications may apply to your business. For example, a business owner who is a female veteran and minority could apply for certifications for all three.
What are the most common certifications?
While this is not an exhaustive list, here are some of the most commonly held and recognized certifications for small businesses:
- ACDBE—Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
- DBE—Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
- SBE—Small Business Enterprise
- HUB—Historically Underutilized Business
- HUBZone—Small businesses in Historically Underutilized Business zones
- EDWOSB—Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business
- SDVOSB—Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business
- MBE—Minority Business Enterprise
- WBE—Woman Business Enterprise
- VOSB—Veteran Owned Small Business
- WOSB—Woman Owned Small Business
- LGBTBE – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Small Businesses
How do I get started with the certification process?
To certify your business, you can often apply online via the certifying organization’s website. Here are a few to check out for the most common certifications outlined above:
Small Business Administration
– Apply for VOSB, DBE, HUBZone, SBE, 8(a), WOSB etc.
National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
– Apply for MBE
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
– Apply for WBE, WOSB, EDWOSB
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
– Apply for LGBTE