Minority Business Development--State MBE Certification Programs
Updated October 2012
Among minority business enterprise (MBE) development strategies, perhaps the most well known, are programs designed to encourage minority-owned business growth through facilitated participation in government procurement. MBE procurement assistance programs often include services such as technical training on government contracting and the bidding process, as well as notification of current bidding opportunities. Providing more direct assistance, some states have “set aside” programs where a certain percentage of government contracting is designated for minority firms. These set asides are expressed as goals that government agencies try to meet, and are not treated as enforceable quotas.
States with set aside programs certify minority-owned businesses as such to ensure that participation in the program is limited to the group it was designed to assist. The application process for certification often involves submitting a detailed report on the firm along with supporting documents to the certification authority. The authority may also visit the business site to verify information provided in the application. The certification process can take as little as 10 days in some states, and up to 90 days in others.
In addition to state-level programs, there are federal programs that also provide direct procurement assistance to minority owned-businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8a and Small Disadvantaged Business programs, as well as the Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) development program, all involve set asides and certification for federally-funded government procurement.
At least 41 states and Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico have state-level MBE development programs involving certification for participation in state government procurement independent of existing federal DBE development programs in both funding and administration. The following chart contains a list of states with these programs, information on their administrative structure, and links to their respective websites.
NCSL Contacts: Qiana Flores, Policy Associate, Denver, 303-364-7700
A-C | D-H | I-L | M | N | O-R | S-U | V-W
(*) Indicates offices which provide assistance and services to women-owned businesses as well.