Minority-Owned Certification Overview

Minority-Owned Business Certifications are programs designed for businesses 51% owned and operated by American citizens considered an “ethnic minority.”

Receiving a Minority-Owned Certification at any level will give you access to enormous Government budgets and nationally recognized corporations required to purchase from minority-owned businesses.

U.S. Citizens who are African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic- American, or Native American qualify as “ethnic minority.”

This article will dissect the different types of Minority-Owned Business Certifications at the Federal, State, and Local levels and how they help your entity succeed in a demanding environment.

While certification can be completed alone, GSE proudly offers expert support services to assist businesses with registration, certification, and contract updates. With decades of experience helping companies simplify 8(a), MBE, DBE, and MWBE Certifications, we have the knowledge to help you every step of the way. To see if your business qualifies, contact us at any time.

How to Get Minority-Owned Business Certified

Minorities owning small businesses who are willing to research and complete the lengthy certification process may do so independently.

However, Both Federal and State Certifications require an incredible amount of information, and it all must be flawlessly collected. However, if you submit your certification applications with errors, you may have to restart the registration process entirely under even more complicated guidelines.

That’s where Government Services Exchange (GSE) can help your business flourish.

GSE has more than 25 years of experience assisting clients in receiving 8(a), MBE, DBE, and MWBE certifications. Our mission at Government Services Exchange is to take our clients to the next level of business success by navigating them through the world of government contracting.

Our specialists will work closely with you guide you through the complicated process of becoming a certified Minority-Owned Small Business at the Federal or State level.

How Does the Certification Help My Business?

Getting your organization certified can bring your business growth, revenue, exposure, and access to contract dollars specific to Minority-Owned Businesses.

Minority-Owned Business Certified entities will receive exposure to more than 15,000 other Minority Certified companies to engage in business with. This will create opportunities and partnerships that you would otherwise be unable to access.

More benefits for Federal and State certified Minority-Owned businesses include:

  • A vast network of support
  • Targeted opportunities
  • Increased visibility in corporate and government supply chains
  • Educational programs to spur growth
  • Networking with thousands of other minority-owned businesses. 

Who is Considered an “Ethnic Minority”?

Government regulations require qualified Minority-Owned Businesses to be owned, controlled and managed by minority group members in any of the following groups:

U.S. citizens who are:

  • African-American
  • Latino-American
  • Native American
  • Asian-Pacific American
  • Asian-Indian American.

“Ownership” by minority individuals means the business is at least 51% owned by such individuals. In the case of a publicly-owned business, one or more such individuals own at least 51% of the stock.

For a complete list of countries that enable you to qualify for any Minority-Owned Business Certificates, please visit FSMSDC.org.

Types of Minority-Owned Business Certifications

Federal Certifications like the (8a) Program offer the most lucrative opportunities for Minority business owners. However, specific qualifications make these certifications tough to receive for most companies.

That’s where State Certifications such as the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) can be perfect for growing businesses. Check out the different options available to Minority-Owned Businesses looking to get certified below.

8(a) Certification

The holy grail of Federal Certifications, the 8(a) Certification, will set your Minority-Owned business up for success. However, less than 10% of Minority-Owned companies will qualify for this certification.


Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification

Available at the National and State level, the MBE is the most popular certification for Minority-Owned Businesses.


Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification

A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification requires your business to be owned, controlled, and operated by government-recognized disadvantaged groups.


Minority-Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Certification

A sister certification of the MBE, the MWBE Certification, gives businesses owned by minority women an upper hand


Why is the 8(a) Certification Program so Difficult to Obtain?

According to the SBA, “The 8(a) program is a robust nine-year program created to help firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.” That means you must be considered an ethnic minority and socially/economically disadvantaged.

Once you qualify on a general level, the hard part begins. The 8(a) application process is a long and arduous one. Part of the process is completed online through the SBA’s portal, and part of it requires a paper application which typically is 300-500 pages in length. 

All applicants must follow a format to be accurate and complete with the SBA’s process. Expectations are that the SBA will complete its review of an 8(a) application in three months from when they receive the application. However, it’s been known to take up to a year. 

Without a qualified firm like GSE on your side, it is improbable that you complete the 8(a) Business Development Program qualifications and application.

Can Any Business Get Minority-Owned Certified?

Qualifications of all Minority-Owned Business Certifications are very similar; however, as mentioned before, the State level certifications are far easier to obtain than the 8(a) Federal Certification. The qualifications for each are below.

Federal Certifications

8(a) Business Development Program

  • Be a small business
  • Not have previously participated in the 8(a) program
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are socially and economically disadvantaged. 
  • Have a personal net worth of $750 thousand or less, adjusted gross income of $350 thousand or less, and assets totaling $6 million or less
  • Demonstrate good character.
  • Demonstrate the potential for success, such as having been in business for two years.

*The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification can be completed at the National or State Level. To see which is best for your business, call us today at (866) 850-1710.*

Minority-Business Enterprise (MBE)

  • United States citizens.
  • 51% minority-owned
  • Must be a for-profit enterprise and physically located in the U. S. or its trust territories.
  • Management and daily operations must be exercised by the minority ownership member(s).

Minority-Women Business Enterprise (MWBE)

  • United States citizens.
  • 51% minority-women owned
  • Must be a for-profit enterprise and physically located in the U. S. or its trust territories.
  • Management and daily operations must be exercised by a woman who is a minority.

Disadvantaged-Business Enterprise (DBE)

  • 51% owned and controlled by one or who are socially and economically disadvantaged and fall into any of the following groups:
    •  Asian-Pacific Americans
    •  Hispanics (people of Spanish descent)
    •  Subcontinent Asian Americans
    •  African Americans
    •  Native Americans
  • Annual average income must not exceed $26 million.
  • The top executive officer, responsible for daily operations, is a 
  • a disadvantaged individual with technical expertise.

If you think your Minority-Owned Small Business qualifies to become certified in any sector, call (866) 850-1710 to get the process started.

Call (866) 850-1710 for immediate assistance
or see how to qualify!