For most small businesses looking to grow their operations, targeting your local, city, county, or state government is the ideal way to have dependable sources of income that can help your business plan during tough economic times. Trying to fight for these contracts however, can be very cut-throat as many businesses are often looking for the same ideal contracts and the government agencies often only have them posted for a few short days up to a month.
Obtaining the correct business certifications for your enterprise is crucial in order to gain easy access to both federal government and corporate contracts. Certification provides your small business with a nationally-recognized and highly-respected status that makes your company stand out against marketplace competition for elite and distinguished clients.
As a small business owner, you and many others are most likely trying to find ways to successfully win your bids without giving away your shirt trying to be the lowest bid. So what options are available to help you win the bid without bidding too low? For most small business owners a great method for standing out is to seek a city, county or state certification.
Certification is a special review process designed to ensure that a small business is actually owned, controlled and operated by applicants in categories that the city, county, or state is looking to do business with. Most local government offices give preference or set-aside contracts to minority owned business, women owned business, disabled veteran owned business, veteran owned business, or small business enterprises. In other words, the government agency will score your business higher in its point’s evaluations when you have certification which may help you reach the winning bid for federal contracting even when the certified business may or may not have been the lowest bidder.
As a business owner, it’s often difficult to determine exactly how many certifications you’re eligible for in your local state. BizCentral USA has compiled a list of the various certifications available at the city, county or state level.
|State||Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)||Women Business Enterprise (WBE)||Small Business Enterprise (SBE)||Disabled/Veteran Business Enterprise (D/VBE)|
|Florida||State, City, County||State, City, County||None||State|
|Illinois||City, County||City, County||None||City, County|
|Maryland||State, City||Baltimore City||State||None|
|Minnesota||State, County||State, County||State||State|
|Missouri||State, City||State, City||Kansas City||State|
|New York||State, City||State, City||State||State|
In order to qualify as one of these business types, a business will have to complete an application, provide supporting documents and traditionally do an interview with a review officer to verify that they meet the core criteria. Each of these certifications requires that the majority of the business (fifty-one percent or more) is owned by a recognized underserved group that can show that he or she has control of the day-to-day operations, made a monetary contribution to the business, and does not have outside commitments that affect the ability to be involved in the day-to-day operations of the business from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (i.e. outside employment, ownership of other businesses, etc.).
Different Types of Certification
Obtaining the correct business certifications for your enterprise is crucial in order to gain easy access to both government and corporate contracts. Professional certifications provides your small business with a nationally-recognized and highly-respected status that makes your company stand out against marketplace competition for elite and distinguished clients. Below we will go over the different types.
Women’s Business Enterprise Certification
A Women’s Business Enterprise certification, or WBE certification, means a business that is wholly owned, controlled and operated by a woman. The WBE Certification is a highly valuable marketing tool for your small business enterprise (SBE). This is because it can easily give you certain special considerations when you decide to bid on contracts with your local government agencies.
In fact, many county, city and state level contracts and tenders for duly certified small businesses often go unclaimed. And this happens because the minority business owners are not even aware of the fact that they are actually eligible for certification.
As a general rule, the application process can be confusing and time-consuming for those people who are not really familiar with its different requirements. However, certification can be a uniquely valuable tool if you really want to grow your small business enterprise. As a matter of fact, various local, state and even national corporations are mandated to regularly search for ‘women certified vendors’ in order to conduct their business.
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification
If you are a small business owner you could be missing out on a lesser-known revenue stream – “set-aside” contracts. Government agencies, along with corporations that do business with the government, are mandated by law or corporate policies to spend approximately 20% of their budget with small disadvantaged companies.
DBE requirements are uniform in every single state because they are under the direct jurisdiction of the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT). The DOT is responsible for setting DBE utilization goals and for the implementation of the entire program.
As a business owner, it is important to understand that a DBE certification can allow you to compete for government contracts, increasing your business’ revenue.
Even during a recession, the government must continue spending to fund its operations and stimulate growth. If you are seeking small business certification, it is important to decide who your target customer is to see if a DBE certification is best for you.
Minority Business Enterprise Certification
A Minority Business Enterprise certification or MBE certification, defines your business as being owned, operated and controlled by a minority group. Certification is a valuable marketing tool for your small business, and can give you special consideration when bidding on contracts with local government.
Many state, city and county contracts for certified small businesses go unclaimed as minority business owners do not know they can qualify for a certification.
The application process can be time consuming and confusing for those who are not familiar with the requirements. However, certification is a valuable tool for growing your small business. Local, State and National corporations regularly search for minority certified vendors to conduct business with.
Small Business Enterprise Certification
A small business certification is much like a personal certification. It provides you with a special status that will help your business compete for government contracts.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the 8(a) Business Development program, commonly referred to as the 8a certification; to assist small businesses that are owned by individuals who are considered socially and economically disadvantaged, by providing them access to government contracting opportunities.
After the approval of your certification has been obtained and you are ready to start marketing your company and 8(a) certification, we can also help you identify available contracts and respond to bids or RFPs.
Whether you are starting or growing a business, at BizCentral USA we will assist you with all your business certification needs. BizCentral USA is a small business development center. We can help you identify opportunities to generate new leads that convert well and add to your bottom line.
Sign up for our free consultation and a BizCentral USA certified professional representative can review the different local, city, state, or federal certifications specific to your business headquarter. So with the certification program you can win those coveted government contracts that provide reliable work, income, and growth potential for your business to be at the next level.