Cómo obtener la certificación de negocios propiedad de minorías y la certificación de negocios propiedad de mujeres.
Las certificaciones de empresas propiedad de minorías y de mujeres son las dos opciones principales que allanan el camino para nuevas oportunidades y abren las puertas para el crecimiento empresarial. Profundicemos en los detalles de cada uno.
Over the last decade, businesses that foster inclusivity and promote diversity have become increasingly attractive for both job candidates and investors. Oh, and spoiler alert: these concepts have also proven to be rocket fuel for business growth. For example, diverse management has been shown to increase revenue by 19%, and inclusive workplaces benefit from an employee retention rate 5.4 times higher than average.
In light of this, a growing list of government bodies and corporations reserve a percentage of their contract budgets exclusively for minority-owned and women-owned businesses in a bid to build a supplier list that is more representative of the overall US population.
Wondering how to get minority-owned business certification? In this handy guide, we’ll outline the types of small business certifications available, highlight the benefits, and give you the rundown on how to get a WBE certification (women-owned enterprises) or MBE listing (for minority-owned enterprises) so you can start applying for private and government contracts for small minority businesses.
Types of Small Business Certifications
Las certificaciones de empresas propiedad de minorías y de mujeres son las dos opciones principales que allanan el camino para nuevas oportunidades y abren las puertas para el crecimiento empresarial. Let's delve into the specifics of each before we look at the benefits and dig into the details of how to get a minority business certification.
Minority-Owned Business (MBE)
Issued by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), MBE certification covers a spectrum of racial and ethnic minority groups that bring a unique flavor to the business scene, including but not limited to African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.
The NMSDC has a vast network of around 12,000 certified businesses and connections with over 1,400 corporate members. So, learning how to get MBE certification can prove helpful in unlocking opportunities within government circles and the public sector. It even holds weight in the private sector as NMSDC members include some of the largest corporate companies in the world, including:
- Bank of America
- Delta Airlines
- UnitedHealth Group
- Walt Disney Company
Women-Owned Business (WBE)
Now, what is WBE certification? In a nutshell, it’s an accreditation that recognizes the achievements of female entrepreneurs while simultaneously bridging the gender gap and providing a platform for women-led enterprises to thrive in various sectors.
You might be wondering why WBE certification is necessary. After all, women in business are making huge strides, aren't they? Well, yes and no. If we look at the split of male vs. female business owners on a purely statistical level, the figures break down as follows:
- Population – 49.5% male vs 50.5% female (Statista)
- Business ownership – 58% male vs 42% female (Bizee)
This skew, which you may not consider hugely significant, isn’t really the case in point, though. Research shows that women tend to get significantly less support when they start a business, and 29% of female business owners don’t think they get equal access to capital. So, for many female entrepreneurs, working out how to obtain a women-owned business certification isn’t just about acknowledging what they bring to the business table. It’s about accessing the continued investment and support they need to ensure ongoing success.
Benefits of Certification for Small Businesses
Learning how to get diversity certification for business enterprises that are female or minority-owned isn’t just a box to tick. Rather, it’s a strategic move comprising numerous advantages that contribute to the long-term success of your small businesses. Let’s dive into a quick list of some of the benefits of getting certified.
Access to Government Contracts
Achieving MBE or WBE certification is a gateway to securing a portion of the government contracts reserved exclusively for businesses like yours. However, there's more to it than revenue generation and boosting your bottom line. Snapping up government contracts shakes up the economy with a dose of diversity where you're not just doing business - you're encouraging an even more inclusive business landscape in the years to come.
Supplier Diversity Programs
Supplier Diversity Programs (SDPs) offer a simple solution for how to get minority-owned business certification to work in your favor. Many corporations actively seek certified businesses to diversify their supply chains, so being part of an SDP opens doors for lucrative partnerships and collaborations. Plus, membership allows you to become a noteworthy player in corporate discussions and inject more of your unique business flair into the overall economic bloodstream.
MBE and WBE certification offers a competitive edge in a market where diversity and inclusion are becoming a priority. Modern-day consumers are proving to be increasingly responsible in their purchasing habits, as research shows 52% of consumers consider a company’s values when making a purchase. Certification showcases your commitment to diversity and inclusion, helping you attract clients who prioritize working with socially and ethically responsible businesses.
Of course, there's much more to getting certified than the bottom-line benefits. Getting certified grants you an all-access pass to a network of influential business leaders, mentors, and diversity champions. It allows you to forge invaluable connections and become part of a more extensive, inclusive, supportive, and collaborative society within the wider business community, guaranteeing all members more exposure within their respective industries.
Education and Resources
Certification is about more than just the here and now. It's an investment in your business's future. Why? Because achieving certification often comes with access to additional educational programs and resources that help to keep you up to date - and ahead - of industry trends. With the tools you need to continually improve and adapt, you'll be empowered to achieve long-term growth and success.
Some certifications provide access to special grants, loans, and incentives specifically designed to support the growth and development of minority and women-owned businesses. Think of these programs as your financial fairy godmother, acting as a catalyst to help you make your dreams a reality with the extra fiscal support you need.
It's time to expand your business boundaries! There are some significant perks to leveraging the enhanced visibility of becoming a certified MBE or WBE business. The additional recognition and credibility that comes with accreditation act as your ticket to expand and conquer, granting you a universal passport to enter untapped local, national, and global markets.
Credibility and Trust
Trust is the glue that holds businesses and business partnerships together, and credibility is what keeps your customers coming back. MBE or WBE status enhances both, fostering confidence and conviction in your mission and values among clients, partners, stakeholders, and customers alike. Certification marks a shift in their collective thinking where they see you not simply as a business, but as a trusted ally.
Advocacy and Representation
You probably started your small business because you wanted to make an impact. By contributing to a more inclusive business landscape, you advocate for enhanced diversity and representation across every industry and vertical. Obtaining minority-owned and women-owned business certifications not only exemplifies your commitment to diversity and inclusion, it also opens up new opportunities for others and provides a source of inspiration.
Every year, more and more entrepreneurs discover how to get minority-owned business certification and unlock the benefits listed above. In doing so, they take a tangible step toward economic empowerment, contributing to the advancement of other female and minority business owners. In this respect, certification makes your business much more than a player in the competitive game of small business — it makes you a bona fide game-changer.
How to Get Women-Owned & Minority-Owned Business Certification
We’ve talked about the why, now let’s get to the how. Let’s dig down into the details of how to get a small business certification for your MBE or WBE. Here’s a step-by-step guide to how it all works.
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of how to apply for woman-owned business certification or minority-owned business certification, it pays to make sure you meet the eligibility criteria.
Your business must be owned by US citizens, located domestically, and the magic number for ownership percentage in either case is 51%:
- The MBE requirement – Your businesses must be at least 51% owned by members of minority groups, which the NMSDC defines as Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, or Native American.
- The WBE requirement – To score that WBE badge, the women who call the shots need to rock at least 51% ownership.
Much like the IRS, your bank, benefits provider, and real estate vendor, certification agencies love their paperwork. So, preparation is key! For MBE applications, be sure to emphasize the minority ownership aspect, showcasing the diversity in your enterprise. For WBE certification, highlight the women who are the driving force behind your enterprise.
To present a clear and comprehensive picture of your business, you may be asked to provide:
- Proof of citizenship
- Certificates and articles of incorporation
- Ownership agreements
- Copies of (executed and attested) bylaws and any amendments
- Stock certificates and ledgers
- Financial statements and tax returns
For either type of certification, you can complete the application online. But a word to the wise: remember this is a pretty big deal for your business, and incomplete or inaccurate applications may slow down the process. So, be sure to complete the form meticulously, providing transparent, accurate, and detailed information.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- For MBE applications – Visit the website of the regional NMSDC affiliate closest to your headquarters for guidelines on how to get minority-owned business certification in your local area.
- For WBE applications – Apply directly through the official Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) website.
Schedule Site Visit and Interview
The certification team will want to see the physical location of your business to verify its legitimacy and ensure your business aligns with the required criteria. Be prepared for an interview where they'll deep dive into your operations, ownership, and business practices.
Wait for the Certification Review Process
And now the waiting game begins! It can take up to 90 days to thoroughly review your application, supporting documents, and interview performance. So keep hanging in there until that magical day arrives when you open the email containing your application approval! Even if your initial application is rejected, don't fret - you can submit a letter to the board to address your concerns and appeal the ruling.
Already got your certification? Congrats! But the journey doesn't end here. Most certifications require annual renewal to verify your continued contribution to the diverse business landscape. Staying on top of the renewal process is straightforward if you're vigilant with record keeping and on the ball with updating your licenses, permits, professional memberships, etc.
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