The United States still remains the land of opportunity for many. For those of you who are enterprising enough, there’s a lot of resources available in various forms that you can take advantage of. The Minority and Women Business Enterprise or the MWBE is one great place to start looking for advice, information, and assistance to enable you to compete in the big league.
Since its conception in 1998, the MWBE has been certifying small companies owned by women and/or minorities. An MBWE certification has given these companies equal opportunity and access to contracting opportunities from both the private and public sectors.
To qualify for MWBE certification, your company must be a for-profit Sole Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation that is at least 51% owned and managed by women and/or minorities of African, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American origin. The MWBE will also look into the extent of your presence in your city, and will ask for proof that at least 25% of your gross receipts were generated through transactions made in the area within a period of at least one year.
When you meet the basic qualifications above, you may proceed with your application for certification by submitting a number of required documents. The MWBE require these documents:
- copies of your business licenses and SEC registration
- your company profile which includes your company history, resumes of owners and officers, organizational chart, and business plan
- your financial data which includes income tax returns, balance sheets, and profit and loss details
- other documents such as contracts and agreements, lease agreements and deeds, and insurance and bonding evidence
Your MWBE certification has to be renewed annually. The renewal process is less strict, although you will have to submit updated versions of some of the documents above.
Once you’re issued an MWBE certification, you’re ready to play in the big league as you’ll have greater access to bid opportunities and events. Your company will enjoy increased market visibility as you’ll be included in the directory of MWBE-certified organizations. You will be regarded by potential partners as highly desirable because of your MWBE certification. Having an MWBE-certified business partner will make it easier for them to comply with requirements mandated by law.
Your MWBE certification will also be your key to a wealth of information on emerging trends in your industry by way of seminars, workshops, and conferences. It will also be your ticket to invites to get-togethers with procurement officers and prime contractors from all business sectors.
An MWBE certification will also facilitate approval of your loan applications, simply because the documentation requirements for loans are basically the same as those for MWBE accreditation. Any financial institution, upon knowing that you’ve gone through the strict MWBE eligibility procedure, will be assured that all your documents are in order.
At this time, many governors across the United States appreciate MWBE-certified companies and recognize their contributions to the economic growth in their respective areas. If you don’t have your MWBE certification yet, now is the best time to get it.