Minority Business Enterprise

1. What is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)?

MBE is defined as a business which is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more (in combination) American citizens of the following ethnic minority and/or gender (e.g. woman-owned) and/or military veteran classifications:

  • African American
  • Asian American
  • Hispanic American
  • Native American
  • Hasidic Jew
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Other individuals who can prove social and economic disadvantage

2. Are there any length-of-time in business requirements applicants must meet before applying for certification as an MBE?

  • The owner is required to have operated the business for at least a full year (365 days) either calendar or fiscal.
  • The owner is required to have filed a federal business tax return consisting of a full year (365 days) either calendar or fiscal.
  • The business must have been continuously operating for at least one year (365 days).
  • The owner is required to have filed federal business and personal tax returns for the most recently completed tax year.

3. What does the MBE certification process entail?

Application are filed with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). Applications can be obtained from EPA OSBP, from regional Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Coordinators, and from EPA OSBP’s website, www.epa.gov/osbp. The application includes the following:

  • An attestation to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information on the application for by sworn affidavit, or an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.
  • The application must include evidence demonstrating that the entity is owned and/or controlled by one or more individuals claiming disadvantaged status of such individuals.
  • The application must include documentation of a denial of certification by a Federal agency, State government, local government, Indian tribal government, or independent private organization, if applicable.

4. Does the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accept other certifications?

Yes. Under the new Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program entities can no longer self-certify. EPA will accept certifications from:

  • The United States Small Business Administration (SBA), under its 8(a) program certificates and SBA Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Program self-certifications;
  • The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) state implemented DBE Certification Program (with U.S. citizenship);
  • State and local governments, if their standards for certification meet or exceed our own; and
  • Independent private organization certifications if their standards for certification meet or exceed our own.

If an entity holds one of these certifications, it is considered acceptable for establishing MBE status under EPA’s DBE Program, and application for EPA certification is not needed

5. What is the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program?

The objective of the 8 (a) program is to help minority-owned companies win contracts in the public sector. Furthermore, this federal program is geared towards helping provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities. In addition, the 8(a) program offers specialized business training, counseling, and marketing assistance in addition to giving participants access to reduced competition and sole source contracts.

6. What are the 8(a) program qualifications?

  • Be considered a small business
  • Has not participated in prior 8(a) programs.
  • The owner is required to possess at least 51% of the business and be controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
  • The owner is required to have a personal net worth of $250,000 or less.
  • The owner is required to have an average adjusted gross income for three years of $250,000 or less.
  • The owner is required to have $4 million or less in assets.
  • The owner is required to manage day-to-day operations and make long-term decisions.
  • Have all its principals demonstrate good character.
  • Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.

The federal government fully defines who qualifies for the 8(a) program-including what counts as being economically and socially disadvantaged – in Title 13 Part 124 of the CFR. You can also get a preliminary assessment of whether you qualify at the SBA

7. What is the primary function of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization?

The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is responsible for ensuring that small businesses, minority businesses, and other businesses owned and controlled by disadvantaged persons are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of the agency’s contracting and subcontracting opportunities.

8. What is an MBE business enterprise directory?

By logging into http://www.omwbe.wa.gov you can either register your business as an MBE or obtain a printed compilation of certified minority business enterprises which is retained and published by the minority business enterprise department and made available to contractors (s), vendor (s), and the public for use in identifying contractors, service providers, material supplies, etc.

9. How does the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) assist certified MBE businesses?

NMSDC provides certified MBEs the access, technical assistance, training and support needed to expand and market their services to prospective corporate buyers.

10. Which agency is responsible for performing an onsite review/visit to a MBE?

The onsite visit is conducted by the Finance and Administration Cabinet. This visit is conducted every three years. The onsite visit consists of a verbal and visual confirmation of the applicant’s ownership, management and control of the business. The applicant(s) must answer all questions posed by the Finance and Administration Cabinet and if requested the applicant must also submit supporting documentation relating to their business.