Businesses that are certified as minority-owned can take advantage of special government programs, including increased access to government contracting opportunities that can help them grow quicker.
Does Your Business Qualify as a Certified Minority-Owned Business?
Small businesses seeking minority business certification are instructed to contact the NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) whose mission is to advance business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connect them to corporate members. Applications can be submitted online, and members must meet the following criteria for certification:
- U.S. citizen
- Businesses that are at least 51 percent minority-owned and controlled, defined as someone who is at least 25 percent Asian, Black, Hispanic or Native American, established through screenings, interviews and site visits
- Must be a for-profit enterprise that is physically located within the U.S. or its trust territories
- Management and daily operations must be exercised by the minority owner member(s)
The certification process can take up to 90 days and applicants should be prepared to supply many different types of business documentation. Once certified as a minority-owned business by the NMSDC, minority business executives have access to program benefits, among which are opportunities to grow their businesses by gaining private and government contracts through inclusion in (and access to) the NMSDC’s supplier database and regional leads and alerts for procurement opportunities from corporate members.
Under the 8(a) BD Program, the determination of whether an individual is economically disadvantaged requires an evaluation of the individual’s total assets, net worth, and personal income for the past three years. To be considered an economically disadvantaged individual for the 8(a) BD Program, the individual must meet the thresholds described below:
- The individual’s total assets must be valued at $4 million or less. This calculation is based on the fair market value of all assets, including the primary residence and the value of the business concern. This calculation excludes funds invested in a qualified IRA account or other official retirement account.
- The individual’s net worth must be less than $250,000. This calculation excludes the individual’s ownership interest in the applicant concern, the individual’s equity interest in his or her primary residence, funds invested in a qualified Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) or other official retirement account that is unavailable until retirement age without a significant penalty, and income received from an S Corp, LLC or partnership that was reinvested in the business or used for paying taxes arising in the normal course of operations of the business.
- The individual’s personal income must be $250,000 or less. This calculation is based on the individual’s adjusted gross income averaged over the last three years.
The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses in historically underutilized business zones. It also gives preferential consideration to those businesses in full and open competition.
Joining the HUBZone program makes your business eligible to compete for the program’s set-aside contracts. HUBZone-certified businesses also get a 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions.
HUBZone-certified businesses can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.
To qualify for the HUBZone program, your business must:
- Be a small business
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens, a Community Development Corporation, an agricultural cooperative, an Alaska Native corporation, a Native Hawaiian organization, or an Indian tribe
- Have its principal office located in a HUBZone
- Have at least 35 percent of its employees living in a HUBZone
You can find the full qualification criteria in Title 13 Part 126 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). You can also get a preliminary assessment of whether you qualify at the SBA’s Certify website.
The System for Award Management (SAM) is an official website of the U.S. government.
Register to do business with the U.S. government
You must have an active registration in SAM to do business with the Federal Government. To register in SAM, at a minimum, you will need the following information:
- Your DUNS Number, Legal Business Name, and Physical Address from your Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) record.
- Your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and Taxpayer Name associated with your TIN. Review your tax documents from the IRS (such as a 1099 or W-2 form) to find your Taxpayer Name.
- Your bank’s routing number, your bank account number, and your bank account type, i.e. checking or savings, to set up Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
- Your NATO Commercial And Government Entity (NCAGE) Code.
- Your DUNS Number, Legal Business Name, and Physical Address from your D&B record. Make sure your DUNS information and NCAGE information match.