One of the first things we tell all of our clients engaging in this undertaking is that it is a marathon– not a race. Application for disadvantaged business certification is a very tedious and time-consuming process. It typically takes about 30-60 days to get all of the required documentation together and another 3-6 months to obtain your first contract. However, the end result is well worth the effort, as it will position your business to receive the billions of dollars that corporations and the government set aside for disadvantaged businesses every year.
Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council –Minority Business Enterprise (GMSDC MBE)*
What they do:
- Certify ethnic minority businesses enterprises (MBEs)
- Connect certified MBE’s with corporate America.
- Connect with potential opportunities
- Develop MBE’s
- Advocate on behalf of MBE’s
- Competitive advantage
- Opens doors to corporate America
- National certification
- Their database
- Facilitates corporate to MBE relationship
- Facilitates MBE’s to MBE’s relationships/joint ventures
- Mentor/Protégé program that pairs veteran MBE’s with newly certified MBE’s
- Can attend events hosted by NMSDC at discounted pricing
- MBE’s highlighted on NMSDC website
- Corporate clients spent $185 billion on MBE services last year
They are looking for businesses that:
- Have a product that goes into the final product created by corporate members
- Produce something that goes on the shelf of retail members
- Offers services members need –IT, staffing
5-step certification process
- Pre-application meeting
- Submit materials
- Board review
- On-site review
Application Fee: $500 for regular turnaround time (up to 90 days), $1200 for expedited application (2 weeks)
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council- Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBENC WBE) **
WBENC’s world-class certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and other entities. WBENC is also an approved Third Party Certifier for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program.
WBENC Certification validates that the business is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women.
To achieve WBENC Certification, women owned businesses complete a formal documentation and site visit process which is administered by one of WBENC’s 14 Regional Partner Organizations. WBENC Certification gives women owned businesses the ability to compete for real-time business opportunities provided by WBENC Corporate Members and government agencies.
Application Fee – $350
Women-Owned Small Business Certification (WOSB)***
The SBA’s WOSB Federal Contract Program provides greater access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The Program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs*
Criteria for Certification
- The applicant company must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry. Please view the listing of NAICS and their size standards for verification**.
- The applicant company must be at least fifty-one percent (51%) unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens.
- Management and daily operation must be controlled by one or more of the women owners.
- The women owners must make long-term decisions for the business.
- One of the criteria below must also be true for CORPORATIONS ONLY:
- Women must make up a majority of the Board of Directors OR have a majority of the Board votes through weighted voting.
- Women must make up 51% of the voting power, sit on the Board AND have enough voting power to overcome any supermajority requirement.
- WBENC uses a two-part process to ensure that the applicant company meets the WBENC WOSB Standards. This will include a thorough review of the documentation presented and a site visit interview with the female owner/s.
Application Fee: None
Some typical paperwork needed during application process:
- Birth certificate
- Incorporation documents
- Bank statements
- Tax returns (3 years)
- Profit/Loss statements (3 years)
- Income Statements (3 years)
- Vendor Contracts (if applicable)
- Certificate of Existence (if LLC)
- Operating Agreement (if LLC)
- Lease Agreements
- Statement of Assets
Most applications take 45-90 days from date of submission to process.
Phase I – Assessment – $500 approximately one-two weeks
During this period we will assess your readiness for the application process.
- Go over with client the checklist of required documentation
- Assess what documentation client currently has
- Assess what documentation clients needs to provide
- Determine what steps need to be taken to secure documentation
- Sesa develops formal development proposal that will include timeframe and cost for “Phase III –Application Completion.”
Phase II- Establish necessary accounts and obtain government contracting and commodity codes – $500-approximately one week
- .Get DUNS number.
- Secure Government Contracting and Commodity Codes:
- Establish account on SAM.gov (stands for System Award Management. Required for any business that wants to contract with the government.
- Create account on SBA General Login System (GLS)
- Establish account on E-verify
- Identify government organizations that spent the most money on the types of services your company offers.
Phase III – Application Preparation– cost and timeframe to be assessed During Phase I. During this phase total cost is broken down into weekly payments. Clients will receive weekly status updates, and bi-weekly in-person meetings on status of applications, issues, etc.
- Begin filling out online applications on GMSDC and WBENC
- Establish profile on SBA Small Business Directory
- Gather and file application supporting documentation
- Begin filling out WOSB Application
Phase IV – Application Submission – $500 approximately one week
- Submit applications online.
- Make two hard copies of each application (one for Customer records and one for Sesa records).
- Review completed applications with client.
- Mail applicable supporting materials.
- Reach out to contacts with each organization to make them aware that applications have been sent.
Phase VI – Application Review by organization – Billed hourly @ $50/hr as needed.
Often times the organizations will require additional documentation after reviewing the application.
Phase VII- Post certification services-Billed hourly @ $50/hr as needed.
After certification is achieved, client may choose to have Sesa continue to work with them to help them to establish relationships with appropriate Supplier Diversity officers for corporations and government agencies and to help secure government contracts.