Making certification work for your business

Certification helps minority and women-owned businesses secure city and state contracts

Kelley Chunn | 5/4/2017, 6 a.m.

Women’s Business Enterprise Council: The Center for Women & Enterprise is the New England Partner for WBENC. For details on WBENC application and membership go to www.cweonline.org.

Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council: The Council serves the six state region and is among 24 regional councils affiliated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council. MBEs certified with GNEMSDC are eligible to participate in a Cross Certification Program with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. www.gnemsdc.org

Government certification options

As you consider government certification for your business, understand the many options and which one might work best for you, research the application process and ask for help. Here’s an overview of some of the government designations for which it is free to apply:

State Certification: During the certification process, the Supplier Diversity Office reviews and investigates applicants who seek to participate in affirmative business opportunities within state and local government to determine that they meet the requirements of the state statutes and regulations. SDO certifies companies for the State (Minority Business Enterprises, Women’s Business Enterprise, Portuguese Business Enterprises and Veteran Business Enterprises) certification program. www.mass.gov/sdo

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Transportation as a condition of receiving federal assistance. The DBE Program promotes business opportunities for firms owned by minorities, women and other disadvantaged individuals and which are certified as DBEs through the Supplier Diversity Office. The objective of the DBE Program is to support equal access to MBTA and DOT contracting opportunities for DBE firms to compete for awards and procurements as contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and providers of goods and services. www.transportation.gov

Federal Certification: To help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace, the Small Business Administration (SBA) created the 8(a) Business Development Program. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. www.sba.gov

System for Award Management: To do business with the U.S. Government you must have an active registration with SAM. www.sam.gov and www.fsd.gov.

Kelley Chunn is events manager for the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.