Why Supplier Diversity Certification is Important for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses

Small business certification offers new opportunities for startups to bid on corporate and government contracts.

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Certification Organizations and How They Work

Several organizations offer third-party certifications to minority-owned businesses are: The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).

1. WBENC issues a Gold Standard national certification to women-owned businesses to ensure a qualified database of WBENC Certified Women Business Enterprises (WBEs).

2. NMSDC’s rigorous certification process is considered to be the superior avenue for certifying minority-owned businesses by corporate America.

Regardless of the organization, the application process is arduous, time-consuming and highly worthwhile. It ensures that the M/WBE that presents itself to a corporate buyer is truly minority‐owned, -controlled, and ‐operated. Standards have an importance in everything that we do; diversity certification is no exception.

An Inside Look at the Application Process

Each organization has an online application, alongside a list of required documents, to complete and submit. Once the paperwork has been received by your regional office:

1. Its staff completes a desk audit of the application, which is then,

2. Submitted to the Certification Committee to determine if the application is eligible for a site visit, after which,

3. The application returns to the Certification Committee for approval or denial.

While this appears to be simple, the actual packaging of the application is rigorous and detailed. The information sought by these agencies can also feel intrusive to some business owners. This is not the type of material to hand over to an assistant.

Tax returns, W2’s, revenues, and startup information are only part of the long list, and many business owners find that the time and energy it takes to run a successful business leaves them little bandwidth for a meticulous application that demands absolute accuracy.

Some small business owners may decide to hire certification consultants who specialize in expediting all the necessary paperwork and manage the certification process for them so they are not distracted from their businesses.

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