Connect with us

Bussiness

Are You A Black Woman That Owns A Business? This Is Why You Should Get MWBE Certified ASAP | Essence

Published

on

Beautiful African-American woman typing business report on a laptop keyboard while sitting at office desk with documents.

Being a small business owner can be equal parts fulfilling and challenging. Consistently learning and servicing your target audience, and balancing the books all while identifying growth opportunities are often some of the most daunting elements of entrepreneurship. Coupled with being part of one of the most under-resourced groups, Black women business owners can often be overlooked for lucrative contract opportunities with government entities, along with other developmental benefits. Fortunately, there are some steps that can be taken to help close opportunity gaps, namely the MWBE certificate. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s time to get familiar.

What is the MWBE certificate

Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) or MBE/WBE is a state-issued certification that affords small business owners access to operational benefits, particularly opportunities to secure large contracts with government agencies.

Why You Should Consider Getting Certified

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, being certified puts certain contract opportunities on your radar, and huge leg up on the competition when vying for them. What many might not realize is being MWBE also provides tax benefits as well. As capital services company One Park Financial points out, businesses “can get reduced tax liabilities for projects funded with federal or state grants or receive tax incentives. The federal government is also prone to offer tax incentives to those businesses and states that work with minority or women-owned businesses.”

This can help your business get government contracts that may not have been accessible before. If you have a catering company, for example, you might have the opportunity to cater a treasury lunch. If your company makes soap, you might be in the running to supply soap to a state office facility.

How to get certified

The first step to take here is to ensure you’re qualified for the certification. Requirements are:

WBE Certification

  • At least 51% of the organization must be owned, operated and ran by one or more people that identify as women
  • Be a United States citizen
  • A woman-identifying person must run day-to-day operations
  • One or more of owners handle the overall management of the company

MBE Certification

  • Businesses are at least 51% owned and operated by qualified minority group individuals
  • A minority individual is a U.S. citizen who is at least 25% Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, or Native American*.

Usually, each state has a dedicated entity that handles the application process. The most common are:

There are many organizations that offer a WBE or MBE certification. The application fee and process is the same for any program you apply through. For women-owned businesses, apply through one of these organizations:

  • Small Business Administration
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
  • National Women Business Owners Corporation
  • Local government entity

After applying, it can take quite some time to receive the certification. For instance, in New York state applicants can expect to wait one to two years to receive New York state approval assuming the application was properly completed. But I promise, it’s worth it.

Continue Reading