Small Business Certifications 101 | What You Need to Know

The rundown

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a mandate to help small business startup, grow and work with the government — enter the small business certification program! Small business certs:

  • Enable small businesses to work with fed, state and local governments
  • Encourage large companies to add small and diverse firms on their vendor lists

Psst! Little-Known Secret.

Large companies like Verizon and Disney get preferential treatment from the federal government
if they show that they have a diversity program. Most large firms have a diversity manager whose job is to find qualified small and diverse firms to add to their vendor lists.

Here’s where we fit in.

  • Small businesses: Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)
  • Disadvantaged Businesses: DBE or Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE)
  • Minority Ethnicities (African Americans, Asian, Hispanic, American Indian, Indian and Pakistani): Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and 8(a)-certified.
  • Woman owned Business: Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)
  • Service-disabled veteran enterprise: Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOB)

Interested in getting certified?

The SBA doesn’t make it easy for small businesses to apply for certifications. Most business owners find it difficult to research and fulfill the requirements. What’s worse, there is no SBA employee that applicants can talk to during the process — only an email help desk that isn’t always helpful!

Good news: We’ve mastered this stuff. Here’s what we can do:

  • Organize all of your documentation (40 – 50+ separate documents)
  • Ensure documents are cohesive, accurate and clearly labeled
  • When required (sole source certifications), help you prepare written narratives
  • Prepare and send your application
  • Help interpret grey areas