How to Prepare Your Company for Minority Business Certification
The US Small Business Administration lists 7 certificates available for eligible small businesses. These certificates provide small and micro enterprises access to government contracting opportunities set as specifically for fulfillment by a business which qualifies under one or more of the following certificates:
- Small business
- Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone)
- Veteran & service-disabled veteran-owned
- 8 (a) business development
- Native American-owned
Is Small Business Certification Even Necessary?
So for businesses that meet the eligibility requirements for the above small business certificates, is it really all that important that they seek to become certified through the SBA? The answer to that question depends on the needs and goals of the business itself. A company should choose to obtain certificates based on the business development strategies defined by the company. During the planning stages of the business, the principals would have put together a profile of the company's prospective client and identified the geographical reach of the business itself. Those are the kinds of details that will determine the type of certificates and contracts the company will seek.
When to Apply for Small Business Certification
For young businesses, it is recommended that they are operating for at least two years before applying for certification. However, the length of time a business has been open is far less important than the abilities, experience and past performance of the principals and management team itself. It is possible to get the two-year requirement waived if the business owners or managers are accomplished industry professionals. Consider, however, the ability of your team to fulfill the requirements of a government contract, particularly if your business is actively expanding and readjusting operations to accommodate new growth.
Streamlining the Certification Process
For many of the businesses on the verge of transitioning into the government contracting arena, the application and documentation process associated with minority certificates is intensive and can be intimidating. Getting through the process confidently requires preparation. Preparation and organization are keys to successfully completing the minor certification process, in part because there is so much documentation required. It is a good idea to have all corporate documents in one place and designate one person in the office to be the certification coordinator. That person assumes responsibility for completing any needed data. Having one person own all certification-related tasks will help streamline the documentation process. Otherwise, you and your team risk wasting time with duplicate efforts. Once needed documents are compiled, you can then start to prepare the submission.
You should understand that most federal contracts have some level of minor participation included in the verbiage as part of its contract compliance. So even if you are not planning to become a primary contractor with the federal government, your company can benefit from certification because it will enable you to participate as a sub-contractor. Certificates are contract vehicles, a means by which businesses can become eligible for sole source opportunities and subcontract opportunities, often without having to bid. Any company seeking to do business with a government agency or large corporation as a prime or subcontractor should strictly consider certification. As well, most businesses types, no matter the sector, qualify for certification.