Most local, state and government agencies have contracting programs that seek to provide increased opportunities to businesses that meet certain criteria, such as small businesses that meet defined size standards, minority-women-and-veteran owned businesses, historically underutilized businesses, and more. In addition, many private firms, and particularly large corporations, have supplier diversity programs that seek to utilize some of these same types of businesses to provide the goods and services they need. If you’re looking for increased opportunities to do business with local, state and federal government as well as major corporations, you should explore becoming certified by each applicable agency.
PUBLIC GOVERNMENT CERTIFICATIONS (LOCAL-STATE-FEDERAL)
Charlotte’s Small Business Opportunity Program (SBO) encourages small business participation in City contracting, promotes Charlotte Regional Area small business participation and opens the door to greater prospects and competition among Certified City Small Business Enterprise (SBE) firms. Increased opportunities exist for certified SBE firms.
A centralized certification process for minority, women and disabled business enterprises managed by the Office of Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB). Firms are certified as HUB/MWBE and their information is compiled in a Statewide Uniform Certification (SWUC) Vendor database.
Certain NCDOT projects under $500,000 are made available for exclusive bidding by certified SBE firms, thereby eliminating competition from large firms. Business revenue must be less than $1.5 million.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has had in effect for more than 20 years a policy of helping small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including minorities and women, in participating in contracting opportunities created by DOT financial assistance programs. To help administer this policy, the NCDOT verifies that businesses meet the requirements of the program by certifying businesses as DBE firms.
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) Empowerment Contracting program was enacted into law as part of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997. The federal government has a goal of awarding 3% of all dollars for federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small business concerns. Small businesses located in a HUBZone and meeting all of the program eligibility requirements have increased access to contracting opportunities by becoming certified as a federal HUBZone business.
The purpose of the 8A program is to help socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses effectively compete in the marketplace and gain access to federal and private procurement markets. Under the program, the 8a certified company receives business development support such as one-on-one advise and coaching services.
The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) federal contract program, developed in 2011, strives to provide equal access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSB’s. WOSB’s can choose to self-certify their business or be certified by an SBA-approved third-party certifier.
The VA offers set-asides for Veteran-owned small businesses.
PRIVATE SECTOR CERTIFICATIONS
The following are private certifiers who require detailed information and verification regarding the ownership, financing, operation, and expertise of the business owner. These certifications are widely recognized and often desired by corporations.
CMSDC seeks to expand business opportunities for Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and create mutually beneficial links between Corporate Members and MBEs. The ultimate outcome is to add economic value to the supply chain, while increasing economic opportunities for the minority business community.
Providing women-owned business certification, education and development programs, opportunities for networking and events involving WBEs, major corporations and government agencies.
Certifying women-owned businesses is the foundation of WBENC’s mission, along with connecting Certified WBEs with Corporate Members to facilitate real time business opportunities and serving as a Resource to offer training that helps the Corporate Member and the Certified WBE grow their capacity.
NWBOC provides a national certification program for women-owned businesses.
The NGLCC Supplier Diversity Initiative (SDI) serves as the exclusive third-party certifying organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and/or Transgender owned Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs). This program is the main bridge between corporate America and LGBT-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.
FREE GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING ASSISTANCE FOR YOUR BUSINESS! Businesses with experience pursuing government contracts as well as those just getting started can receive free help from a PTAC Counselor. Contact the Charlotte SBTDC Office to make an appointment today!
PTAC Counselors can assist with:
- Completing certification documentation
- Understanding solicitation requirements & terminology
- Reviewing bids & proposals
- Identifying bid opportunities
- Researching contract award histories
- Locating specs & standards
- Much more!
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