Small businesses are the economic engine of our country, employing upwards of 67% of all our nation’s workers, and the breeding ground for innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit that has made our economy the richest and most diverse in the world. But small businesses often overlook two important potential client groups: large corporations and the government.
Both large corporations and the government have tremendous buying power, and need reliable suppliers, vendors and contractors to procure their raw materials, products, and services. Many corporations have Supplier Diversity programs to attract vendors from a variety of ownership groups and sizes. Minority-owned and women-owned companies can get a piece of the procurement pie by becoming certified by national organizations that use strict guidelines established by government and the business community. Two such organizations are the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).
The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification is offered locally by Southern Florida Minority Supplier Development Council, www.sfmsdc.org, an NMSDC affiliate. The Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification is offered locally by the Women’s Business Development Council of Florida, www.womensbusiness.info, a WBENC affiliate. The US Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov, in 2011 created a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification that is processed by WBE certifying third party organizations such as WBENC and its affiliates. The WOSB certification is only for woman-owned companies that offer products and services that are underrepresented in government contracts by women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned businesses.
Businesses of all sizes that provide all the required documentation in a timely manner – even home-based companies – can be certified, and then will be able to compete for new business opportunities as vendors, contractors and subcontractors to government and corporate entities with Supplier Diversity programs.
There are other business certifications that give an advantage to businesses with diverse ownership when vying for government and large corporations’ contracts. Some of these certifications are Veteran-Owned or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business, Miami-Dade County Small Business Enterprise, and Florida Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise; to name a few. These certifications will be discussed in more detail in future articles.
Start growing your business with an MBE/WBE certification! Visit the certifying organizations’ websites, and you may contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information or assistance with certification.