There are some definite advantages to being certified as a minority-owned business.
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The federal government, state agencies, and even private sector corporations are interested in doing business with minority-owned companies. If you fail to follow through on the certification process, it's possible that your firm could be passing up significant revenue opportunities.
Some government agencies and corporations require that a percentage of their contracts be awarded to minority businesses. Why? First, the government and private corporations are sensitive to the demands of taxpayers and customers. It's important to them that minority businesses are involved in the creation of government services and products. Additionally, both government and nongovernmental organizations recognize that awarding a guaranteed share of contracts to minority-owned businesses is the ethically responsible thing to do.
The NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council) is an organization that is dedicated to advocating on behalf of minority-owned businesses. Their primary mission is to connect government and private sector employers with minority-owned companies. One of the ways they accomplish this is through the administration of minority-owned business certifications.
According to the NMSDC, minority-owned businesses are defined as companies that are owned, operated, and controlled by US citizens who are also minorities. To be certified, the company needs to be at least 51% owned by a minority. Here's what the certification process looks like:
- Contact the NMSDC. The certification process begins by contacting one of the NMSDC's regional councils. For information about the regional Council nearest you, visit the NMSDC's website at www.nmsdc.org.
- Complete the application. The NMSDC will send you a packet containing a certification application and a request for documentation that proves you are a minority-owned business.
- Prepare for a site visit. After you've completed the application, the NMSDC will conduct a site visit to verify the information you've given them. The site visit is also a good opportunity to discuss any questions you have about the minority owned certification process.
- Cost of certification. The certification process is not free. The cost of certification varies from region to region, but typically falls somewhere in the $350-$1200 range.