A business enterprise certification is a process by a third-party entity to verify the legitimacy and ownership of a company by a person of a particular ethnicity, gender, and/or economic standing. These certifications exist to ensure the economic inclusion of disadvantaged businesses. There are many types of certifications available ranging from LGBTQ, Minority-Owned, Woman-Owned, and Veteran-Owned.

The eligibility for certification depends on the type of certification and whether or not it is a local, regional, national, or federal certification. Most require at least 51% of the company is owned and operated by the specific type of certification sought (LGBTQ, Minority-Owned, Woman-Owned, and Veteran-Owned, etc.), U.S. Citizenship, and a for-profit company.

Not sure which certification is best for you? We advise our members to select a certification that the entities they are interested in doing business with accept. Still not sure, we can help with that too.

You can expect to learn all of the necessary details needed to successfully become certified. Diversify Hub has created and provided checklists to help ease the certification application process.

Things to know about the certification process:

• Certification fees range from $0 to $1,000
• The average application processing time is from 30 – 120 days
• Incomplete applications will restart the processing time
• Most application fees are non-refundable, if denied
• The certification renewal time frame is between 1 – 4 years
• Certifications are not automatically renewed and require a renewal application and fee, if applicable
• Certification does not guarantee a contract
• Non-profit organizations are not eligible for certification
• Certifications are best suited for businesses who provide Business to Business services

Benefits of Certifications

Certifying your business provides access to contracts and government programs. It allows your business to meet the eligibility for set-aside contracts (typically available with federal contracting). It provides more visibility of your business to entities with diversity goals. Gain exclusive access to resources like complimentary business training, programs, and technical support. Certification can help expedite the growth of your business and be a gateway to effectively connect with companies you want to do business with.

Certification Agencies

Types of Certifications

Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE)

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB)

Historically Underutilized Business (HUB)

LGBTQ-Owned Business Enterprise (LGBTQ)

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)

Persons with Disabilities Business Enterprise (PDBE)

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB)

Small Business Enterprise (SBE)

Small Business Construction Program (SBCP)

Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB)

Veteran-Owned Small Business Owner (VOSB)

Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE)

Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB)

Women Business Enterprise (WBE)

8(a) Business Development Program (SBA 8(a))