Tuesday, February 23, 2016

How do I get certified as a minority or woman owned business?

From the Mid-Hudson SBDC:

In an effort to promote the integration of Minorities and Women owned business into the State’s procurement process, the Governor’s Office on Minority and Women’s Development was incorporated into the Department of Economic Development in 1992. This office is responsible for implementing the certification program to which any established business owned by women or minorities can apply. One important criterion for determining eligibility is that the business must be independently controlled by a minority or woman and must have been in operation for a year. Any legal form of business is eligible be it a single proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. Out of state entities may also apply.

What constitutes “ownership” in this case is defined as having at least 51% ownership by citizens or permanent resident aliens who are:  African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islanders, Native American, Alaskan Natives or women.

Completing the certification process requires a lengthy form and lots of information, such as who owns the company and in what percentage, the sources of funds utilized, sales figures, licenses, key staff, physical facilities, equipment, banks accounts, creditors, financial statements, etc. Moreover, once the application is submitted and accepted, it will probably take anywhere between six to nine months for you to get and answer. Rejections can be appealed through an established process.

The advantages of certification? Well, take into account that Minority Business Certification provides an opportunity to do business in and with New York State since your business will be listed in the statewide Directory of Certified Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises. State agencies and contractors use this catalog. And since both the Governor and the Legislature have mandated the state government to provide better opportunities to women and minorities your chances to do business are increased automatically. Certification does not guarantee more business but provides a better chance to compete.

For more information and assistance contact the New York State Department of Economic Development, Division of Minority and Women Business Development in Albany at (518) 292-5250 or your local Small Business Development Center.

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