Minority business enterprise certification can be a great opportunity for certain businesses, but what are
the requirements and how is it obtained? Here, the business law experts at The Law Offices of James A.
List, LLC review the MBE certification process.
What is a MBE Certification?
The MBE Certification was established by the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
to provide networking, educational and business opportunities to minority-owned businesses. To apply,
a private business must be 51% owned by minority individuals, or in the case of a publicly-owned
business, at least 51% of the stock must be owned by one or more minority individuals. The business
must be a profit enterprise and U.S.-based. There are also various state and local MBE programs.
What is the Definition of Minority?
For the purposes of this program, the NMSDC considers any U.S. citizen who is at least one-quarter
Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic or Native American to be a minority. Specific definitions of
these categories can be found here. Documentation to support minority-status claims will be required in order to apply. This can include a
birth certificate, heritage document, tribal registry letter or tribal roll register number, or other
How Do I Apply for MBE Certification?
First, you will need to contact your local regional office (contact information for the regional office for
MD residents can be found here). After ensuring your business meets all of the requirements, you will
need to collect the necessary documentation. These will vary by business, and may include certificates
of incorporation, articles of incorporation, stock certificates, meeting minutes, any agreement pertaining
to ownership, operation or control and business cards, among others. A full list can be found at the
NMSDC website. Also found at the NMSDC website is the online application, which can be completed in
intervals and saved as you proceed through the application. Upon paying the application fee, and
uploading necessary documentation, a site visit and interview can be scheduled with a NMSDC
certification specialist. Final approval will occur afterwards by the board—the entire application process
can take up to 90 days. If you are approved, you will be notified via email and postal mail, so be sure to provide an accurate
email and mailing address. If your application is denied, you may mail a letter of appeal to your regional
What are the Benefits to MBE Certification?
Those certified as MBE businesses have access to a wealth of services and benefits. Most notable are
MBE contract requirements and GSA schedules requiring MBE participation. There are also extensive
networking opportunities, as well as executive education seminars. MBE status also helps businesses
connect with other MBE businesses, leading to strengthened partnerships and mutually beneficial
relationships. There are also exclusive business fairs, which allow MBE certified businesses present
themselves directly to prospective buyers.
How Can The Law Offices of James A. List, LLC, Help?
At The Law Offices of James A. List, LLC, we believe in providing resources to allow small businesses to reach their full potential. Our dedicated attorneys are available to walk you through the process of MBE certification, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free experience. We are excited to get started with your business—for more information, or a free consultation, contact us today!