Certification Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Basic Business Certification Questions

A business certification qualifies a business owner, who belongs to an underrepresented group, to be more competitive and have more access to:
  • Federal and state contracts; and/or
  • Private sector contracts
  • The business must be at least 51% managed and controlled by either a woman, minority, or disadvantaged owner who:
    • Works exclusively for the firm seeking certification
    • Has superior level of experience in the industry
    • Holds the highest title as specified in the operating agreement/bylaws
  • US Citizen (or for some certifications – a Green Card holder (legal permanent resident)
  • Must be a for-profit business
Some certifications allow start up companies to get certified but others require that you are in business for at least 6 months. If you are looking for a business certification that meets your company’s needs, BizCentral USA can help. We offer a FREE consultation to help you determine which business certification you may qualify for.
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was developed under the direction and guidance of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Use of the standard provides uniformity and comparability of businesses. It is used by the US Federal government to classify business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data to the US business economy. All certifications require at least one NAICS code. To find your NAICS code, please visit the US Census site for NAICS codes.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification Questions

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) through state transportation authorities defines the DBE Certification. For more information, visit our DBE Certification page.
  • The business must be owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s)
  • The business must be considered to be a small business as defined by SBA standards. It must not have annual gross receipts over $22,410,000 in the previous three fiscal years.
  • Must be considered to be an independent business
  • The disadvantaged owner must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the firm
  • The disadvantaged owner must have an overall understanding of, and managerial and technical competence and experience directly related to, the type of business in which the firm is engaged
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) determines social and economic disadvantage determinations. For social disadvantaged determinations see regulation 13 CFR 124.103(c). For economically disadvantaged determinations see regulation 13 CFR 124.104 .
The time it takes to get your DBE is dependent on the agency. Generally, it can take up to 90 days to receive your certification.

Minority Owned Business Certifications Questions

The MBE certification defines your business as being owned, operated and controlled by a minority group. For more information, visit our MBE Certification Page.
A business that is at least 51% owned, controlled and managed by a member of a minority group. Click here to find out if you qualify.

Generally, most certifications require that the individual must be at least 25% Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic or Native American. Click here to find out if you qualify.

The time it takes to get your MBE is dependent on the agency. Generally, it can take up to 90 days to receive your certification.

SBA 8(a) Business Development Certification Questions

The 8(a) Business Development Program is administered by the US Small Business Administration (SBA). It was created to assist small businesses that are owned by individuals who are considered socially and economically disadvantaged access to government contracting opportunities.
  • Be a small business
  • Not have previously participated in the 8(a) program
  • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are socially and economically disadvantaged
  • Have a personal net worth of $850K or less, adjusted gross income of $350K or less and $6 million or less in assets
  • Prove your social disadvantaged status to the SBA. This would include a history of bias or discrimination by an individual that was substantial and occured within American society. It must have also negatively impacted your entry or advancement in the business world. 
  • Demonstrate good character and potential to perform on contracts

Women Owned Business Certifications Questions

The WBE certification defines your business as being owned, operated and controlled by at least 51% women owners. A WBE can be used for corporate contracts as well as state and local contracts. For more information, visit our WBE Certification Page.

The Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) is a certification coordinated by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The designation allows for women owned small businesses to compete for contract set aside for WOSB certified companies.
The time it takes to get your WBE is dependent on the agency. Generally, it can take up to 90 days to receive your certification.

BizCentral USA Questions

BizCentral USA was founded in 2004 serving the small business community with business certifications; business development; marketing; and all critical functions of running a small business such as accounting, staffing, operations and logistics.

No. Each agency makes the decision to grant a business certification.

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