Are you looking for a competitive edge for your business? Interested in government contracting opportunities? Certification may be the answer.

Think of certification as a tool in your business toolbox. As a certified firm, certification may help your business acquire new opportunities and business either in the public or private sector. Whether your business is product based or service based, certification can help open doors for opportunities and connections that otherwise may not be accessible.

There are various types of certification programs. Sometimes they may be referred to as diversity certifications. Whether a business is woman owned, minority owned, veteran owned, etc., there are certifications that are specific based on gender, ethnicity, disability status and more. There are also other certifications that are government specific whether a company is looking to do business on the local, state or federal level.

The Federal government is the largest procurer and buyer of goods and services in the United States. If your business is looking to do business with the federal government, then certifications like the 8(a) program, WOSB/EDWOSB, SDVOSB and VOSB certification programs could provide the greatest benefit. Companies that have these certifications may benefit when federal government agencies are seeking vendors and suppliers to do business with, especially when there are set asides. To help provide a level playing field for small businesses, the government limits competition for certain contracts to small businesses. Those contracts are called “small business set-asides,” and they help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts.

Many businesses provide goods and services that would benefit local and state governments.    There are state and local specific certifications that may be beneficial.  It depends on where your business is located and/or what cities or states you are looking to do business with. Each locale is different.

Business certifications such as the WBENC and the NMSDC can help companies that are targeting commercial clients. The main benefit of these certification programs is that they provide nationwide coverage. If your company is targeting commercial clients throughout the United States, then these third party certifications would provide the greatest benefit to your company.

Types of Certifications


Federal Government Certification

8(a) Business Development Program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) for small businesses

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(Disadvantaged Business Enterprise)

Certification for Minority or Women-owned Businesses

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(Minority Business Enterprise)

Certification for Minority Owned Businesses

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(Small Business Enterprise)

Certification for Eligible Small Businesses

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Veteran Owned Certifications

There are two primary veteran certifications, VOSB and SDVOSB. The business must be majority owned by a veteran or service disabled veteran as one of the qualifying requirements.

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(Women Business Enterprise)

Certification for Women-owned Businesses

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(Woman Owned Small Business)

Federal Government Certification for Majority Owned Women-owned Businesses

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Other Certifications

There are other certifications such as DOBE (Disability Owned Business Enterprise), HUBZone and LGBTQ+. Each of these certifications are different and have different eligibility requirements as all other certifications referenced. For further information, please schedule a complimentary consultation.

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Common Questions About Certification

Many business owners are unaware of certifications and the potential benefits that a business can receive through certification. As a business owner, understanding the benefits of business certification may be the “secret sauce” to increasing sales and revenue for your company.

One of the key benefits is providing an edge to your business when seeking contracts. Many businesses and municipalities have a specific number of contracts, either in dollars or percentages they need to award to certified firms. Obtaining certification is the only way to gain access to these contracts that are exclusively available and set aside to certified firms and can also limit competition. There are intangible benefits from resources and mentorship programs, to workshops, seminars and national conferences.

Certifications also serve as a valuable marketing tool as many governments and corporations have databases that include all firms which larger companies utilize to find certified firms to do business with.

There are various types of certification programs. Whether a business is woman owned, minority owned or veteran owned, there are certifications that are specific based on gender, ethnicity or as a veteran. There are also other certifications that are government specific whether a company is looking to do business on the local, state or federal level.

Businesses that are minority, women, veteran or service disabled veteran (51% or more) owned should consider getting certified if certification will benefit their business. Depending on who your end clients are, that may be you. If you market products or services to any government agency, a certification may open doors to contracts or sales that are not typically available to non-certified firms. If your corporate clients have diversity spend goals, or serve as prime vendors to government agencies, again certification can be beneficial. Certification should be part of an overall sales and marketing strategy.

Every certification is different and eligibility requirements differ depending on the certification. For further information or to determine if your business is eligible for certification, please schedule a complimentary consultation HERE to discuss further.

Fees are determined by each local certifying office.

The processing time is generally 90 days from the date an application is deemed complete by the local certifying office.

The following is a brief summary of certification process:

  • A business entity submits an application, along with the necessary supporting documentation, notarized sworn affidavit and non-refundable processing fee.
  • Each local certifying office has a certification staff and a certification committee, who generally meet once a month.
  • Once the certification staff review the application and determine no other documents are required the application is reviewed by the certification committee.
  • After the certification committee reviews the application, an on-site visit is conducted at a pre-determined time with the minority business owner(s).
  • Following the site visit, at a subsequent meeting of the certification committee, a final decision is made regarding the firm’s eligibility; generally speaking, if approved, applicants are notified by e-mail and if denied, a formal letter is sent.

The certification process can be overwhelming. Our team will meet with you and discuss your growth plan. Who are the companies you are looking to do business with? Do you have a capability statement? We will assist with the documentation requirements and the certification package submission.

What Certifications Are You Interested In?