You could add a new revenue stream to grow your business. The federal, state and city governments mandate that their agencies hire minority and women owned businesses. By obtaining the certification at a local government level, state level and/or federal level you are increasing your chances of winning contracts with government.

Not sure if your product or service would be of interest to government agencies? Here is a partial list of categories published in the free Contract Reporter, published by NYS, that might surprise and inspire you:

  • Videography and photography Public relations, marketing and advertising services
  • Food (raw and prepared) Toys, games, sports equipment
  • Consulting (financial planning, training, accounting, insurance and more)
  • Furniture and office supplies
  • Printing, publishing and graphic arts
  • Textile and leather products (see specific items)

The above categories are in addition to the usual suspects such as construction, architecture and all types of engineering products and services; computer programming, hardware and software; and health care (training, counseling, rehabilitation and lab testing.)

The application and certification process is FREE

In 60-90 days you can become a certified M/WBE and have access to government contracting opportunities. If you’ve been in business for at least one year and own at least 51% of the business, you’re eligible to apply. While there are ‘enterprising’ organizations that charge an application/processing fee starting at $350, the entire certification process is free through your local Small Business Solutions Center. (Find your nearest office HERE.)

  • NYS WBE instructions and application: CLICK HERE
  • NYC WBE instructions and application: CLICK HERE
  • New Jersey instructions and application: CLICK HERE

You may take certifications with as many different states and localities as you like. As a certified WBE, you will be included in the applicable state’s Directory of Certified Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises and relevant local directories where prime bidders look to find subcontractors, suppliers, and vendors to meet Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises participation goals on government contracts.