How to get MBE certified

Updated March 23, 2017

A business that is primarily owned and operated by one or more minorities is eligible for MBE certification. MBE is the acronym for Minority Business Enterprise and is a certification that validates that a business is owned primarily by minority members. Having your business certified as an MBE will give you access to many benefits structured to help your business thrive. Some benefits include technical support, financial support, mentoring programs and access to new markets.

Review qualification requirements. In order for your business to qualify for MBE certification 51 per cent of the owners and operators of your business must be a racial minority. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "racial and ethnic minority populations are defined as American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander." You must also demonstrate that the controlling minority is fully capable of operating the business on a daily basis.

Ensure that either you or your business partners are present at your company on a daily basis. In order to be MBE certified, the minority owner or owners must be present in a managerial or operational capacity every day. If this is not done you will not receive certification.

Complete and submit a pre-qualification form. This form is used to prove that your business meets the qualification criteria required to establish MBE certification. You can obtain this form by contacting your local Chamber of Commerce or by directly contacting the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency at (888) 324-1551. There is a processing fee that must be submitted with your form and the fee will range from £162 to £325 depending your company's gross annual sales.

Fill out the application that you will receive from the relevant organisation once they have received and reviewed your pre-qualification form. Ensure that you answer all of the questions accurately and honestly. Some of the questions that are included on the application are: the year your business was founded, the legal structure of your business and a list of your company officers.

Prepare you business for a site inspection. Members or representatives from Minority Business Development Agency will visit your place of business to verify that your company is indeed qualified to receive MBE certification. The site visit will include inspection of the physical infrastructure of your business as well as operational, personnel and accounting practices. If both your site visit and application are approved, you will receive your MBE certification and full access to the national MBE network.


If it is found that the business is not minority owned and operated, you will be subject to civil and criminal penalties for making fraudulent claims to the government.

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An avid technology enthusiast, Steve Gregory has been writing professionally since 2002. With more than 10 years of experience as a network administrator, Gregory holds an Information Management certificate from the University of Maryland and is pursuing MCSE certification. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, including Chron and GlobalPost.