FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
VALDOSTA STATE UNIVERSITY
SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER
What is the definition of a minority-owned business?
A minority-owned business is a proprietorship, partnership, corporation or joint-venture that is 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by United States citizens who are members of the following racial groups: African American, Asian American, Hispanic American and Native American. Women-owned businesses are not minority businesses unless they fall into one of the above categories.
What is 8a Certification?
The SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program, named for a section of the Small Business Act, is a program created to help small disadvantaged businesses (SBD) compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market. The applicant firm must be a small business, unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and citizens of the United States and must demonstrate potential for success. Eligible businesses must be in existence for 2 years and have a net worth of less than $250,000, excluding personal home.
How do I determine which certification to obtain?
Determining the correct certification depends on the government entities and private corporations that you want to do business with. Before starting any certification process, check with the organization, evaluate whether this may be a good future client, then complete and turn in the certification information in a prompt manner so that the opportunities that it creates can be realized as soon as possible.
Which documents will I need to file for certification?
Since a number of different organizations offer minority certification, document requirements can vary from organization to organization. Some commonly required documents are copies of business license, articles of incorporation, corporate by-laws, corporate and personal federal tax returns, stock certificates and board meeting minutes. The SBDC can review and assist with minority certification application.
How long does it take for my business to receive certification?
The certification process for the 8(a) business development (BD) and SDB programs are set in regulation. For the SDB program, there is a 15-day screening period and a 75-day overall processing time. For the 8(a) BD program, there is a 15-day screening period and a 90-day overall processing time.
Do I need to certify as a Woman-Owned Business and how do I obtain the certification?
You are not required to be certified as a Woman-Owned Business; however many corporations and government agencies require WBE (woman business enterprise) certification to be eligible for contracting and procurement opportunities. National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC) and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) are the certifying organizations. Many local and state agencies may also have certification programs. For more information read the article "Get Certified and Grow Your Woman-Owned Business." For assistance in applying for certification, contact your local SBDC.
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