Inc Magazine – How to Get Certified as a Minority-Owned Business

How to Become a Certified Minority-Owned Business: National Minority Supplier Development Council Certification

If your company wants to connect with private-sector buyers, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)’s certification can be a real asset. The organization has an impressive list of corporate members that includes IBM, Microsoft, and Marriott. The council helps these companies connect with the more than 17,000 minority-owned suppliers in its database. Seventeen states and 25 cities also accept NMSDC certification for programs designed to help minorities win public-sector contracts.

Who is eligible: For-profit enterprises of any size that are located in the United States and are owned, operated, and controlled by minority group members who are U.S. citizens.  For the purposes of NMSDC’s program, a minority group member is an individual who is a U.S. citizen with at least 25 percent Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, or Native American heritage. Documentation to support the claim is required. Additionally, at least 51 percent of the business or the company’s stock must be owned by such individuals, and the management and operations must also be controlled by such individuals.

How to apply: Start by contacting one of the NMSDC’s 37 regional councils. Your council will provide you with a standardized application and request documents to support your minority status claim. Unlike most minority-owned certification programs, the organization will make a mandatory visit to your company to verify the information on your application. If your certification is denied, you can appeal within 30 days. If you lose the appeal, you can reapply after a year.

Perks: In addition to being listed in the Regional Council Minority Supplier Database and NMSDC’s national database, NMSDC certified companies can participate in an advanced management training program, qualify for the Business Consortium Fund’s working capital loan program, and attend NMSDC business opportunity fairs.

Cost of Certification: About $350-$1,200, depending on region.

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