MBE, WBE, and DBE Certifications

Northwest SBDC Staff – June 28, 2023

We recently received a question regarding the necessity of pursuing certification as a Minority-, Women-, or Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. Generally, official certification is not necessary unless it’s listed as a requirement or advantage for a specific government contract you’re pursuing.

There’s not a broad certification process: you must identify the specific government agency (federal or state) through which you need to be certified in order to proceed with a particular contract or bid with that agency. A very limited number of local governments, like the City of Denver, will also sometimes require/request certification. If you want to proceed, you can start by visiting the Colorado Minority Business Office (MBO). It offers free online learning modules about certifications, bidding, and more. The MBO also has information about certification pathways for federal, state, local, and private certifications and – like the SBDC – offers no-cost consultations.

Even without a certification, a business can be considered a minority-owned business based on owner demographics alone. For the most part you don’t need to be certified by any agency to apply for grants, loans, education, etc. that are targeted to minority businesses. You would simply self-select your demographic information within the application paperwork. It’s the same for partnering with nonprofits or most local governments – unless the entity requires a specific certification, you’re already eligible and would mention that in a application, bid, or other communication. You can also add your business to the Colorado Minority-Owned Business Directory. This site is a tool for consumers looking to support a minority-owned business. 

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Hwy 133 Closure – Small Business Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Via Delta County Government – May 26, 2023

Delta and Gunnison County Emergency Management in partnership with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) encourage businesses with financial losses caused by the CO Highway 133 closure which began on May 2, 2023 to complete the Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet for Business from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

DHSEM is gathering information from businesses in Delta, Gunnison, Pitkin and Garfield Counties which have been impacted by the highway closure and may be interested in applying for low-interest economic disaster recovery loans from the Small Business Administration. Time is of the essence for this disaster loan program – State Emergency Management has 120-days from May 2nd to receive information from impacted businesses, submit forms to the Small Business Administration for review and determine if the threshold has been met for Governor Polis to request a Small Business Disaster Declaration to enable businesses to apply for low-interest loans.

The first step in this process is for businesses with economic losses from the highway closure to complete the estimated economic impact worksheet. Businesses should understand that by filling out the worksheet and submitting to DHSEM, it is NOT a guarantee for funding assistance and this is a LOAN program, not a grant. If a SBA Disaster Declaration is issued, there are additional steps required to be approved for the low-interest loan.

Note: Agriculture producers, businesses and local wineries are not eligible for SBA Economic Impact Disaster Loans and must apply through the US Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency for agricultural disaster relief support.

Important Information about the Small Business Association Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet:

Steps to Completing the Estimated Disaster Economic Injury Worksheet:

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