Getting a minority-owned business certificate can tremendously help a business grow for a number of reasons. Depending upon the certification achieved, the business will generally be promoted by the certifying board through a directory. So members of the community and other certified minority business owners will have the ability to find the business, which helps with exposure. Many businesses which earn these certifications also prefer to work with other businesses which carry the same certification, meaning business-to-business exposure can grow overnight.
Additionally, some states and municipalities have requirements that 10%, 15%, or even 20% of all contracts be awarded to minority-owned businesses. So there is a clear competitive advantage there for any business in an industry which works with government contracts.
With that in mind, it is also important to understand what qualifies a business as minority-owned. Generally, minority groups are Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, or Native American. There are also minority-owned business certifications for woman-owned businesses, veteran-owned businesses, LGBT owned businesses, and businesses owned by a person with a disability. So if an owner fits into any of these categories and is at least a 51% business owner, then the business should qualify as minority-owned.
Unfortunately, many business owners do not know how to get a business certified as minority-owned. Part of this confusion comes from the sheer number of organizations which certify businesses, and some of it comes from the, at times, complicated processes put in place to ensure the minority-owned status.
If you are considering applying for minority-owned business status, your first step should be to research deeply what resources will be made available to you from the certifying agency. You need to ensure the agency is recognized and legitimate, and make sure it is the most appropriate for your industry. This is particularly important if you work with government contracts. Some government entities require specific filings to be granted minority-owned status, with or without third-party certification. Others will accept specific third-party certification, which can cut down on the paperwork to apply to the municipality as a minority-owned business.
No matter the industry or reason for application, the benefits of minority-owned business status are huge. It adds credibility, increases potential business-to-business partners, and can help in landing government contracts. So if your business qualifies, there is really no reason not to be certified.