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Woman Owned, SDVOSB, and Minority Owned: Are Business Designations Necessary?

Woman Owned, SDVOSB, and Minority Owned: Are Business Designations Necessary?

By mbramble, Contributor
Published: October 29, 2015

There are a variety of programs to help diverse groups of business owners procure work from government and private entities. For the record, the business registration process for women, minority, and service-disabled veterans does not differ from the standard process all businesses follow. You still need to register your business, obtain pertinent certificates, licenses, and permits in order to legally operate. Here are resources for getting your business started.

While the designations are not necessary, applying for these designations can provide a wealth of additional opportunity for your business both in the government and private sectors. Certain government contracts are set aside for businesses with these designations on the federal and state levels.

For more information on how to become eligible for set-aside federal government contracts, see SBA’S Government Contracting Certification guide.

In addition to the federal government, your state government offers a wide variety of opportunities for small businesses to compete for government contracts.  See this list of state procurement agencies and information on how to register as a contractor and bid on opportunities.

It is important to note that this process is a large time investment. Requirements are very stringent and must be met entirely at the time of the application. Start the process as soon as possible! If you think you may want to get certified in the future, it is advisable that you create a binder when your company is young and start storing all the necessary documents, such as your incorporation paperwork, for the application processes.

Understanding the Federal Marketplace

Contracting Resources for Small Businesses


Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOB) Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Program (SDVOSBC), the Service Disabled Veteran (SDV) must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs or Department of Defense. Your business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a SDV, and the SDV must hold the highest officer position in the SDVOSBC.

Click here for more information eligibility and the application process.


Woman Owned Small Business Eligibility

To be eligible, your business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens. The business must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry.

Click here for more information on eligibility and the application process.


Minority Owned Business Eligibility

Some minority groups are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged and can qualify for the 8(a) program. These groups include: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations and Community Development Corporations, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Individuals who are not members of one or more of these groups can be considered for the 8(a) program, but they must provide substantial evidence and documentation that demonstrates that they have been subjected to bias or discrimination and are economically disadvantaged.

Click here for more information on eligibility and the application process.

In addition to working with government agencies, you can register your business with non-government organizations and certification agencies. Each certification body offers different benefits for those who qualify, including business fairs, networking opportunities, training programs, financing options and more.

For example, the Minority Business Development Agency directs minority business owners to the National Minority Supplier Development Council where they can register their business as a certified minority-owned business and taking advantage of the benefits.

About the Author:

Mariama Bramble