Minority & Women Business Certification FAQs

What is the cost for certification?

There is no cost to apply for certification.
 

How long will the certification process take?

All applications are reviewed by staff and if any information is missing, you will be contacted and asked to provide the needed documentation.  Once all relevant information is gathered, the file is assigned to a Business Relations Specialist who will contact you to set up a site visit. This process typically takes a few weeks, depending how long it takes to assemble a complete application.

Once the site visit occurs the Indiana Administrative Rules provide,
 
25 IAC 5-3-7 Review by the department of applications for certification as an MBE or WBE

(8) The department will make a determination on applications for certification within ninety (90) of the completion of its on-site investigation or, in the case of an out-of-state enterprise, within ninety (90) days of the receipt of its home state investigation report. The department may extend this time period once, for no more than an additional sixty (60) days, upon written notice to the enterprise, explaining fully and specifically the reasons for the extension. Failure to make a determination by the applicable deadline under this paragraph may be deemed, by the applicant, a constructive denial of the application, and the basis on which the enterprise may petition for review under 25 IAC 5-4-2.

Therefore if no response is received by you within ninety (90) days of the site visit, you may appeal the constructive denial if you so choose. 
  

Is there a way to expedite my application?  I am bidding a job next week.

No.  Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. There is not an alternative means to expedite the process but responding to any questions or requests for additional documents will ensure your application moves as quickly as possible.
 
 
What is the definition of Minority Individual?

Per the Indiana Administrative Codes,
25 IAC 5-2-1 Definitions (13) “Minority business enterprise” or “MBE” means an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or joint venture of any kind that is owned and controlled by one (1) or more persons who are:

(A) United States citizens; and
(B) members of a minority group.

(14) “Minority group” means the following:

(A) Blacks.
(B) American Indians.
(C) Hispanics.
(D) Asian Americans.
(E) Other similar minority groups as defined by 13 CFR 124.103.
 

What is the definition of Minority-Owned Business?

Per 25 Indiana Administrative Code 5-3-4,  Minority-owned business means a business that is at least 51% owned by one or more minority individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, or in the case of a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity, at least 51% of the equity ownership interest in the corporation, partnership, or limited liability company or other entity is owned by one or more minority individuals who are U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens, and both the management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more minority individuals.
 

What is the definition of a Women-Owned Business?

The Indiana Administrative Code provides a definition:

25 IAC 5-2-1 Definitions
(23) “Women’s business enterprise” or “WBE” means an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or joint venture of any kind that is owned and controlled by one (1) or more persons who are:

(A) United States citizens; and
(B) whose gender is female.
 

What are the steps to become certified?

Carefully review the Administrative Rules that provide the requirements for certification, 25 IAC 5, which may be found at http://www.in.gov/legislative/iac/T00250/A00050.PDF  Be certain to provide all documentation to the Division.  If you have questions, please contact the Division at (317) 232-3061.
 

Do I need a hire an attorney to complete the application for my company?

No. An attorney is not needed to complete the certification process.  If additional assistance is needed filling out the application or understanding the documents required to be submitted with your application, please contact the Division at (317) 232-3061.  In addition, the agency conducts monthly certification workshop sessions and webinars in which a staff certification expert can answer any questions you may have regarding the certification process or application.   A full tutorial of the certification process is given including a line by line overview of the application. All of the tutorials are free of charge.  The required administrative rules are complex and if you are not certain how to interpret or respond to them you may wish to consult with legal counsel, although you are not required to do so.
 

What are the most common oversights of applicants?
 
Often applicants fail to carefully review the application and the 25 IAC which results in a failure to provide copies of all relevant and required information or applicants to respond to requests by the Division to provide supplemental information or records.

Documentation to show the source of the initial capital used to start a business is also an area in which oversights are common. 
 

How long am I certified?

Certification remains in effect for three (3) years unless factors are identified that would warrant revocation. Submission of an Affidavit of Continued Eligibility is required annually for all certified entities.  This document establishes there have been no changes in the company’s corporate structure that would impact the certification eligibility.  Following the initial three (3) year certification of an entity, they may re-apply for certification every three (3) years.
 

Once my business is certified, how will a prime contractor find my business?

All certified enterprises are listed on the Minority and Women Owned Enterprises page of IDOA.
http://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/2743.htm

Further you are welcome to market your enterprise to prime contractors.  There are typically Pre-Proposal conferences when a Request for Proposal (RFP) is released and you are welcome to attend those conferences to introduce yourself to any prime contractors who attend.  To learn what RFPs are active visit: http://www.in.gov/idoa/2465.htm
 

Does certification guarantee I will receive a state contract?

No. Certification places an entity in a position to be utilized by a prime contractor as a qualifying subcontractor which helps the prime successfully compete for the award of a state contract. Certified entities should actively seek contract opportunities with cities, towns, counties, state universities and private enterprises, always noting the fact that they are certified by the State. Please note too, you may bid as a prime contractor.  Certification does not mean you are only allowed to participate in a state contract as a subcontractor. 
 

What is DBE certification?

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program provides a vehicle for increasing the utilization of disadvantaged businesses on federally funded procurement opportunities. DOT DBE regulations require state and local transportation agencies that receive DOT financial assistance, to establish goals for the participation of DBEs. Each DOT-assisted State and local transportation agency is required to establish annual DBE goals, and review the scopes of anticipated large prime contracts throughout the year and establish contract-specific DBE contracting goals. The rules, requirements and limitations for a DBE, MBE and WBE are different. Please note, certification by one group does not assure certification by another.
 

What else can I do to promote my business?
 
Certified business entities should actively seek contract opportunities with cities, towns, counties, state universities and private enterprises. Additionally certified entities are encouraged to participate in vendor fairs and other opportunities to promote their business and actively network to grow their businesses.