Why apply for state certification?
Government agencies and some private companies have goals for inclusion of minority and women owned businesses. Becoming certified allows these entities to identify your firm as a certified business and keep track of how they’re doing toward their purchasing goals.
Becoming certified also makes you eligible to apply for the Linked Deposit Program which can decrease interest rates on small business loans up to 2%.
How do I know if I qualify for certification?
The questions in the online application and the documents we ask for are to verify the following requirements in state law and rule. Please call us if you have any questions about these qualifications.
The business must be:
- For profit.
- Licensed to do business in Washington State.
- Able to perform the core services necessary to fulfill a contract in the business’s eligible owner(s) area of specialty or expertise.
- A small business based on U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards, which is measured in two ways:
An overall business size standard of $23.98 million in gross receipts over a three-year average.
Size standards according to your businesses’ North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. OMWBE will assign your business NAICS codes according to the goods and services you indicate your business will provide. Each NAICS code has a size standard listed in the SBA’s size standard tables.
The eligible owner(s) must:
- Be a minority or woman. “Minority” is defined as African American, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Hispanic American, Native American or Alaska Native. Other individuals may be found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis; please call our office for more information.
- Own at least 51% of the business and show contribution of capital and expertise.
- Control the managerial and day-to-day operations and possess the power to direct the management and policies of the business.
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident.
How long will the application process take?
It takes about 45 to 60 days to process your state certification application, depending on the complexity and completeness of your application. Here’s what you can expect:
- Within a week of receiving your online application, we will email you to let you know we have assigned your application to a certification analyst.
- An analyst will review your application and documents, and call you in about two weeks with questions and any needed additional information.
- After your analyst receives this additional information, it takes about 2 to 4 weeks to analyze your file.
- Your application then goes through final review, which takes about 1 to 2 weeks.
- We will email you a letter once we have made a final decision on your certification.
- If this is your first time logging in, click “Forgot Password” to receive an email with instructions to updated your password. Your username is the email at which you received this notification.
- Be responsive to additional information requests. Check your email for correspondence.
- Be specific when writing your proposed business description. Procurement officials and prime contractors search our online directory for key words related to the goods and services they want to purchase. You can look at OMWBE’s online directory for examples.
- We recommend you keep a copy of your application packet and supporting documentation for your records.
- If in doubt, call us. The most common delays occur because of an incomplete application or response to an additional information request. We are here to help you!