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State Certification

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 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:

The eligible owner(s) must:

  • Be a minority or woman. Minority is defined as African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, or Native American. Other individuals may be found to be socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis; please click here or 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.
  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. An analyst will review your application and documents, and call you in about two weeks with questions and any needed additional information.
  3. After your analyst receives this additional information, it takes about 2 to 4 weeks to analyze your file.
  4. Your application then goes through final review, which takes about 1 to 2 weeks.
  5. We will email you a letter once we have made a final decision on your certification.

Application tips

  1. Be responsive to additional information requests. Check your email for correspondence.
  2. 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.
  3. If in doubt, call us (360) 664-9750.  You may also send an email to technicalassistance@omwbe.wa.gov  The most common delays occur because of an incomplete application or response to an additional information request. We are here to help you!

Start your State Certification