Contact OMWBE:          

You are here

Home » Certification

Certification

What is Certification?

The Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises (OMWBE) certifies small businesses owned and controlled by minority, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged persons. OMWBE certifies business in order to increase contracting opportunities for certified businesses with state and local governments.

What Types of Certification Are Available?

OMWBE offers two general types of certification, Federal Certification and State Certification.

Federal Certification

Federal Certification is a program of the US Department of Transportation. The purpose of these certifications to increase the participation of certified business on projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors. Projects typically include heavy construction, such as building and designing roads, bridges, railroads, ports, and airports. For more information on Federal Certification, click here.

State Certification

State Certification is a program of the State of Washington. The purpose is to enhance business opportunities for certified businesses participating in state-funded projects or working with state agencies, local governments, school districts, and public universities. Projects include any work or product state agencies, or other entities, wish to buy from private companies. This includes a wide variety of different types of businesses, such as construction, consulting, training, translation services, supplies and equipment, and many other industries and services. 

Becoming state certified also makes you eligible to apply for the Linked Deposit Program which can decrease interest rates on small business loans up to 2%. For more information on State Certification, click here.

What Type of Certification Should You Apply For?

If your business works in heavy construction, such as building and designing roads, bridges, railroads, ports, and airports or works to support one of those industries, Federal Certification provides opportunities on projects funded by the US Department of Transportation and other federal sectors. Likewise if your business is an airport concession, sells to an airport concession, or sells to the public at airports, Federal Certification provides special opportunities. If your business does not anticipate working on federally funded construction projects and does not do any business related to the airport, Federal Certification may not provide as many opportunities. For more information on Federal Certification, click here.

State Certification is applicable to all companies who anticipate working with state agencies, local governments, school districts, and public universities. Some large private companies that have goals for inclusion of minority and women owned businesses also use State Certification and provide work opportunities to certified business. State Certification also allows your business access to the linked deposit program, which can decrease interest rates on small business loans up to 2%. Any business that anticipates working with state and local government entities, has business loans, or works with companies with supplier diversity goals may benefit from State Certification. For more information on State Certification, click here.

If you are interested in both Federal and State Certification, you can apply to both at the same time by starting a federal application, and answering “yes” to the first application question, which asks if you would also like to apply for state certification.

What Businesses Can Be Certified?

To qualify for certification, the primary owner(s) must own at least 51% of the company and control the business. The owner must be both socially and economically disadvantaged. In general this means that the owner bust be a woman or a minority and have a personal net worth under $1.32 million. Finally, the business must be small, and not have gross receipts of more than $26.29 million. The chart below provides basic information on eligibility for each certification type. For more detailed information on certification eligibility click here

 

Qualifications by Certification Program

 

Small Business Enterprise

State Certification

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

 

(SBE)

(MBE / MWBE / WBE / SEDBE)

(DBE / ACDBE)

The Business

 

 

 

is registered with the Washington Secretary of State

ü

ü

 

is a Washington business

ü

 

 

has 3-year average gross annual receipts of

≤$26.29 Million

≤$26.29 Million

≤$26.29 Million or ≤$56.42 Million for ACDBEs

is 'for profit'

ü

ü

ü

is certified in home state, if the business is not from Washington

 

 

ü

The Business Owner

 

 

is a woman, minority, or can show social disadvantage

 

ü

ü

is a U.S. citizen

ü

 

ü

owns and controls ≥ 51% of company

ü

ü

ü

controls and manages day-to-day operations

ü

ü

ü

made capital contribution

ü

ü

ü

has proper professional license(s)

ü

ü

ü

has personal net worth

≤$1.32 Million

≤$1.32 Million

≤$1.32 Million

Disclaimer: In order to support our partners' diversity initiatives, OMWBE shares certain information—including your business Tax Identification Number (TIN)—with various Washington state agencies, cities, counties, institutions of higher education, and transit organizations. This information is kept secure via file transfer protocol, and each partner organization maintains a data sharing agreement with OMWBE to protect confidential information.

How Do I Apply for Certification?

The link below will take you to our secure certification portal. There you can create an account for your business and submit an application. You can also watch short video below which explains how to apply for certification.

Start / Renew Your Certification