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About Certifications

Business owners get certifications for their businesses to verify information about the business. Certifications can be important to show who owns the business, where products come from, or how the business functions.

About OMWBE Certifications

To verify that a business is owned and controlled by a person or persons who are minorities, women, or socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, a business can get OMWBE state or federal certification. To learn more about OMWBE certifications, click here.


Should I apply to certify my business with OMWBE?

There are three primary reasons business owners get their businesses certified.

  1. To be eligible to participate as a DBE, ACDBE or SBE on federally funded projects. This helps increase visibility and prime contractors can count certified businesses towards their goals on projects.
  2. For marketing and increased visibility to city, county and state government, colleges and private-sector companies that have supplier diversity goals. For example, the Governor’s Office has set aspirational goals and state agencies look for state certifications.
  3. To qualify for other small business assistance programs such as the Linked Deposit Program.

There are other reasons too. Business owners may get their businesses certified to show pride in their community or for local community recognition.

What is the difference between certification and self-identification?

OMWBE certification means that a business has been verified by a state agency as owned and controlled by minority, women and socially and economically disadvantaged persons. OMWBE is the sole agency that does state and federal certifications in Washington State.

Self-identification is when a business registers as a vendor in an online system and the owner checks a box to show that they are minority or woman owned. This may or may not be verified.

What about other certifications?

There are other organizations that certify businesses, often focused on the private sector and doing business with large companies. Visit our partner resources page to find out more.