What is the definition of a minority-owned business?
- A minority-owned business is a proprietorship, partnership, corporation or joint-venture that is 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by United States citizens who are members of the following racial groups: African American, Asian American, Hispanic American and Native American.
What is 8a Certification?
- The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, named for a section of the Small Business Act, is a program created to help small disadvantaged businesses (SBD) compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market. The applicant firm must be a small business, unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and citizens of the United States and must demonstrate potential for success. Eligible businesses must be in existence for 2 years and have a net worth of less than $250,000, excluding personal home.
How do I determine which certification to obtain?
- Determining the correct certification depends on the government entities and private corporations that you want to do business with. Before starting any certification process, check with the organization, evaluate whether this may be a good future client, then complete and turn in the certification information in a prompt manner so that the opportunities that it creates can be realized as soon as possible.
Which documents will I need to file for certification?
- Since a number of different organizations offer minority certification, document requirements can vary from organization to organization. Some commonly required documents are copies of business license, articles of incorporation, corporate by-laws, corporate and personal federal tax returns, stock certificates and board meeting minutes. The SBDC can review and assist with minority certification application.
How long does it take for my business to receive certification?
- The certification process for the 8(a) business development (BD) and SDB programs are set in regulation. For the SDB program, there is a 15-day screening period and a 75-day overall processing time. For the 8(a) BD program, there is a 15-day screening period and a 90-day overall processing time.
Do I need to certify as a Woman-Owned Business and how do I obtain the certification?
- You are not required to be certified as a Woman-Owned Business; however many corporations and government agencies require WBE (woman business enterprise) certification to be eligible for contracting and procurement opportunities. National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC) and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) are the certifying organizations. Many local and state agencies may also have certification programs. For more information read the article “Get Certified and Grow Your Woman-Owned Business.” For assistance in applying for certification, contact your local SBDC.
Do certain groups get preferences on government lending programs?
- No. Eligibility to qualify for an SBA-guaranteed loan is based on size standards and must be a for-profit business. However, the SBA Community Express loan program targets businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans.
I’ve heard that foreign nationals get free money to start a business. Is that true?
- No. Foreign nationals do not have access to free money. They use the same traditional and non-traditional financing sources to start their own businesses, as well as community-based financing options.
How do I get bonding?
- There are several different types of bonds. The most common is the surety bond. A surety bond is a three-party instrument between a surety, the contractor and the project owner. The agreement binds the contractor to comply with the terms and conditions of a contract. If the contractor is unable to successfully perform the contract, the surety assumes the contractor\’s responsibilities and ensures that the project is completed. For more information on bonds, click on reference.
How do I reach specific minority market segments?
- To effectively reach a specific minority segment, a company needs first to carefully research the dynamics of the market and need for the product. Demographic and lifestyle information is essential in designing a strategy to reach the specific customer group.
Should I modify my product for specific ethnic customers?
- If preliminary research indicates that you will generate a higher level of acceptance, you may need to modify your product for specific ethnic groups. In some instances products do not need to change, what needs to change is the market approach, including advertising and customer service.
How do I find demographic information on minority markets?
- The US Census Bureau has historic information gathered the previous census. Institutions such as the University of Georgia Selig Center for Economic Growth have historic and projected demographic information. Click on reference to contact the Selig Center.
How do I find government procurement opportunities?
- Government contracting opportunities exist at the local, state and federal level. Registering with the Federal Central Contractor Registration database is the first step to find federal procurement opportunities. You can find out about state contract opportunities through the Georgia Department of Administrative services. In addition, you should contact your local government to find out bid postings and registrations. It is also helpful to subscribe to entities that publish bid information or send out notices of bid opportunities via fax or email.
How do I get assistance to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP)?
- The SBDC works closely with the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). GTPAC’s mission is to assist business owners with proposal issues.