Certification Criteria

During the certification process it is the responsibility of the applicant to prove that his/her business meets the following criteria. The qualifications for minority status come directly from our national parent organization, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and they are standardized requirements across the country.  Both current and historical facts are considered in determining ownership qualifications and participation in the management and operations of the company.

In order to qualify for MBE status, an applicant’s business must be owned, operated and controlled by U.S. citizens, a majority (at least 51%) of whom are racial or ethnic minorities. During the certification process it is the responsibility of the applicant to prove that his/her business meets these criteria. The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) establishes these standardized requirements across the country.

  • The company shall be owned by an ethnic minority in one of the represented groups.
  • The principals must be U.S. citizens.
  • The ethnic minority shall own, operate, and manage no less than 51% of the firm.
  • The minority owners shall have complete and absolute control of the company, and be active in day-to-day management and daily business operations.

We require an applicant to demonstrate their ethnic minority status through official documentation. The most common way for applicants to demonstrate their ethnic or racial background is by producing their birth certificate or live birth record. There are times where an applicant’s racial identification may not be listed on the above mentioned documents. In those cases it is advised that you upload your birth certificate or live birth record with a birth or death certificate of a parent.

  • A birth or death certificate of a grandparent would also demonstrate your ethnicity however, it would have to be included with your birth record and your parent’s birth record.


  • African-American / Black
  • Asian-Indian American
  • Asian-Pacific American / Asian-Islander American
  • Hispanic (non-European)
  • Native American Indian

Applicants must also prove their United States citizenship. If you were born in the United States, you can prove your citizenship by providing your birth certificate and/or passport If you were born outside of the United States but have since become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you can prove your citizenship by providing either a naturalized passport or your naturalization papers.

The applicant’s firm shall be an independent business, with an independent location and not a “sales arm” of a non-minority firm. All equity investments shall be true and real, presented on the balance sheet (according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and documented and correspond with all other legal documents.

Complete control means the ethnic minority owners shall be able to act independently of the non-minority owners. The ethnic minority must demonstrate the “capabilities of managing” the firm.

If the company is a state chartered entity (i.e., corporation, limited liability company or a limited partnership), the ethnic minority person(s) must demonstrate the ability to manage and control the “chartered” entity, the other shareholders and/or the other unit holders.

The ethnic minority person(s) must have numerical control of the corporation’s Board of Directors and the limited liability company’s Board of Members. These operational and control facts must be documented in the corporate bylaws, limited liability company’s operating agreement or the partnership agreement.