PA Women and Minority Certification

  • The Bureau of Minority and Women Business Opportunities is now known as the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities. This agency provides the necessary information and inspiration for their customers—small, women, and minority business owners—to compete for and participate in the state contracting process.

    The Bureau now uses third-party entities to certify minority, woman, veteran, or service-disabled veteran businesses. These entities include the Unified Certification Program, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, the United States Small Business Administration 8(A) Business Development Program, and the Vetbiz VIP Verification Program.

    Becoming a Certified Minority or Women Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE)

    The new Small Business Procurement Initiative outlines some new and exciting opportunities for small businesses. Please refer to this site for additional information. Also visit the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion, and Small Business Opportunities page. These individuals verify self-certified small businesses that wish to participate as minority, woman, veteran, service disabled veteran, LGBT, and disability-owned business enterprises through the Small Diverse Businesses program. Eligible small businesses must hold certifications as diverse businesses with one of the department’s approved third-party certification entities. 

    Basic Requirements

    The following basic criteria are used by BMWBO to evaluate eligibility for certification and cannot be waived. However, meeting these criteria does not guarantee that an application will be approved. This is only intended as a general overview.

    • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by qualified minorities and/or women.
    • Qualify as a small business (no more than 100 employees).
    • Be owned by a United States citizen or citizens.
    • Be in business for at least one year, or have a two-year business plan reviewed by a Small Business Development Center.
    • Be independent of any other business entity or entities.
    • Be a for-profit business (nonprofits cannot become certified).
    • Provide and be qualified to provide the goods and services for which it is being certified.

    Additionally, the woman or minority owner must hold the highest position in the company.

    How to Apply for Certification

    Visit the third-party entities now charged with certification: Unified Certification Program, National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, United States Small Business Administration 8(A) Business Development Program, and Vetbiz VIP Verification Program.

    Useful Links