top of page


Minority Business Enterprise

A Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification is a state program designed for businesses 51% owned and operated by American citizens considered an “ethnic minority.”


A Minority-Owned Business Certification will give you access to enormous State Government budgets and nationally recognized corporations who are required to purchase from minority-owned businesses.


The MBE Certification offers more accessible qualification criteria than federal certifications, making it ideal for businesses that do not yet meet the requirements for Federal Certifications.

SBA Contracting Certifications 


Business Development programs

8(a) Business Development program

The 8(a) Business Development program helps socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses grow by limiting competition for certain contracts to participating businesses, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace. 

Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) program can:

  • Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program

  • Get a Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting

  • Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA's Mentor-Protégé Program

  • Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development

  • Compete for contract awards under multiple socio-economic programs, as they apply

Before you can participate in the 8(a) Business Development program, you must meet certain criteria and be certified.


HUB Zone program

The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses in historically underutilized business zones. The program aims to award at least three percent of federal contract dollars each year to HUBZone-certified companies.  


SBA Mentor-Protégé Program 

The SBA Mentor-Protégé Program enables eligible small businesses (protégés) to get valuable business development help and win government contracts through partnerships with more experienced companies (mentors).  


Additional government contracting programs

SBA offers several additional government contracting certifications and programs.


SBA’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights

All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. You may contact SBA’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights for additional information.

NC DOT Certification Programs

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) is a legislatively mandated USDOT program that applies to federal-aid highway dollars expended on federally assisted contracts issued by USDOT recipients such as state transportation agencies.

Congress established the DBE program in 1982 to:

  • Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of DOT-assisted contracts

  • Help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in DOT-assisted contracts

  • Assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside of the DBE program.

Small Business Enterprise

Businesses with incomes of less than $1.5 million, minus materials, are eligible to certify as an SBE. 

Small Professional Services Firm

A small business, as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA), is eligible to certify as a SPSF.  An SPSF certification must be obtained separately, even if your company is certified as a DBE, MBE, or WBE.

Historically Underutilized Businesses

HUB certifications are for businesses that are 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by one of the following:

  • Minorities (black, Hispanic, Asian American and Native American)

  • Women

  • Disabled persons

  • Socially or economically disadvantaged persons

Minority Business Enterprise / Women Business Enterprise

Minority business enterprises are defined as a business that is 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a minority (black, Hispanic, Asian American or Native American).


Women business enterprises are 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a women.


Businesses must comply with Title 23 USC 140, FHWA 1273 and Executive Order 11246 in order to be eligible for MBE/WBE certification.

NCSBE Certification


The NCSBE Program was developed to provide access to contract opportunities that allow small businesses to compete against others that are comparably positioned in their industries and markets; as well as participate in department contracts if they meet the eligibility standards. 

NCSBE Program Eligibility: Any small business meeting the Program standards outlined below is eligible to participate in the NCSBE Program. The standards are as follows:

  • The business must be headquartered in North Carolina.

  • The business’ annual net income does not exceed $1,500,000, after cost of Goods Sold is deducted.

  • The business must have100 or fewer employees.

  • The business must be organized for profit.

SWUC Certification (HUB Historically Underutilized Business)


The Statewide Uniform Certification Program (SWUC) was developed for the threefold purpose of streamlining the certification of historically underutilized businesses, provide a set of uniform standards and procedures through which firms could be certified, and provide for a single database that houses information for all firms certified to participate in Statewide Uniform Certification and any local minority business program.

SWUC Eligibility: Any business meeting the program standards outlined below is eligible to participate in the SWUC program. The standards are as follows:

  • At least fifty-one percent (51%) of the business is owned by one or more persons who are members of at least one of the following groups: Black, Hispanic, Asian American, American Indian, Female, Disabled, or Disadvantaged. 

  • The management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more owners of the business who are members of at least one of the groups set forth in the groups above.

bottom of page