Essentials for Starting a Minority or Women Owned Business

Do you have an idea for a business but don't know how to make it a reality?

Don't let it overwhelm you. Take a deep breath, relax and focus. There are many available sources and resources online and in your community to help you get started. 

One such resource is the Small Business Administration and the local office in your area. They often provide classes, consultations, reading materials, and sometimes even have some funding to help you get started or grow your business to the next level once you're a going concern.

What is the MWBE certificate?

MWBE stands for Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises. In some states, the two may actually be separate, and you may see MBE or WBE instead. In either case, it’s a legal certification issued by the state that provides developmental benefits to these businesses. At least 38 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, have state-level MWBE development programs. The MWBE certificate can help your business get government contracts that may not have been accessible before.

Many states and cities also have minority-owned business programs, which are often referred to as Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) programs. Maryland, for instance, has a legally mandated program that requires 25 percent of all government contracts to be filled by minority-owned businesses.

Type in MWBE certification and your state or city name and you will find the application.

8(a) Business Development Program

The federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

The federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.

The System for Award Management (SAM)

This an official website of the U.S. government. There is no cost to use SAM. You can use this site for FREE to register to do business with the U.S. government. Contractors interested in contracting with the government must have an active, valid, and complete SAM Registration. This Registration is good for only one year, at which time, contractors must verify their information is accurate and renew their Registration.

You might find grants you're eligible for under different categories on the business side of the GrantWatch website. Look under the category your business falls under and see what's available. If you don't find something now, don't give up hope. New grants are listed every week as they become available. 

Your Business Opportunity: 

Choose something you're passionate about that suits your personality and is in line with your skill set or what you're able to learn and become proficient at. 

If you're looking to start an online business, Libby Hikind, Founder and CEO of GrantWatch and MWBEzone shares her thoughts on how to run a successful online business in her article What Are the Key Elements of Successful Online Businesses and Startups? 

Always remember: Every client or customer contributes to your success, just as you and the products or services you provide contribute to theirs. 

Find grants for your minority-owned or women-owned business on Our customer support personnel are available to help you, 561-249-4129. 


About the Author: The author is a staff writer for MWBEzone and all GrantWatch affiliates.

Would You Use The Coffee Cup Trick in Your Workforce Recruitment Interviews?

Job interviews can be tricky for both the employer and the employee. Some interviewers have a way of assessing their interviewees' responses and behavior in a way that they feel confident reflects whether a job candidate will be a good fit for their company. The Manchester Evening News published an article by Matthew Cooper, with what he thinks is the perfect trap for potential employees. He interviews employer Trent Innes about what he calls the 'coffee cup trick.' 

If you're an employer, GrantWatch and MWBEzone have current grant listings for business owners under a number of categories. One such category is workforce grants which can cover some of the job skills training or retraining costs for new hires in in-demand fields where the need for skilled workers is greater than the current supply.  

How do you choose your employees? Do you have any telltale signs to know if someone will be a good fit for your organization?  

Interviewer and Interviewee Have Coffee While They Chat

According to Workopolis, the best interviews include at least a few questions to get to know the following:

  • Attitude and motivation: how does the candidate accept direction, feedback, and works under pressure?
  • Loyalty and work ethic: how committed are they to the job and their career?
  • Honesty: while embellishment may be expected, lies are not acceptable. 
  • Preferred managerial style: do they like to be hand-held or do they thrive when working autonomously? 

Behavioral interview questions are designed to uncover insights beyond just technical skills. They list 3 tricks to find out if an applicant is the right fit and 7 telling questions that reveal a candidate's true potential

The Coffee Cup Trick

A job interview is essentially a 30-minute mind game between employer and potential employee.

Can one party convince the other that they are the perfect person for the company and avoid acting like themselves by any means necessary?

And can the employer set traps for the other party to navigate or fall through that will let them know if this interviewee is a great future recruit?

This employer thinks he has the perfect trap – the 'coffee cup trick'. Metro reports that Trent Innes of software firm Zero Australia uses the trick in every single interview.

Whenever someone comes in for an interview, Trent will take them on a walk deliberately past the kitchen and make sure they come away with a hot drink. After the interview is all done, Trent watches to see if the person offers or attempts to take the empty coffee/tea cup back to the kitchen.

It's an easy way to find out how selfless someone is. If they just leave their cup at the table and leave, they won’t get the job.

Speaking on a podcast, Trent Innes said: ‘If you do come in and have an interview, as soon as you come in and you do meet me, I will always take you for a walk down to one of our kitchens and somehow you always end up walking away with a drink.

Which Coffee would you choose?

‘Then we take that back, have our interview, and one of the things I’m always looking for at the end of the interview is, does the person doing the interview want to take that empty cup back to the kitchen?

‘You can develop skills, you can gain knowledge and experience but it really does come down to attitude, and the attitude that we talk a lot about is the concept of “wash your own coffee cup”.

So do the washing up. 

Nonprofit managers and small business owners can take advantage of workforce grants when they hire eligible candidates. 

Grants to USA Nonprofits for Career Development Projects that Benefit Youth and Veterans with Disabilities. The deadline to submit proposals is July, 15th, but a new round of funding will begin in January 2020. 

Details: Grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 to USA nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit youth with disabilities. Projects should help youth develop skills needed for successful employment, especially for work in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts and design, and mathematics. The Foundation will also consider projects that create tools to break down barriers to employment and increase job opportunities for young people with disabilities entering the workforce, including returning veterans with disabilities. 

Find workforce grants on GrantWatch and MWBEzone. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to GrantWatch or check into GrantNews for weekly updates on grant and funding related news, new grant listings, and recent grant awards. 

About the Author: Staff writer