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.

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