By Natalie Rodgers
Being able to call yourself an official Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE) is more than just its title. In fact, when you become certified as an MBE, there are a surplus of benefits that can help you to grow your business in ways that weren’t possible before certification. So, whether you’ve been certified for years or you’re wondering if the application process is worth your time, here are four ways that certification can benefit you.
It can be difficult to acquire the necessary funding for any business, but when you become achieve certification, you gain access to lucrative and competitive financial opportunities. Funding programs vary according to what agency certifies your business, but nearly every agency has special opportunities that aren’t available to the public. For example, the Small Business Administration offers special set-aside contracts for those in their SBA contracting-assistance programs and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) offers grants, exclusively to companies that are certified under their agency. While there is funding available for non-certified businesses, becoming certified allows you to utilize as many resources as possible.
Having a support system is one of the most important aspects of any kind of endeavor from business aspirations to personal projects. This is especially true when it comes to small business owners and entrepreneurs. When you earn your certification, you gain access to a network of other minority-owned businesses under your agency that can blossom into mentorships, business partnerships, financial partnerships and even general support systems that can help you navigate the new world of business ownership. NMSDC, for example, holds various networking events, job fairs and conferences throughout the year that give NMSDC-certified businesses the space and resources to discuss all aspects of their operations. Since the events of COVID-19, there has been the addition of more virtual networking events that allow small businesses to better connect with one another despite their distance. While networking is possible despite certification, becoming certified is one of the easiest ways to gain access to the people you need to make your business succeed
Not only does certification connect you with other small businesses, but also to large-scale corporations. Especially today, large corporations are more interested than ever in increasing their supplier diversity initiatives and partnerships. In order to do this, corporations depend on small businesses to connect them to other small businesses that can help them hit their supplier diversity program goals. By becoming a certified MBE, your business greatly increases its chances of becoming a partner with big name banks, retail stores, shipping services, digital providers and corporations of all kinds. Not only can you increase your revenue stream, but you can also expose your company’s brand to a larger audience and funding pool.
Becoming certified also gives you access to resources and trainings that you can utilize to expand your knowledge and skillset in any area of business. While the types of resources and trainings differ per certifier, some of the most common programs available to MBEs are specialized financing, training workshops, educational programs, career fairs, professional business advice, mentorship, technical assistance and management training. These events are often exclusive to MBEs in your certification and are one of the best hotspots to obtain all of the tools you need for every stage of your company.
Taking the next step into certification can feel like taking a step into the unknown, but in the long run, the rewards that come from certification are some of the greatest gifts you can give towards your company’s success.
Sources: Small Business Administration, Zen Business