CertAssist.net

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Business certification applications can be tricky and understanding certification programs can get confusing. That's why we created CertAssist.net.  CertAssist.net is the #1 resource on the internet for information and guidance on DBE, MBE, SBE, WBE and other business certification programs available to Louisiana businesses. 

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CERTIFICATION 101

  • Q: What does the term 'DBE' mean?
  • A: The term 'DBE' is short for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. A DBE is a business that is owned, managed and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.

  • Q: Why were DBE programs created? 
  • A: DBE programs were created to ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of government-funded and private sector contracts and to create a level playing field on which all businesses can compete for contracting opportunities.   

  • Q: Does every state have a DBE certification program?
  • A: : All recipients of funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that award contracts that total over $250,000 per year are required to participate in the DOT's Unified Certification Program

  • Q: I am a woman and a minority so is my business automatically considered a DBE?
  • A: Being a member of a specific group may qualify your firm to be a DBE, but does automatically mean your business is a DBE.  Use of the term DBE typically involves a certification process and recognition by a certifying agency that you have complied with the rules for being certified as a DBE. 

  • Q: My husband and I own a business. Can I apply for certification as a woman-owned business?
  • A: Louisiana is a community property state. As a result, you and your husband would need a legally binding separate property agreement and the company's articles, bylaws or operating agreement would have to show that you own at least 51% of the business. Additionally, you will have to prove, through the application, supporting documents and on-site visit, that you manage and control the business in order for the business to be certified as a woman-owned business.

  • Q: What are the requirements for DBE certification?
  • A: Requirements vary depending on the certification and certifying agency. Requirements for certification are included with the information on each program provided on this site.    

  • Q: Why do I need to register with Dun & Bradstreet?
  • A: Any business that wants to do business with the U.S. government is required to register with Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) and obtain a DNB D-U-N-S Number. A D-U-N-S Number is a unique nine-digit number assigned to a business.  The U.S. government uses the D-U-N-S Number as part of its business verification process when a business registers as a vendor on SAM.GOV.  

  • Q: What is SAM.GOV?
  • A: Any business that wants to do business with the U.S. government must register with the System for Award Management (SAM). SAM is a Federal Government owned and operated free web site that consolidates the information contained in CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. SAM is now the primary database of vendors that provide goods and services to the U.S. government.  

  • Q: What documents do I need to apply for certification?
  • A: The supporting documents you need to include with your certification application vary depending on the certification and certifying agency. Supporting documentation requirements for certification are included with the information on each program provided on this site. 

  • Q: What certifications are included on this website?
  • A:

    1. Louisiana Unified Certification Program (LAUCP) DBE Certification
    2. Louisiana Department of Economic Development's Veterans Initiative
    3. Louisiana Department of Economic Development's Small and Emerging Business Certification
    4. Louisiana Department of Economic Development's Hudson Initiative
    5. City of New Orleans State and Local DBE Certification
    6. New Orleans Regional Transit Authority's SBE Certification
    7. New Orleans Recovery School District DBE Certification
    8. Housing Authority of New Orleans DBE/WBE Certification
    9. Housing Authority of New Orleans Section 3 Business Certification
    10. Orleans Parish School Board DBE Certification
    11. City/Parish of Baton Rouge SBE Certification
    12. City of Shreveport Fair Share Program
    13. City of Shreveport DBE Certification
    14. Louisiana Minority Supplier Development Council MBE Certification
    15. Women's Business Council of the South WBE Certification
    16. U.S. Department of HUD Section 3 Business Certification
    17. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Service Disabled Veteran-Owned and Veteran-Owned Business Small Business Verification
    18. U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(A) Business Development Certification
    19. U.S. Small Business Administration's Woman Owned Small Business Certification
    20. U.S. Small Business Administration's HUBZone Certification
    21. General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule
    22. Louisiana Procurement and Technical Assistance Centers
    23. Louisiana Procurement and Contracting Network
    24. Federal Business Opportunities (Fed Biz Opps)

    • Q: I'm confused. Where can I get some help?
    • A: Contact us for a free consultation so we can answer any other certification questions you may have.

    Definitions

    Socially Disadvantaged. Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities.

    Economically Disadvantaged. Economically disadvantaged individuals are those socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same business area that are not socially disadvantaged. In determining the degree of diminished credit and capital opportunities the Administration shall consider, but not be limited to, the assets and net worth of such socially disadvantaged individuals.

    Race-Conscious. Participation as a certified business is based on being a member of a specific ethnic group.  

    Race-Neutral. Participation as a certified business is not based on membership in an ethnic group, but typically is based on evidence of social and/or economic disadvantage of the owner(s).

    Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. A disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) is a business that is owned, managed and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.  The tern DBE is a race-neutral term.

    Small Business Enterprise. A small business enterprise (SBE) is a business that is classified as a small business based on U.S. SBA Size Standards.

    Minority Business Enterprise. A Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) is a business that is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by an ethnic minority.

    Woman-Owned Business Enterprise. A Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is a business that is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by a woman.

    Veteran-Owned Business. A Veteran-Owned Business (VOSB)  is a business that is owned, managed and controlled by an individual who served and was honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces.  A business owned by a disabled veteran is called a Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (DVOSB).

    SBA Size Standards. SBA size standards represent the largest size that a business (including its subsidiaries and affiliates) may be to remain classified as a small business concern. In determining what constitutes a small business, the definition will vary to reflect industry differences. These size standards are used to determine eligibility for Federal government procurement programs designed to help small businesses and for designation as a certified SBE. 

    NAICS CodeThe North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) was introduced in 1997 as a replacement for Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC). NAICS now serves as the standard for the three NAFTA countries of Mexico, Canada and the U.S. and is now the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, analysis, and publication of statistical data related to the business economy of the U.S.  The U.S. Census Bureau assigns and maintains only one NAICS code for each establishment based on its primary activity, though a business can have multiple NAICS codes.  

    SIC Code. The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is a system for classifying industries by a four-digit code. Established in the United States in 1937, it is used by government agencies to classify industry areas. 

    NIGP CodeThe NIGP Commodity/Services Code (NIGP) is an acronym for the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing Commodity Services Code. The NIGP Code is a coding system used primarily to classify products and services procured by state and local governments in the United States.

    CSI Codes. Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) codes are the construction industry standard codes for specifications, estimates and product data.

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