Understanding Ohio's Minority Business Enterprise Program

Ohio, like most states, has adopted a program to assist traditionally disadvantaged businesses. This includes businesses owned by minorities, women, and economically disadvantaged individuals. This article explains the benefits of the program and how to get certified. 

What is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification?

The state of Ohio sets aside 15% of all government contracts for MBE certified businesses. Essentially, when a state department, agency, board, or commission needs to hire a company to provide a product or service to the state, the state must hire an MBE certified business at least 15% of the time. 

The main benefit to the business is the potential for new revenue opportunities. Once certified, a business is permitted to bid on certain contracts that are not available to the general public. In addition, MBE certified businesses are listed in a special database used by state agencies. There are several other benefits, such as access to financial assistance, counseling, and marketing assistance. The complete list of benefits is listed here.  

How do you get certified?

The process is not very complicated, assuming your business meets the criteria. The basic requirements are:

  • Owned and controlled by a US citizen and Ohio resident
  • Black, American Indian, Hispanic, or Asian
  • At least 51% minority-owned
  • In business at least one year
  • The owner must have knowledge of their industry
  • The owner must have control over the day-to-day operations of the business

The full list of requirements can be found here. If you meet the criteria, you can apply online. The application process requires you to submit various documents to verify your eligibility. There is also an option to apply in person, which is processed faster. 


 

Dustin R. Hurley, Esq. is a small business attorney serving Southwestern Ohio.