Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise

Growing Your Business is Our Business

The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise division promotes the growth and sustainability of minority and women-owned business enterprises by providing them with real world technical and professional assistance, certification, procurement, networking, capital and contracting opportunities while utilizing our partners in state and federal government, higher education, lending institutions and the private sector. Our main goal is to help these business enterprises contribute to the economic growth in Arkansas.

Patricia Brown

Director of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise
501-682-2559
(501) 682-7499
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GOT BUSINESS?

List your minority or woman-owned business in our online searchable directory.  The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Directory makes it easy for your potential clients to find your businesses. After you submit your information it will be reviewed by someone on our team before being published in our directory.


UPCOMING TRAININGS

  • Procurement Assistance (SBA) - Fourth Tuesday, Monthly
    More info: Contact Wanda May at Wanda.May@SBA.gov

  • Various Trainings (ASBTDC)
    More info: www.ASBTDC.org

  • Bid Preparation for Government Contracts (APAC)
    More info: (501) 671-2390

BI-MONTHLY, RECURRING WORKSHOPS

Certification Assistance

Certification Assistance Workshop is a course where attendees can learn about the state certification. During this workshop, participants will learn about eligibility requirements and a review of the application process. In addition, businesses will learn how to connect with state contracting opportunities and other benefits of becoming certified.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

This workshop is for small, minority and women-owned businesses seeking to provide goods and services to state and local government agencies and public educational institutions.

Participant's firm must be a for-profit, operating for at least two (2) years, interested in learning how to grow their business, interested in learning about the benefits of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification, seeking to fulfill minority participation goals on government contracts and questions about the application process.

Workshop Dates:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
9:00-11:00 a.m.
900 West Capitol Avenue, Bessie Moore Room on the second floor
Register Now
Complimentary parking is available on the street in front or on the side of the building.

REGISTRATION:

To RSVP your attendance – please click our Eventbrite link here.  

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Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program

The Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program helps Arkansas state-certified minority businesses with loan guarantees from $10,000 up to $100,000.

Attend this free workshop to learn how to obtain funding through the Minority Business Loan Mobilization Guaranty Program when starting a state-funded or other approved project and how it can help your Arkansas State Certified Business grow. Attendees will learn who is eligible for the program and will receive valuable assistance with the application process.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND:

Minority Business Enterprise that is Arkansas State Certified or working toward certification.

Workshop Dates:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
2:00-4:00 p.m.
900 West Capitol Avenue, Bessie Moore Room on the second floor
Register Now
Complimentary parking is available on the street in front or on the side of the building.

REGISTRATION:

To RSVP your attendance – please click our Eventbrite link here

Minority Business
Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Certification

Increase the opportunity for your minority or women-owned business to sell products and services to the State of Arkansas. 

The Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification program is a review process designed to ensure that a minority or women-owned business is actually owned, controlled and operated by the applicants and meets the eligibility criteria of the program.

In addition to increasing opportunities with the State of Arkansas, certification benefits include notification of training events, workshops, network opportunities and educational opportunities. Certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises will receive an official certificate and designation as a "Certified Minority and Women-Owned Business" in the Directory. 

There is no cost to apply for certification as a Minority and Women-Owned Business. It generally takes 30-45 business days to complete the entire process once a complete application package has been received. Submitting an incomplete application package will delay the overall certification process. 

4 Steps to Minority and Women-Owned Business Certification:

Step 1: Determine if your business is eligible.

You must be able to answer "yes" to the following eight questions:

  1. Is applicant at least 51 percent minority or women-owned, operated and managed on a daily basis?
  2. Has the business been in operation for at least two (2) years prior to applying for minority or women-owned business status? 
  3. Does the business have a legal presence (license) to operate in Arkansas?
  4. Is/Are the majority owner(s) a legal permanent resident of Arkansas?
  5. Is/Are the majority owner(s) a U.S. Citizen?
  6. Is/Are the majority owner(s) of a designated group: African-American, Hispanic-American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Service-Disabled Veteran or Female?
  7. Does Applicant have proof of state and federal income tax returns as filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS Federal Transcript) and Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for the previous two (2) years?
  8. Is enterprise a for profit business and generate less than $10,000,000 in revenue?

Step 2: Collect all supporting documents.

1.   Completed, signed MBE/WBE application form
2.   Proof of certification from qualifying organization*
3.   Organization Information:
        a. Sole proprietorships (assumed name documents)
        b. Partnerships (limited partnership documents; partnership, buy-out, and/or profit sharing agreements; partnership or operating agreement required for businesses with two (2) or more owners,  evidencing division of shares and profit distribution)
        c. Corporations (provide filings in good standing; bylaws; board of directors and/or shareholdings documentation)
4.   Copy of bank signature authorization card, form or letter signed by a bank official at your financial institution identifying the person(s) authorized to sign checks on the  business’s account (signatory     authority)
5.   Federal Tax Identification Number and Dun & Bradstreet Number (DUNS)
6.   Proof of Arkansas residency (State-issued driver’s license or identification card)
7.   Evidence of United States citizenship or permanent legal resident alien status (United States passport, United States birth certificate, naturalization papers, permanent legal residence alien “green” card, or tribal card)
8.   Copy of resume(s) of owner(s), board of directors, and other senior corporate governance/management
9.   Company overview
10. Proof of state and federal business tax returns as filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS federal transcript) and Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration for the previous two (2) years
11. Copy of insurance**
12. Bonding information**
13. Copy of each professional license**
14. Veterans Administration adjudication letter, if applicant is a service-disabled veteran
15. Financial statements**
16. Service agreements**
17. Proof of capital and/or equity**
18. Business customer references

*Eligible minority and/or women-owned businesses certified by a qualifying organization need only  to submit MWBE application along with proof of certification from the qualifying organization: (SBA) 8(a), Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC), Arkansas Department of Transportation or Department of Veterans Affairs.
**If required as a normal function of the business.

Step 3: Complete the certification application. 

MWBE Certification Application (English)

MWBE Certification Application (Spanish)

Step 4: Send all documents and application to AEDC. 

Mail or deliver hard copies of the completed application and all supporting documents to the Minority and Women-Owned Enterprise Business office of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. We will contact you regarding any missing or incomplete documentation.

The Commission shall review the documents, check the applicant's customer references and may schedule a pre-certification interview/site visit with the applicant. Vendor agreements, invoices, partnership agreements and articles of incorporation that relate to business with the State of Arkansas are subject to examination.

Address:
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
Attn: Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division
900 W. Capitol Avenue, Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201

See all Rules and Regulations for MWBE Certification

MWBE Notice of Change Affidavit (English)

MWBE Notice of Change Affidavit (Spanish)

MWBE Re-Certification Affidavit (English)

MWBE Re-Certification Affidavit (Spanish)

Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification FAQs

Still have questions about the Certified Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program? We've compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions.  

What is the difference between registration and MWBE certification?

Registering your company with the Office of State Procurement as a vendor allows you to do business with the State of Arkansas. MWBE certification indicates that your company has undergone a review process to show that it is 51% or more owned, controlled and operated by a minority.

What happens after I become certified?

You will receive a certification letter and certificate. Your business and name will be listed in our online directory. The directory is used by anyone that is actively attempting to increase or engage in the utilization of MWBEs that have been screened and are sanctioned by the State of Arkansas as MWBEs.

How long does MWBE Certification last?

MWBE Certification is granted for a two years.

If I have registered online as a vendor with the Office of State Procurement, am I certified as a minority business enterprise?

Not necessarily. When registering online with the Office of State Procurement, you have the option of becoming a Certified Minority Business Enterprise. Should you choose to become certified, you are required to submit supporting documentation to the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for review.

Must a business be certified as a minority or woman-owned business enterprise to do business with the state?

No, any business may register with the Office of State Procurement to do business with the state. However, if the vendor wishes to participate in the procurement process as a minority or woman-owned business enterprise, it must be certified by the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Are state agencies required to do business with minority and women vendors?

No. However, state agencies are strongly encouraged to seek viable and growth-oriented minority and women-owned businesses to participate in procurement opportunities.

What procurement-related state activities should I be aware of as a minority or woman-owned business enterprise owner?

There are a variety of conferences, workshops and expos that occur through the year. State-certified minority and women-owned businesses receive information on events.

If I am certified by Arkansas Transportation Department as a Disadvantage Business Entrprise (DBE), am I also certified by the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise as a MBE or WBE to do business as a minority business enterprise with other state agencies?

No, the two certifications are separate and distinct. The Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise certifies minority and women-owned enterprises on behalf of all of the state agencies, colleges and universities. The DBE certification must come from the Arkansas Transportation Department for minority and women-owned businesses who seek to take advantage of Federal government contracts administered by the State of Arkansas.

What does the re-certification process entail?

MWBE firms are required to apply for recertification every two years. If a certified company has not had an on-site review by this office within the last two years, it may be subject to a review. If the company is selected for an onsite review, the owner will be contacted to make arrangements for the review. A recertification notice will be sent 30 days prior to the month in which the certification will expire.

Minority and Women-Owned Business Directory

Create visibility for your minority or women-owned business enterprise by listing your company information in the Minority and Women-Owned Business Directory. 

Arkansas Minority and Women-Owned Business Advisory Council

The Arkansas Minority Business Advisory Council reports to the Governor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The Council monitors progress, makes recommendations, and develops strategic plans for performance improvement for minority-owned businesses.

Arkansas Minority Business Advisory Council Members

Ivan Hudson
iHud Insurance Agency
Little Rock

Girish "Gary" Patel
Krisha Inc. Development
Searcy

Alex Martinez
Soltelnet Works
Bentonville

Mia McNeil
Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council
Little Rock

Adrienne Smith
Mid-South Party Rentals
North Little Rock

Bishop Kenneth Robinson
Robinson Mortuary
Little Rock

Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program

We are committed to guaranteeing up to 90% of loans to help eligible certified minority business enterprises get the capital needed.

The Arkansas Minority Business Loan Mobilization Program was created to assist certified minority-owned business enterprises in obtaining funding when starting a state funded or other approved project.

The goal of the program is provide loans to minority business enterprises that are unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels.

Loan Mobilization Program Goals

  1. To promote the development of minority business enterprises in the state.
  2. To increase the ability of minority business enterprises to compete for state or other approved contracts.
  3. To sustain the economic growth of minority business enterprises that are unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels.
  4. To create partnerships between certified minority and women-owned business and financial institutions to benefit minority and women-owned business and overall economic development.

Requirements for Minority Business Enterprise

The requirements for participating in the Loan Mobilization Program are as follows: 

  1. The vendor must be a minority business enterprise. 
  2. The vendor must be certified by the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Entrprise of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
  3. The vendor must be registered with the Office of State Procurement as a vendor.
  4. The vendor must be seeking to obtain a contract with a state agency, college, university or other organization approved by the Commission.
  5. The vendor must select a financial institution that will participate in the Loan Mobilization program. 

Requirements for Lender

  1. Lender must be a federally chartered bank, or state chartered bank, or saving and loan association, or credit union or any other form of financial institution regulated by the state or the federal government.
  2. Lender must have a continuing ability to evaluate, process, close, disburse, service and liquidate small business loans.
  3. Lender must be open to the public for the making of small business loans
  4. Lender must not be a financing subsidiary engaged primarily in financing the operations of an affiliate.
  5. Lender must satisfy the required ethical standards.
  6. Lender must be supervised and examined by a regulatory authority of the state or the federal government.
  7. Lender must execute a loan guarantee agreement with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Use of Proceeds

  • Job creation
  • Expansion
  • Repairs
  • Acquisition of machinery and equipment
  • Inventory purchase
  • Working capital

Loan Application Procedure

  1. The minority business enterprise shall submit an application and any supporting documentation required by the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise.
  2. The division shall evaluate the submitted application and any supporting documentation to determine whether the minority business enterprise is eligible for a loan guarantee.
  3. The division shall notify the minority business enterprise of the approval or denial of the application.
  4. Upon being informed of the division’s approval, the minority business enterprise shall select a lender and begin the application process.
  5. The lender selected by the minority business enterprise shall notify the minority business enterprise as well as the division of their determination to approve or deny the loan.

MBE Loan Mobilization Lender Participation Agreement 2017  (English)

MBE Loan Mobilization Application 2017 (English)

Minority Business Loan Mobilization Application 2014 (Spanish)

Minority and Women-Owned Business Resources
Resource Referrals

If our office does not have an answer to your question, we will help you find the agency that does.

Minority & Women-Owned Business Start-Up Assistance

Our office offers start-up packages that include basic information on the following topics: writing a business plan, obtaining financing, registering your business with the federal, state and local government, etc. Please email us to request these materials.

Business First Visitation Program

If your business is located in Arkansas, we would like to learn more about your operation, how we can better serve you, and enter your information in our directory. Please call 501-682-6105 to set up a visitation with a representative from our office or to provide us with information on your company that we can include in our directory.

Business Education Programs

We sponsor/support business workshops throughout the year for entrepreneurs. Please view our workshop schedule under "Upcoming Events" to the right of this page for future opportunities.

Minority & Women-Owned Business Partners
COMMUNITIES ... Unlimited

A non-profit organization delivering small business services and helping communities become self-sufficient by focusing on emerging technology and trends in renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

Arkansas Office of State Procurement

Search for existing or enter new contracts/amendments with the State of Arkansas.  

Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center

We help small and large Arkansas based companies that would like to sell their goods or services to federal, state or local government agencies navigate the government procurement process. 

Arkansas Small Business Administration

Provides loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. 

Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center

A university-based economic development program that assists entrepreneurs, both new and seasoned, with every aspect of business creation, management, and operation. 

Arkansas Venture Center

Focused on facilitating the grassroots growth of entrepreneurial activity in Central Arkansas through the establishment of startup acceleration, corporate innovation and technical training programs. 

Arkansas Women's Business Center

Provides training and technical assistance, access to capital services and counseling for existing and future Arkansas women business owners.

Innovate Arkansas

We work with new, technology-based entrepreneurs to turn inventions and high-tech concepts into viable businesses. 

Compliance
Minority Business Economic Development Act 1080

The State of Arkansas supports equal opportunity as well as economic development in every sector, ensuring that 15% of the total amount expended in state-funded and state-directed public construction programs and in the purchase of goods and services for the state each fiscal year is paid to minority businesses. The percentage breakdown is as listed below:

  • Ten percent (10%) for minority business enterprises with two percent (2%) allocated for service-disabled veteran-owned minority business enterprises; and eight percent (8%) for all other minority business enterprises; and
  • Five percent (5%) for women-owned business enterprises
Minority and Women-Owned Business Officers

Find names, phone numbers and email addresses of Arkansas's Minority Business Officers.

Minority View Portal

Used by state Minority and Women-Owned Business Officers (MWBOs) to report funds expended with MWBEs by state agencies and institutions. If you're an M/WBO and need access, please contact us at MWBO@arkansasedc.com

Arkansas Minority Business Advisory Council
2017 Arkansas Minority Business Advisory Council Members

Herbert Morales

200 N. 24th Street
Rogers, AR  72756
479-295-2252
Appointed: 2017
Appointing Officer: Governor

Rudy Ortiz, Secretary

11722 Willow Lane
Scott, AR  72142
rudy@sbs-west.com
501-749-7484
501-749-7484
Appointed: 2015
Appointing Officer:  Governor

Girish "Gary" Patel, Vice Chairman

Krisha Inc Development
1200 Truman Baker Dr.
Searcy, AR 72143
501-268-8988 office
501-827-7451 cell
krishaincsearcy@gmail.com
Appointed: March 2015
Appointing Officer:  Pro Tempe

Brooke Laman Vines

2920 Lee Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72205
501-680-5936
brooke@vinesmedia.com
Appointed May 2017
Appointing Officer:  Speaker of the House

Mia McNeil

Vice President
Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council
415 Main Street
Little Rock, AR  72201
501-374-7026
Appointed:  2014
Appointing Officer: Governor

Bishop Kenneth Robinson

4 Masters Place Cove
Maumelle, AR  72113
501-371-0111
Appointed:  July 2015
Appointing Officer:  President Pro Tempore - Jonathan Dismang

Dr. Carolyn  Smith

2600 Brown Street
Little Rock, AR  72204
501-952-5303
Drcas.theblesit1@gmail.com
Appointed:  January 2017
Appointing Officer:  Speaker of the House