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

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 Federal Transcripts showing proof of business income tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service (Get Transcript) AND state income tax returns filed with the 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?

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. Federal Transcripts showing proof of business income tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov) AND state income tax returns as filed with the 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.

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

The Division 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.

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 an African-American, Hispanic-American, American Indian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, Service-Disabled Veteran or Female.

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.

MWBE Certification is granted for two years.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. 

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 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 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.

To promote the development of minority business enterprises in the state.

To increase the ability of minority business enterprises to compete for state or other approved contracts.

To sustain the economic growth of minority business enterprises that are unable to secure financing on reasonable terms through normal lending channels.

To create partnerships between certified minority business enterprises and financial institutions to benefit minority business and overall economic development.

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

The vendor must be a minority business enterprise.

The vendor must be certified by the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Entrprise of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

The vendor must be registered with the Office of State Procurement as a vendor.

The vendor must be seeking to obtain a contract with a state agency, college, university or other organization approved by the Commission.

The vendor must select a financial institution that will participate in the Loan Mobilization program.

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.

Lender must have a continuing ability to evaluate, process, close, disburse, service and liquidate small business loans.

Lender must be open to the public for the making of small business loans

Lender must not be a financing subsidiary engaged primarily in financing the operations of an affiliate.     

Lender must satisfy the required ethical standards.

Lender must be supervised and examined by a regulatory authority of the state or the federal government.

Lender must execute a loan guarantee agreement with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Job creation

Expansion

Repairs

Acquisition of machinery and equipment

Inventory purchase

Working capital

The minority business enterprise shall submit an application and any supporting documentation required by the Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise.

The division shall evaluate the submitted application and any supporting documentation to determine whether the minority business enterprise is eligible for a loan guarantee.

The division shall notify the minority business enterprise of the approval or denial of the application.

Upon being informed of the division’s approval, the minority business enterprise shall select a lender and begin the application process.

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.

*Please contact our office for more information.

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Workshops

AEDC hosts free bi-monthly workshops to give face-to-face opportunities for attendees to learn about the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise programs.

Learn More

Minority and Women-Owned Business Resources