Q: How does a minority-owned business become eligible for certification as a minority business enterprise (MBE) in the State of Maryland?
A: A minority-owned business seeking certification as an MBE in the State of Maryland must apply to Maryland’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise. To be eligible, the MBE must demonstrate it meets certain requirements concerning group membership, business size, ownership and control. The MBE must be able to demonstrate the business is independent and at least 51% owned by a minority. The minority owner must have the power to direct, or cause the direction of, the management and policies of the business and make day to day decisions as well as long term business decisions concerning matters of management, policy and operations. The minority owners must also submit a personal net worth statement.
The MBE must demonstrate that the business is not subject to formal or informal restrictions that limit the customary discretion of the minority owner. The MBE must demonstrate that it is a small business under the federal Small Business Act (SBA). Certification of a minority-owned business as an MBE can be a viable tool for developing and maintaining business relationships. A minority-owned business desiring certification as an MBE in the State of Maryland may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning eligibility requirements for MBE certification prior to applying for the certification.