What is the real value of MBEs and WBEs certifications?

certificate, certification, MBE, WBE, NYC,
This entry is part 3 of 15 in the series City Procurement

Have you ever questioned the worth of a product or service you purchased?

We’ve all been there, and we often hear that same feedback about the NYC MBE & WBE Certification.


To set the groundwork, let’s make sure you have all the pieces of information about the NYC MBE and WBEs CertificationNYC Online Directory of Certified Businesses contains more than 10,000 businesses from diverse industries including engineering, graphic design, catering, IT consulting, childcare, accounting, metal fabrication, plumbing, event planning, and many more.”


The Certificate gives access to networking events, customized courses, and targeted consultations hosted by the city. By doing so, the MBE and WBEs Program seeks “to promote fairness and equity by enabling MBE and WBEs to improve their capacity, connect to opportunities, and positively contribute to the local economy”as we explained in detail last week about the genesis of the program.


Regardless of the quality of these events, courses, and consultants, it’s a fact that the city does offer them.

What does the City require to obtain a certification?


  • “The business is legally authorized to transact business in New York State.
  • The business has been in operation (i.e., selling goods and/or services) for at least one year.
  • At least 51% of the business is owned, operated, and controlled by a U.S. Citizen(s) or U.S. permanent resident(s) who are women and/or members of designated minority groups including Black, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific, Asian-Indian, and Native American.
  • The business has one of the following legal structures: Sole proprietorship, Limited liability company (LLC), Corporation, Limited liability partnership (LLP), Limited Partnership (LP), General Partnership (Not for Profit Organizations are ineligible).
  • The business’ principal office, place of business, or headquarters is located within the five boroughs of New York City or in one of the following counties of New York and New Jersey: Nassau, Putnam, Rockland, Westchester, Suffolk, Bergen, Hudson, and Passaic”


When applying, you must go through the New York City Department of Small Business Services to receive a confirmation letter after the procedure. If you want to know more about the intake process, find out here.

Here is some additional information to know about: the regulations overseeing the City’s MBE & WBEs program, its eligibility criteria, application intake and verification, notices of determination and right to appeal, revocation of MBE or WBEs business enterprise status, and more.

certification, mbe, wbe

However, the certification is not permanent. Your MBE / WBE certification is valid for five years. To preserve your company’s certification status, you must present an affidavit each year to ensure there has not been any material change in ownership, operation, or control.

Does this process guarantee a WBE or MBE certification is always approved? No. An SBS Certification Analyst is assigned to each request, and the SBS will follow up and request additional information or documentation if necessary.

If you fail to produce the requested documents, it will likely result in the rejection or revocation of your certification. When this happens, you’ll receive a written notice explaining the denial, along with the process to file an appeal.

Is there a shortcut for MBEs and WBEs certified by other governmental agencies to be automatically certified? No. All organizations working on behalf of SBS to help facilitate your application process must comply with the same requirements and criteria above, including  New York City’s Fast Track Partners.

Do I have more opportunities to bid on projects with the certification? Yes, but it does not imply a contracting guarantee with City agencies. It depends on the agency, other MBE & WBEs availability, and the project scope, scale, and budget.

Because the agencies are required, by Local Law 1, to designate a specific number of contract dollars for MBE and WBE contracts, there is certainly a benefit to the agencies to focus on qualified contractors that hold these certifications. For agencies to achieve their contracting goals it is vital to facilitate bids solicitations or proposals with individual contracts that hold these certificates.

Series Navigation<< Foundation of NYC’s MBE & WBEs ProgramHow PASSPort can help to grow your business now. >>

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