Although New York has one of the most robust MWBE programs in the country, it is not the only state on the Eastern seaboard to offer certifications and opportunities for disadvantaged businesses. Many states have set aside a percentage of government contracting opportunities specifically for minority and woman-owned businesses and businesses owned by veterans and people with disabilities. Among these, the opportunities offered by the State of Florida are among the most diverse. Here’s a brief overview of some of the resources available for DBEs in the Sunshine State.
Statewide Certification Programs
The State of Florida offers a number of certification programs for woman, minority and veteran-owned businesses. The largest of these is the Unified Certification Program (UCP), a “one-stop” certification for state agencies that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This certification is required to bid on U.S. DOT-funded contracts, but may not be accepted by every agency in the state.
To qualify under the UCP program in Florida, applicants must meet the following criteria set by the U.S. DOT:
- The business must be at least 51 percent owned by a woman, qualified minority, veteran or disabled person. As a rule, qualified minorities are people of African American, Hispanic, Asian American or Native American descent.
- The business must be a small business according to SBA criteria, with gross receipts under a set threshold (adjusted each year)
- The business owner must have a personal net worth of under $1.32 million, minus their net interest in the firm and equity in a private residence
- The business must be independent of any other firm and controlled and operated by the applicant, who must have the requisite skills to run the firm.
To apply for UCP certification in Florida, begin the application process here. The application can be filled out online, but you will need to complete a personal net worth statement and an affidavit of certification, both of which must be notarized and submitted to the state. Applications can be submitted to a certifying UCP member or sent to:
Florida Equal Opportunity Office
605 Suwannee St. MS 65
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Processing time is normally less than 90 days.
In addition to UCP Certification, disadvantaged businesses in Florida may be certified by a number of state agencies and private organizations. These include:
The Florida Department of Transportation
The Florida DOT offers DBE certification to businesses that meet the eligibility requirements established by the U.S. DOT and have gross annual receipts not in excess of $23.98 million ($52.47 million for Airport Concession DBEs. Businesses certified by the Florida DOT have increased access to bridge, road and highway projects throughout the state. Business owners must submit a notarized personal net worth statement with their application.
To review the eligibility requirements for the FDOT and begin the application process online, click here.
Florida Department of Management Services
Administered by the Florida Department of Management Services Office of Supplier Diversity, this MWBE certification is available to businesses that are at least 51 percent owned and operated by women, minorities, and/or veterans. The applicant must be registered in the state’s e-procurement system, MyFloridaMarketPlace, and:
- Have a net worth of under $5 million
- Have 200 or fewer full time, permanent employees
- Have a professional license in the name of the appliant, if such a license is required.
To begin the application process with the DMS, click here.
Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council
The Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council offers MBE certification to U.S. citizens who are of African American, Asian American or Native American descent. The organization connects MBEs with educational opportunities, technical assistance, loan programs and other resources throughout the state. All applications are carefully screened by the MSDC, and a site visit and personal interview with the business owner is required. To learn more about the organization or to begin the application process, click here.
Women’s Business Development Council of Florida WBE Programs
The Women’s Business Development Council offers certification to woman-owned businesses in the state of Florida. The organization seeks to empower women by offering support, business resources, and networking opportunities through a series of events held in various locations throughout the state. To learn more about the WBDC or to begin the application process, click here.
About the Carmoon Group, Ltd.
The Carmoon Group, Ltd. is a minority-owned insurance broker headquartered in Hicksville, New York. Through our large network of affiliates, we offer business insurance and risk management solutions to clients across the United States. With over 20 years experience serving businesses of all sizes in a variety of industries, we have the expertise to meet all of your needs. Just give us a call today to set up an appointment for your insurance review. Or if you prefer, reach out online and we’ll get back to you right away.