Having your own business is exciting, rewarding, and challenging. Developing products or services and competing in the marketplace is part of your life as a business owner. As an independent language service provider, you may ask yourself questions such as: “Is my business growing?” “How can I gain more customers or contracts?” And for those who have not started a business adventure yet, “should I start a business?”
You are on the right track because even after the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses in the US remain strong; there are 30.7 million small businesses in the United States.1 Each of them is an important engine to speed up the economy in the US.2
Additionally, more than ever, large companies want to work with diverse providers as our society and laws become more inclusive. One of the best ways for Minority Business Enterprises, or MBEs, to grow their business is to work with a customer base that includes large corporations and government entities. Some government entities are required by law to purchase a minimum percentage of their supply needs from MBEs. Although not legally bound, many corporations realize the benefits of working with MBEs. So, if you are a Minority Business Enterprise or planning to become one, now is the time to take advantage of opportunities to grow.
What is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)?
“An independent, for-profit enterprise, regardless of size, is located in the United States or in one of its trust territories, owned and controlled by an ethnic minority. Minority ownership shall be deemed to be ownership of at least 51% of the company by citizens of the United States who are of one or more of the following ethnicities: Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American.”3
How can I make my business grow?
Increasing your business’s access to the market is a priority. To do that, you need to be on your customer’s radar, whether you’re selling to a governmental institution or not, and to make your services visible and demonstrate your legitimacy as a business.
“Becoming a supplier to a large organization is a great revenue opportunity for small businesses. […] it opens doors and attempts to level the playing field so you can compete with everyone else. […] The stronger you are walking through the door, the more likely it is that you’ll achieve success.”
Michelle Source Robinson, president and CEO, Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council, one of 23 affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council
Certification as an MBE will build your business credibility, increase exposure, obtain exclusive resources and information, and create a more productive networking community.
What is a certification?
A Minority Business Enterprise certification, or MBE certification, defines your business as being owned, operated, and controlled by a member of a minority group if you have a minority-owned business.
How can I get an MBE certification in the State of Indiana?
To qualify as a minority, women, or veteran-owned business, a business must be 51 percent owned by qualifying minorities, women, and veterans who possess expertise in the field, control the business enterprise and live in the US. For new applicants, free step-by-step training for MBE Certification is available on the third Wednesday of each month. Learn more about the certification clinic and other workshops Indiana Division of Supplier Diversity (HERE)4 You can also find the Top FAQs about certification HERE.5
If you do not reside in Indiana, do not worry! Many states and municipalities have their systems for minority-owned business certification, but most guidelines are similar to that of the federal government. To determine how to qualify for your state, do an internet search for “minority-owned business certification” and your state, city, or town.
Do not miss out on your opportunities to grow your business, and get certified now!
About the Author: Leonela Sauve is LUNA’s Law & Policy Associate. She’s an international lawyer born and raised in Venezuela. Leonela works on diversity initiatives and language access projects to ensure that community members of all language backgrounds can reach their full potential.
1 NerdWallet, Small-Business Statistics: By the Numbers as of 2021 (2021) available at https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/small-business/small-business-statistics
2 US Small Business Administration-Office of Advocacy (2022) available at https://cdn.advocacy.sba.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/30143723/Small-Business-Economic-Profile-US.pdf
3 State of Indiana – Division of Supplier Diversity (2022) available at https://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/
4 Indiana Division of Supplier Diversity, Certify Your Business (2022) available at https://www.in.gov/idoa/mwbe/minority-and-womens-business-enterprises/certify-your-business/
5 IN.Gov, Frequently Asked Questions (2022) available at https://faqs.in.gov/hc/en-us/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=Minority%20Women%27s%20Business%20Enterprise