• StateTargeted Group/Economically Disadvantaged/Veteran-Owned (TG/ED/VO) Small Business Procurement Program

    The Office of State Procurement (OSP) operates a program for Targeted Group, Economically Disadvantaged and Veteran-Owned small businesses.

    Businesses eligible to participate in this program must first of all be Minnesota-based small businesses. In 2015, OSP adopted variable size standards by industry as set by the US Department of Transportation in order to determine what is a small business.

    Targeted Group small businesses must be certified as such by OSP in order to participate in the program. By being certified with the OSP, the business may also be eligible to participate in similar state-funded programs operated by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) and several Metropolitan Agencies.

    To be certified as a Targeted Group small business, the business must be at least 51% owned by a woman, racial minority, or person with a substantial physical disability. In addition, the business must be operated and controlled on a day-to-day as well as long-term basis by the qualifying owner. In other words, ownership is not enough; operational control is also required.

    To be certified as an Economically Disadvantaged small business, the business must be located (or the owner must reside) in an Economically Disadvantaged Area in Minnesota. These areas include labor surplus areas, as designated by the federal government, and low income counties in Minnesota. Economically Disadvantaged small businesses must be certified as such by OSP in order to participate in the program.

    To be certified as a Veteran-Owned small business, the business must be at least 51% owned by a veteran or service-disabled veteran as determined by the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, the business must be operated and controlled on a day-to-day as well as long-term basis by the qualifying owner. In other words, ownership is not enough; operational control is also required.

    Once certified, Targeted Group small businesses may receive up to 6% preference in selling their products or services or bidding on construction projects to the state in accordance with the Commissioner’s designation of eligible businesses. Certified Economically Disadvantaged or Veteran-Owned small businesses may receive up to 6% preference in selling their products or services or bidding on construction projects to the state. In addition, we have the authority to set goals which require prime contractors to subcontract a portion of the work to certified Targeted Group, Economically Disadvantaged or Veteran-Owned small businesses on contracts for construction or consulting services.

    An application form and additional information about the program can be accessed from the Targeted Group/Economically Disadvantaged (TG/ED) Small Business Program web site.


  • Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) – Uniform Certification Program (UCP)
    The DBE program applies to federally funded transportation projects and is set forth in 49 CFR Part 26. Certifying Agencies under 49 CFR Part 26 include the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Metropolitan Council, and the Minnesota Department of Transportation. A small business may submit its DBE application to any of the certifying agencies listed above and if approved, the certification is recognized by all.  The City of Minneapolis is also utilizing the MnUCP DBE certification for City projects.

The DBE program is for business owners that are socially and economically disadvantaged. Women and African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Other individuals may also qualify as socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.

To be regarded as economically disadvantaged, an individual must have a personal net worth that does not exceed $1.32 million. To be seen as a small business, a firm must meet Small Business Administration size criteria AND have average annual gross receipts not to exceed $23.98 million when averaged over a three year period.

The owner must have technical competence and experience directly related to the type of work in which certification is being sought and must be a United States citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States.

Additional information including the application is available on line from the Minnesota Unified Certification Program.


  • CERT Program
    The Central Certification (CERT) Program is a small business certification program recognized by Hennepin CountyRamsey County and The City of Saint Paul. The CERT Program includes certification for Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE).The City of Saint Paul currently serves as the contact point for the CERT Program. (The previous website govcontracts.org now redirects to this website.)To find out if your business is eligible for CERT certification, view the Eligibility Criteria and the Small Business Size Standards website.Eligible business owners desiring to be certified by any or all of the participating jurisdictions now submit a single, standard application to a central processing location. Each application received is then evaluated using a uniform set of certification criteria. Certified businesses receive increased market exposure through inclusion in directories of certified vendors that are regularly distributed to purchasing officials in various jurisdictions. In addition, some prime contracts contain goals for certified businesses.  Additional Information is available by contacting the City of St. Paul at 651-266-8900.


  • City of Minneapolis

 The Small and Underutilized Business Program (SUBP) ordinance, Chapter 423 of the City code is enforced by the Contract Compliance Division (CCD) of the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights. The SUBP ordinance is intended to redress discrimination in the City’s Marketplace* and create opportunities for Minority-owned Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Women-owned Business Enterprises (WBEs). The CCD assists in leveling the playing field in contracting by placing participation goals on City contracts. As part of the SUBP program, Bidders have certain responsibilities in regards to inclusion of qualified MBEs/WBEs. Clarification regarding these responsibilities can be found on the city’s website.

The business must be certified under the Minnesota Unified Certification Program (MnUCP) at the time the contract is executed with the City. The availability of qualified businesses can be found in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise directory: http://mnucp.metc.state.mn.us/

If a business is not yet certified, but may qualify for certification as MBE/WBE, click here to learn more about the MnUCP and the certification process.

For additional information contact the City of Minneapolis at 612-673-3012.

City of Minneapolis Target Market Program

The City of Minneapolis has long been a champion of small businesses throughout our region, and recognizes that small and entrepreneurial businesses drive our robust and thriving economy. Furthering these efforts, the City is implementing the Target Market Program, a new program aimed at expanding opportunities for historically underutilized small businesses and stimulating local economy through increased economic opportunities in the City’s marketplace.

Under the Target Market Program, qualified small businesses will have the ability to respond alongside other similarly situated small businesses for City contracts up to $100,000 instead of competing against larger, more established companies.

The Target Market Program Ordinance was passed on Sept 23, 2016, with a program start date of January 1, 2017. This program is intended to provide a race-neutral and gender-neutral tool to expand opportunities for, and develop the capacity of, small and local businesses so that all segments of the community may participate in City contracts.   Additional information on Target Market Program can be found online.


  • North Central Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC) (MBE)
    The North Central Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC) provides business development and advocacy services to certified ethnic minority-owned businesses and corporations throughout Minnesota, North, South Dakota and abroad. The NCMSDC is one of the 39 regional councils of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in New York, NY and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works closely together with Corporate America to help these organizations increase minority business participation.Businesses owned and controlled by ethnic minorities can apply for certification as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) with the NCMSDC.  Large Corporations often require certification from a council of the NCMSDC before counting dollars spent with an MBE towards its supplier diversity goals.  MBE certification also provides access to networking opportunities, corporate buyers, and various business development tools and resources to help ethnic minority-owned businesses expand. The NCMNDC offers business mentoring through the MBE Input Committee which brings together certified MBEs based on industry groups.Additional information including qualifications, fees and MBE application is available at www.northceentralmsdc.net.
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) (WBE)
    The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) in Chicago, IL, a co-founder of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), provides national certification and procurement services for women-owned businesses throughout the Midwest. The WBDC partners with The Center for Women Entrepreneurs, Metropolitan State University to offer WBE certification to companies in the State of Minnesota. The WBDC’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification process verifies that a business is at least 51% independently-owned, operated and controlled by women. Apply Online. Local contact: Natasha Fedorova, Assistant to Director, Center for Women Entrepreneurs, (612) 659-7233.


SBA Goaling Program 
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is responsible for the management and oversight of the small business procurement process across the Federal Government. SBA negotiates with Federal departments concerning their prime contracting goals and achievement with small businesses to ensure that small businesses have the maximum practicable opportunity to provide goods and services to the Federal Government. The Government wide socio-economic small business goals are as follows:
In addition, large businesses that receive large Government contracts are required under the terms of its contract to submit to the government contracting officer subcontracting plans containing specific goals for utilization of the various categories of small businesses.
Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB)
On October 3, 2008 an interim final rule was published in the Federal Register stating that small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individual may self-certify its status as a Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB). There is a presumption that individuals belonging to the following groups are socially disadvantaged: Black Americans; Hispanic Americans; Native Americans; Asian Pacific Americans; and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Others that feel they have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities may also qualify.
  • 8(a) Business Development
    The 8(a) BD Program — named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act – is a business development program created to help small disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy. It is also designed to assist such companies in gaining access to federal and private procurement markets.The focus of the program is to provide business development support, such as mentoring, procurement assistance, business counseling, training, financial assistance, surety bonding and other management and technical assistance. The goal, however, is to prepare small disadvantaged firms for procurement and other business opportunities. The 8(a) BD portion of the SBA Website contains an assessment tool that will help a business determine if 8(a) is right for them. Additional information including eligibility requirements and the online application are available at the 8(a) Home Page.
Women Owned Small Business
On October 7, 2010 the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program Final Rule was published in the Federal Register. The final rule allows contracting officers to specifically limit, or set aside, certain requirements for competition solely amongst women ‐ owned small businesses (WOSBs) or economically disadvantaged women ‐ owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The final rule goes into effect on February 4, 2010. In the interim, the SBA will work with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council and others in implementing the rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and contracting systems.
Only requirements falling under certain NAICs codes where women are underrepresented or substantially represented can be set-aside. Requirements classified under NAICs codes where women are substantially underrepresented may be set aside for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) (which includes the subset of economically disadvantaged women ‐ owned small businesses (EDWOSBs)). Requirements classified under NAICs codes where women are underrepresented (but not substantially underrepresented) may be set aside for EDWOSBs.
Eligibility requirements:
Women-Owned Small Business
A Women ‐ Owned Small Business (WOSB) is a small business concern that is at least 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are citizens (born or naturalized) of the United States.
Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business
An Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) is a small business concern that is at least 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are citizens (born or naturalized) of the United States and who are economically disadvantaged. The EDWOSB automatically qualifies as a women-owned small business eligible for the WOSB Program. A woman is presumed economically disadvantaged if she has a personal net worth of less than $750,000, her adjusted gross yearly income averaged over the three years preceding the certification does not exceed $350,000, and the fair market value of all her assets (including her primary residence and the value of the business concern) does not exceed $6 million.
WOSBs and EDWOSBs must self-certify their status in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the On-Line Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) as other small businesses do. In addition, EDWOSBs and WOSBs must submit documents verifying the concern’s eligibility to an online document repository. The documentation may be a copy of a certification from an SBA approved third party certifying entity (at the present time there are no approved third party certifiers) or it could be copies of all documents required to determine that the business meets all of the requirements.
Additional information including a listing of the required documents, the self certification forms and instructions for accessing the online document repository can be found at SBA’s WOSB home page . More detailed information regarding the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program can be found in the compliance guide.
  • HUBZone Small Business
    The HUBZone Program helps businesses in historically underutilized areas gain access to federal procurement opportunities. To be eligible, a business must:
  • Have its principal office in a HUBZone
  • Be 51% owned by U.S. Citizens
  • Qualify as a small business for its principal NAICS code
  • Have at least 35% of its employees residing in a HUBZone
The HUBZone Program is set up as a paperless program. All the information including mapping software to find out if a given location is in a HUBZone and the electronic application can be found at the HUBZone Homepage.
  • Veteran-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses
    The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 allows Federal contracting officers to restrict competition to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB) and award a sole source or set-aside contract where certain criteria are met. Public Law (P.L.) 109-461 gives the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) authority to give additional preferences in contracting with Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. The Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Homepage has additional information.
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