The Right Blend Blog

Learning More about the City of Hinesville M/WBE Program

Are you a business owner in Hinesville and a minority and/or woman? If so, we encourage you to get certified as a Minority Women Business Enterprise (MWBE). Yes, it’s a little extra paperwork, but it could bring significant benefits to your minority/woman owned business.

What is the Minority Women Business Enterprise? They are businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated and controlled daily by one or more, in the combination of, an ethnic minority and/or gender (e.g., woman-owned).

The advantages of being certified as a MWBE are: most state and federal agencies, as well as many corporations, allocate a certain percentage of projects and contracts to officially recognized minority and women-owned businesses. By certifying yourself as one of these types of businesses, you may have a greater chance of attracting and securing business projects. It also allows you to take advantage of programs that offer business funding, counseling and networking opportunities.

The City of Hinesville’s newly expanded program and policy seeks to promote greater business diversity and inclusion in contracting opportunities with the City. Hinesville’s M/WBE program will further promote equal access and increase support efforts to minority and women-owned businesses in our community. In a recent press release City Manager Kenneth Howard said,” This support is crucial in ensuring that minority and women-owned businesses can continue to be competitive in Hinesville and beyond.”

The City’s standard participation goal for minority and women-owned businesses in construction projects over $100,000 is now at a minimum of 13 percent. Which is an increase of three percent from the former policy. That breaks down to ten percent to minority business enterprises and three percent to women business enterprises. The City Manager is authorized, to increase the standard participation level upon justification also.

As you can see, getting certified as a MWBE, has major advantages. So how do you get started? There are several ways to apply for MWBE certification, including through the Small Business Administration (SBA), National Women Business Owners Corporation, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), as well as National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). All of which grant you national certification. If your work is mostly in the private sector, these third-party certifications are your best bet since they cover all your bases.

Getting approved for certification doesn’t automatically guarantee you additional business. For that to happen, you need to be proactive. Start by updating your website and marketing materials to reflect your new certification, or send out a newsletter to your clients or customers to let them know about the change. You should also consider contacting local agencies, like the City’s planning or economic development departments or the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce to inform them of your new status and ask if they have email updates that share information about upcoming business projects. Plus, depending on which certifier you use, you can take advantage of community boards and networking events to connect with corporations or seek out new business opportunities.

Finally, make sure you maintain your certification by applying for renewal each year. If you let your certification expire, you’ll have to start the application process from scratch, potentially losing business in the process. Most organizations advise that you start the renewal process at least 90 days before your certification expires since approval for recertification takes about three months. To re-apply, you may need to answer basic questions about your business, fill out a new application, re-submit certain documents, and pay another processing fee.

Want to learn more or take the first steps to becoming a MWBE? Take a moment to register for the City of Hinesville’s virtual overview. They will be discussing the policy changes and the new certification program for minority/women owned businesses.  The event is scheduled to start at 10am Friday, July 30th. Registration is open until the day of the event.  Please register by clicking here City of Hinesville Minority and Women Business Enterprise Program Registration, Fri, Jul 30, 2021 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite

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