Cracking the Code: How to Get Your Business Certified by the State

Since 2015, the State of Ohio has spent an average of over $275 million with about 300 MBE-certified businesses. That’s an average of over $900,000 per company, per year. The amount of money that the state spends with EDGE-certified business is even more impressive: during that same period, the state spent an average of over $1.12 million with each company per year.

In other words, under the right circumstances, an MBE or EDGE certification would be worth about $1 million in annual revenue for your business. $1 million. Every. Year

A growth-minded business owner should be thinking, “How do I get certified?” If this is you—then you aren’t alone. Indeed, many have applied for certification—several hundred a year, actually. But the state denies over 50% of the businesses that apply for certification. That’s right: more people are denied certification than are awarded it.

Why do so many try and fail? After all, most of those “growth-minded business owners” can easily read the certification rules and see for themselves what the certification rules say. But as over half of the applicants have learned, there’s a difference between knowing what the rules say and understanding what the rules mean.

I want to tell you what the certification rules mean. I want to help you to have better than a less-than-50% chance of earning a certification that could be worth $1 million per year to your business. I don’t want you to fail. I want you to succeed.

So, over the next several weeks, I want to help you “crack the code” of the certification rules and better understand what the state is really evaluating when reviewing an application for MBE or EDGE certification.

In the next article, I’ll discuss the prerequisites for certification:

  • Citizenship;
  • Residency;
  • Having a for-profit business;
  • How the state determines that an applicant is “in business” for the requisite amount of time; and
  • How small is a “small business,” anyway.

Then, I’ll talk about:

  • How the state determines “social and economic disadvantage”—and who actually meets those criteria (hint: it isn’t just who you think).
  • The difference between “ownership” and “control” and how the state evaluates both; and
  • What it means to be an “independent” company.

After that, we’ll uncover how the underutilized joint venture certification rules—which create several exceptions to general program rules—can position a well-meaning but otherwise ineligible company for certification.

Finally, I’ll explain what legal rights you have when the state denies your application.

* * *

I look forward to the next few weeks of helping you “crack the code.” After all, this is what we do: we help you plan for your future and protect and grow your business. Check back soon... 


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