Q. How long does it take to be certified?

A. The certification process is approximately 45 days. Out-of-state and incomplete application may require additional processing time. Applicants are encouraged to bid. while their application is in process. If the bid is accepted, the applicant should notify the MBE/WBE/DBE Certification section for priority processing.

Q. What is the difference between a MBE, a WBE and a DBE?

A. MBE stands for Minority Business Enterprise. An MBE is defined as a business concern that is at least 51% owned by one or more individuals who are African American, Hispanic American, Native American, Asian-Pacific American or Asian-Indian American; and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of these owners.

WBE stands for Women Business Enterprise. A WBE is defined as a business concern that is at least 51% owned by one or more women and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of these owners.

DBE stands for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. A DBE is defined as a "small business concern" by the Small Business Administration, that is at least 51% owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and the management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of these socially and economically disadvantaged owners. These firms are essentially the same as MBEs and WBEs except that the size of the firm is also a factor, and "DBE" is a federal term. Federally funded or federally-assisted projects use DBEs rather than MBEs and WBEs. The qualifying size of a firm depends on the type of industry. For assistance regarding size standards per industry, contact the MBE/WBE/DBE Certification Help Line at (213) 847-5540.

Q. My firm is SBA 8(a) certified. Does it need to go through all the steps again?

A. If your firm is currently SBA 8(a) certified, it is not necessary to go through all the paper work and a site visit again. Just complete the application, attach a copy of the SBA 8(a) certificate and submit three years tax and financial statements.

Q. Does the City of Los Angeles recognize certification from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)?

A. Yes. The MTA and the City of Los Angeles have a certification reciprocity agreement. The two agencies reciprocate the recognitions of one another's certifications. Your firm's MTA certification will be counted toward participation levels for all City contracts. Therefore, your firm does not need to undergo our certification process if you are presently certified with the MTA.

Q. Does the City of Los Angeles recognize Caltrans certification?

A. Most City departments recognize Caltrans certification for MBE/WBE participation purposes in City funded projects as stated in bid documents. You may want to confirm with the project manager regarding acceptance of Caltrans certification.

Q. What are the components of the certification process?

A. The certification process consists of four stages:

                1) Preliminary Review - Submitted documents are checked for completeness.

                2) Desk Audit - Supporting documents are reviewed and additional information may be requested.

                3) Site Visit - An analyst will interview business owners(s) at the firm's place of business.

                4) Final Recommendation - A recommendation for approval or denial is made after a thorough review of the
                    application and submitted documents.

Q. What recourse does my firm have if it is denied certification?

A. Your firm has the right to appeal the denial in writing within 30 days from receipt of a denial letter.

Q. How long is the certification valid?

A. The certification is valid for two years from the date of the original certification, unless there is evidence which reveals the firm no longer meets eligibility criteria.

Q. How do I get recertified?

A. Approximately 60 days prior to the certification expiration date, the City will mail a request for additional information to recertify your firm. All requested information must be returned to the City as soon as possible. The analyst reviews the information and makes a determination of eligibility for recertification.

Q. Once certified, how do firms procure contracts?

A. You may contact the MBE/WBE/DBE Bid Review Section of the Office of Contract Compliance for general bid information at (213) 847-5539.

Contract Administration Homepage
MBE/WBE/DBE Certification Program
How to Obtain an Application
Certification Help Line

Last Updated: February 1, 2001