Maryland offers a variety of benefits for Small, Minority, and Women-Owned businesses. Learn how to become a certified Minority Business Enterprise.

Become a Certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)

There are several benefits to receiving MBE Certification. MBE firms are able to distinguish themselves from their competitors because while any business may perform on a State contract, only MBE-certified firms can fulfill minority participation goals. Successful companies know how to leverage their MBE status as a “value-added” component to all the other attributes they bring to the table.

The certification process is structured to ensure that only those businesses meeting all the requirements set forth under State law may participate in the program. The Office of Minority Business Enterprise (OMBE), a division of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), serves as Maryland’s official certification agency.

Once a MBE is certified, they are encouraged to look for opportunities on the eMaryland Marketplace Advantage to explore contracting opportunities for state, county, and local government entities. The Business to Government page has more resources for finding state and local contracts.

Benefits of becoming a MBE:

  • Certified MBE firms are listed in an online directory. The Certification Management System directory identifies the specific work the MBE is certified to do in addition to all relevant contact information. This directory is utilized by government procurement officials in the counties, cities, and municipalities as well as the State. It is also an important tool for private-sector companies that value supplier diversity.
  • Every State agency staffs a MBE Liaison. The liaison is well-versed on the MBE Program’s best practices and understands the procurement process. Liaisons provide direction and guidance to buyers in their agency. They also advocate for MBEs and help solve any problems that may arise during the term of the contract.

The Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs offers resources, including training programs, to help small, minority, & women-owned businesses navigate state procurement.

Find Funding for Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Businesses

Maryland offers a variety of programs to support small, minority, and women-owned businesses. Here are some of those programs:

  • Small, Minority, and Women-Owned Business – Video Lottery Terminal Fund: Targeted to help these business owners in the areas surrounding Maryland’s six casinos.
  • Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA): Offers a variety of financing programs to promote the viability and expansion of economically and socially disadvantaged entrepreneur-owned businesses.
  • Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund (MBPF): Intended to address the needs of minority entrepreneurs in Maryland and administered by TEDCO.  If you have a viable business opportunity involving a technology-based idea, this program will make investments of up to $40,000 towards developing it into a product to be tested with potential users.
  • The Neighborhood BusinessWorks loan program provides flexible financing to small businesses and nonprofits that are located in locally designated neighborhood revitalization areas throughout Maryland.
  • The Microenterprise Loan Program creates new opportunities for small business development in Maryland by providing entrepreneurs with flexible funding for start-ups and expansions in designated Sustainable Communities and Priority Funding Areas throughout the State.