Guide to Specialized Business Certification Requirements
The Supplier Diversity Program offers specialized business certifications for a variety of small and diverse businesses. Our mission is to create equal opportunities for businesses of all kinds in Boston.
After your business is certified with our office, we’ll include you in any outreach efforts we make for City projects. We can also connect you to resources offered inside and outside of the City.
Through the information below, you can find out:
- what type of business certifications you qualify for, and
- what documents you need to include in your application.
Still have questions? Contact:
Supplier and Workforce Diversity
1 City Hall Square
Room 703Boston, MA 02201
Eligibility criteria / required documentsEligibility criteria / required documents
SMALL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (SBE)
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) considers a business “small” if a 3-year average of its gross receipts of sales falls within the guidelines established by the SBA for the North American Industrial Classification System Codes.
- The City considers a business “small” if its gross receipts of sales are 75% or less of the dollar amount established by SBA, by trade.
SMALL LOCAL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (SLBE)
- Must be a Small Business Enterprise, as defined above.
- In the case of a sole proprietorship, the person's principal place of business and residence are located in the City, or a majority of his/her employees are residents in the City.
- In the case of a partnership, a majority of the partners reside in the City, or the principal place of business of the partnership is located in the City, or a majority of the employees of the partnership reside in the City.
- In the case of a corporation, a majority of its shareholders are residents of the City, or the principal place of business of the corporation is located in the City, or a majority of the employees of the corporation are residents of the City.
VETERAN-OWNED SMALL BUSINESS
- Must have a certification letter from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (MBE)
Must be a business organization owned by one or more minority group members as follows:
- The business must be at least 51% owned by minority group members.
- The minority owners must show that they have control over management.
- The firm has not been solely established for the purpose of taking advantage of a special program which has been developed to help minority-owned businesses.
WOMAN BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (WBE)
Must be an business organization which is owned by one or more women as follows:
- The business must be at least 51% owned by a woman.
- The woman owner must show that she has control over management.
- The firm has not been solely established for the purpose of taking advantage of a special program which has been developed to help woman-owned businesses.
All certifications require the following:
- Copies of full Federal Tax Returns from the last three (3) years, OR the full duration of operation if the business has operated for less than three (3) years
- If your business has not yet filed a Federal Tax Return, please include a financial statement, including balance sheet and income statements.
- Current resumes for company’s principal stakeholders showing relevant experience
- Documentation of how owners acquired the business. Please provide at least one (1) of the following:
- Canceled check
- Bank receipt
- Stock certificate
- Loan agreement
- Government issued form of identification for each business owner such as a driver's license, passport, passport card or birth certificate.
Additional documentation is required for the following business types.
Articles of Incorporations and any/all amendments
Corporation Bylaws and any/all amendments
- Business Certificate from local City Clerk's Office
Partnership agreement, including buy-out rights and profit sharing agreement
Limited Liability Company:
Articles of Organization
Operating Agreement (if applicable)
- Federal Tax Exempt Form 501 c(3)
- Articles of incorporation and all amendments thereto
- List of Board of Directors or Trustees and ethnic and gender affiliation of each Board or Trustee member
After you find out what certifications you qualify for and get your documents together, you can apply online:GET CERTIFIED