FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CERTIFICATION PROCESS

How can I apply for Ethnic Minority Certification?To apply for certification as a Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE), read our Certification Criteria and Required Documents as it covers all aspects of the certification process.

How can I apply for Minority-Owned Business Certification if I don't have Internet or email?Since the certification application is only online, companies need an email address and internet access to apply.

Since the certification application is only online, companies need an email address and internet access to apply.PSWMSDC's role is to review the eligibility of the verification applications, process the application, submit them review by the Certification Committee. After they have been reviewed/approved by the Certification Committee, then they are submitted to the Board of Directors for approval.

How long does the certification process take?The certification process typically takes between 45-60 days (and, in some cases, up to 90 days) depending on when the application is submitted and the completeness of supporting documentation.

How much does certification cost?There are several factors that determine the fees for certification. Please view the Certification Fees page for more information.

Does PSWMSDC certify women-owned businesses?PSWMSDC only certifies minority women-owned business enterprises. Click here for certification criteria. For any other women-owned business please visit WBENC (Women Business Enterprise National Council).

Does PSWMSDC certify small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs)?We certify small disadvantaged businesses if they are minority-owned. Review the Certification & Required documents page. If you do not meet PSWMSDC criteria, visit the Small Disadvantaged Businesses website.

Does PSWMSDC certify Joint Ventures?Yes, under specific circumstances. Contact us via email at certifications@pswmsdc.org or call 602.495.9950 for more information.

During the certification process, does PSWMSDC require a site visit? What if you have a home-based business?Yes, all companies that go through the certification process are required to allow PSWMSDC to perform a site visit after the application has been reviewed by the Certification Committee.

How long is my certification valid and when do I have to renew?Certification is valid is valid for one (1) year. You are required to renew each year. You can find the date that your certification expires on your electronic certificate or online profile. You will receive notification that your certification is about to expire, but PSWMSDC is not responsible for ensuring that an MBE gets recertified. Recertification remains the sole responsibility of each MBE. We recommend that you start the renewal process sixty (60) to ninety (90) days before your expiration deadline. Please allow for four (4) weeks of processing time. Learn more about the Certification Renewal process.

If I apply for certification and I am denied or decertified, is there an appeal process?If you believe that you have been denied certification or have been decertified in error, you may file an appeal with the PSWMSDC Board of Directors within thirty (30) days of your denial or termination. You may NOT introduce new information during the appeal process. The appeal must be signed and dated. The Board of Directors will review your case and make a recommendation to the PSWMSDC President/CEO, who will notify you in writing of the Board of Directors’ decision. Please note that the Board of Directors' decision is final.

If I apply for certification and I am denied, can I re-apply?Any applicant whose certification application is denied may reapply after one (1) year. You will be required to submit information and documents that reflect a change in status and resolve the issues or circumstances that resulted in your initial denial.

If my company was once certified through PSWMSDC but my certification expired. Do I have to submit a new application?If your certification expired you must go through the application process from the beginning, just as if this is your first time applying.

Who has access to my application?The Certification Committee made up of volunteers from our Corporate Members, and WRMSDC staff has access to the application. All staff and committee members are required to sign confidentiality agreements with the council before receiving access to applications and files. Only certification staff has regular, ongoing access to applications, which is tightly controlled by the Director of Certification. Applications, once received, are not released to anyone under any circumstances and may only be viewed by committee members and staff on WRMSDC office premises.

Once your application has been approved by the Board of Directors, Corporate Members throughout the country will have access to your basic profile information, which includes your company’s name, contacts, product and service description, and contact information. Details about your company’s financial position and other sensitive information are not released.

What does PSWMSDC/the Certification Committee look for in an application?The Certification Committee reviews minority ownership, managerial operations and control. “Ownership by minority individuals” means the business is at least 51% owned by such individuals or, in the case of a corporation or an LLC, such individuals own at least 51% of the shares and control the corporation’s Board of Directors or the LLC’s Board of Managers. The Committee ensures that the companies meet the certification criteria. For more information please visit our Certification Criteria webpage.

CERTIFICATION QUALIFICATIONS & ELIGIBILITY

Who qualifies for Ethnic Minority Certification through PSWMSDC?Who qualifies for Ethnic Minority Certification through PSWMSDC?

Who does NMSDC accept as an ethnic minority?Ethnic Minority Certification is granted to companies that are owned, operated, and controlled by U.S. citizens who belong to one or more of the following minority groups (to qualify for certification, a minority business owner must provide documentation to support the claim that they possess 1/4 or 25% minimum of the following ethnicities): Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, African- American, Hispanic, Native American.

The NMSDC certifies based on bloodline, not nationality.

Do minority business owners have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for certification?Yes, the companies' owner must be a U.S. citizen either by birth or naturalization and must have the appropriate documentation to prove this. Permanent residents and Green Card holders do not qualify.

Am I eligible for certification if I recently started my business?There is no restriction on how long a business has been in operation, although the company must have verifiable business operations to be certified. Please keep in mind that businesses that benefit most from certification have experience working with major corporations; the capacity to provide goods and services to Fortune 500 corporations or their prime suppliers; broad geographic coverage; and the capacity for growth. If your company does not meet these recommended standards, then PSWMSDC strongly suggests you develop your business and consider applying for certification at a future date.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Why does PSWMSDC ask for so many documents and require applicants to complete such a lengthy application form?All requested documents and application questions are designed to assist PSWMSDC in confirming the following:

1. An ethnic minority owns at least 51% of the firm and is a US citizen.
2. The company applying for certification has an office physically headquartered in Arizona and San Diego County and is authorized to do business in its state.
3. The ethnic minority owner is involved in the day-to-day business and has the appropriate title(s).
4. The ethnic minority is in control of the business (control must be real and absolute).

Do you know of any consultants that I can pay to help me prepare my certification application?We are not affiliated with any firms that offer this service. However, if you have questions about the application or its required documents after reviewing this FAQ list and our Certification Criteria webpage, our Certification Specialist is available to assist you via email at certifications@pswmsdc.org. Additionally, be sure to leverage all available business resources, such as your firm’s legal and accounting teams, your Board of Directors or Board of Managers (if applicable), Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), and the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) offices. In order to expedite your certification, PSWDMSDC suggests that you evaluate your needs before you begin the application process.

What are NAICS Codes?The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) groups establishments into industry sectors based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged. The NAICS is a comprehensive system covering the entire field of economic activities, producing and non-producing. This system replaced the former Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) designations and is utilized by Corporate America, as well as local, state, and federal government entities. During the WRMSDC certification process, you will be required to identify your company’s NAICS designation code(s), as major corporations use them to identify certified MBEs and potential suppliers. If the NAICS codes you select are not precise, your company may not come up when Corporate Members search for suppliers in your industry; this could lead to missed business opportunities.

How can I determine my company's NAICS code(s)?You may locate the NAICS code online at www.naics.com.

What changes would affect my certification status?If a change occurs in your business, it is your responsibility to inform PSWMSDC within thirty (30) days.
The following is a list of common situations:

1. Change in ownership, control, or operations
2. Relocation of a business
3. Change of products or services

May I drop by the PSWMSDC office for an unscheduled visit to discuss the application process or ask for instructions on how to apply?Our team is normally not readily available for a drop-in visit. All certification information is listed on our website for your convenience. After you read our online material, if you still have questions please email certifications@pswmsdc.org or call 602.495.9950.

Why haven't I received any of the frequent communications that PSWMSDC sends out to its constituents?PSWMSDC communicates primarily through email. To ensure that you are receiving our emails please check the email address that you provided in your online profile to see if it is up-to-date. Check your spam or junk email folder and/or add us to your safe sender email list. If you are still not receiving communications from PSWMSDC email us at certifications@pswmsdc.org.

What is the National Minority Development Council?
The National Minority Supplier Development Council is comprised of 23 Regional Councils like PSWMSDC, 12,000 minority businesses, and over 460 National Corporate Members, including most of America’s largest publicly-owned, privately-owned, and foreign-owned companies, as well as universities, hospitals, and other buying institutions. Visit the NMSDC online at www.nmsdc.org.

If I become certified through PSWMSDC, will I also be certified through NMSDC?Certification obtained through PSWMSDC is a national certification valid throughout the U.S. If you have business operations in other geographical areas, however, you may wish to consider subscribing to the services of other Affiliate Councils. PSWMSDC services are available to all PSWMSDC certified MBEs and do not require paying for a separate subscription. Learn more about our Subscription Services.

How do I obtain a Certified MBE logo to use for my company's marketing collateral?To obtain a current "Certified by NMSDC” logo, please contact certifications@pswmsdc.org. You must present your current certification as a record that your company is no less than 45 days from expiration.

QUESTIONS?

If you have additional questions, please contact us via phone at 602.495.9950 or email at certifications@pswmsdc.org.
Note: Primary administration of the NMSDC Central online portal is not managed by the PSWMSDC office.

Arizona Office (Mailing)

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Suite 182-547
Phoenix, Arizona 85041

Contact Us

info@pswmsdc.org
(602) 495-9950

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