Certification FAQs


Who/what is National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (NMSDC)?

Chartered in 1972, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is the premier minority business advocacy organization in the U.S. SCMSDC operates and adheres to standards under an affiliation agreement with NMSDC, and By-laws and policies adopted by SCMSDC Board of Directors. NMSDC’s vast network includes 24 regional Councils nationwide, more than 3,500 of the world’s largest publicly, privately, and foreign-owned corporations, and more than 18,000 MBEs. NMSDC’s objective has been the parity for minority-owned business firms within the free enterprise system. Please visit www.nmsdc.org to learn more.

Who is a member corporation and why is it important that suppliers be certified in order to compete to do business with them?

A member is a large majority-owned corporation that pays local dues to a regional Council in which it is headquartered (local member), or that pays NMSDC dues and allocates service points to regional Councils whose services they utilize (national member). Among other things, Members support councils by sponsoring, promoting and participating in events and activities; volunteering their expertise and time; and hosting Council meetings and council activities. An MBE certified through SCMSDC is NOT a member.

Majority corporations are assured of NMSDC/SCMSDC certification quality. Our MBE certification is the most widely accepted ethnic certification due to our stringent certification requirements.

Members have supplier diversity programs that require valid MBE ownership (certification) to receive credit toward their supplier diversity goals.

Members source the NMSDC/SCMSDC MBE certified database for the diverse products and services MBEs offer, as well as for ethnic diversity.

Members want to contribute to the economic viability of MBEs and the communities in which they are located.

What qualifies me to become MBE Certified by SCMSDC?

Your company must be at least 51% owned, by an ethnic minority or a group of ethnic minorities and hold the highest titled position(s) in the company.

The minority owner(s) who make up the 51% or more ownership must be U.S. citizens. Green Card holders/resident aliens are not eligible for certification.

Your company must be headquartered in Southern California, excluding San Diego, and in SCMSDC’s service area.

Ability to provide required documents as per NMSDC guidelines.

Submittal of non-refundable processing fee.

What is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) as defined by NMSDC?

An MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) is a for-profit enterprise, regardless of size, physically located in the U.S. or its trust territories, which is 51% owned, managed, operated and controlled by an ethnic minority or a group of ethnic minorities on a day-to-day basis.


What is an ethnic minority?

Ethnic Minorities are defined as:

  • Asian Pacific American Origin in Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam the US Trust Territory and Pacific Island, the Northern Marinas Islands, Laos Kampuchea (Cambodia), Taiwan, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Federated States of Micronesia.
  • African American
  • Hispanic American Citizens with origin in Spain or Portugal are NOT eligible
  • Native American American Indianan, Eskimos, Aleuts and Native Hawaiians
  • Asian Indian Origins in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh
What groups are NOT considered ethnic minorities?
As per our affiliation agreement with NMSDC, we do not consider the following groups for MBE Certification:
  • Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)
  • Asia Minor Region (Peninsula between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean)
  • Persian Gulf (Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia)
  • Europe
  • Northern Africa (Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria)

For questions regarding this matter, contact info@nmsdc.org.

What is SCMSDCs service territory?
















*San Diego County is serviced by Pacific Southwest MSDC.




Certification Process

What is the process for Certification?
The process includes a desk audit by certification specialist to ensure your application is complete, with all required documents. Staff will contact you if any document is missing, and your application will be processed when all requested documents are submitted.

When staff’s desk audit is completed, your application and support materials are assembled for review by our Board Certification Committee. The Committee may request additional information, or approve the package. Upon Committee approval, a site visit is conducted. After the site visit, your application is submitted to the Board of Directors for ratification. You should receive your certificate within two weeks of Board ratification.

How long is Certification valid and how do I recertify?
MBE certification is valid for one year from the issue date.  You must Recertify every year in order to maintain your certified status.
What is a Site Visit?
A site visit is a physical tour and on-site interview with your company’s owner(s), conducted by a trained Staff member, at the address provided in your application.



I am a Native American, how do I prove my ethnicity?
You must submit your tribal roll number or Blood Decree from your tribal registry, or an affidavit from someone in your tribal community who can vouch for your active membership in that tribe.

Why do you ask for my financial information and what documents are required?

Financial information is critical in validating a company’s business legitimacy and ownership and is kept confidential. Depending on your business structure, you must provide:

  • If a Corporation: Income Statement, Balance Sheet and a Corporation Income tax return (1120, 11205) including all schedules for one year preceding the year of application
  • If a Sole Proprietorship: Income Statement, Balance Sheet and a Proprietor, IRS tax form (1040, schedule C)
  • If a Partnership: Income Statement, Balance Sheet and a Partnership Income tax return (1065)
  • If a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC): Income Statement and Balance Sheet
I have yet to file my income taxes this year. What should I do?
You may submit a copy of your IRS tax form 7004 extending your tax filing date, with your previous year’s income tax statement.
What are NAICS codes?
NAICS (North American Industry Classification Systems) codes identify and classify your specific business industry category. Visit www.naics.com/search.htm for your appropriate product and service code(s).