MBE Certification FAQs

The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is a network of 23 regional councils affiliated with NMSDC. Its mission is to advance the economic development of ethnic minority-owned businesses. The NMSDC network of councils serve more than 1,700 major corporations and over 17,000 NMSDC-certified MBEs.

The national organization, the NMSDC, has existed for 50 years and has not wavered from its vision to achieve economic equity for ethnic minority-owned business enterprises. SCMSDC celebrates its 50th year in 2023.

Before you begin the online application with us here at www.scmsdc.org , you should determine which of the 23 affiliate councils you should submit your application. Visit www.nmsdc.org and click “About Us,” then “Affiliate Network” to find out which council serves your business. Each affiliate council conducts NMSDC-certification for applicants headquartered in their service area. If your business is headquartered in the thirteen (13) Southern California counties, spanning north of the Mexican border up to and including Fresno County, with the exception of San Diego County, you must apply with our council.

Your MBE certification is a national MBE certification accepted by all councils in the NMSDC network, which means you receive the same basic services from each council. For more intimate, personal and or customized services, MBEs should consider subscription service certification with other councils.



  • United States citizens.
  • Must be a for-profit enterprise and physically located in the USA or its trust territories.
  • At least 51% ethnic minority–owned and must manage and control the company’s daily business operations. An ethnic minority is defined as an individual who is at least 25% Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, African-American/Black, Latin American/Hispanic, or Native American, Native Hawaiian/Alaska Native. Please click here for additional details
SCMSDC coverage regions


  • Applications are processed in the priority order received
  • The Certification process can take up to 90 days, upon receipt of a complete, accurate application, along with the required documentation.
  • NMSDC-certification eligibility is established via a combination of document reviews, screenings, interviews and site visits. Ownership, in the case of a publicly owned business, means that at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more ethnic minorities.
  • An initial review of your application and documents is conducted for completeness.
  • If documents are missing, you will receive notice which documents need to be submitted.
  • Delay in responding to communications extends the length of time to process your application and places your application in priority order of MBEs who were requested to submit missing documents.
  • Once the application and all required documents are received, the Certification staff assembles completed applications and calls a meeting of the Certification
  • Compliance Committee (Board Certification Committee).
  • The Committee reviews MBE Certification applications and may request additional documents.
  • This Committee approves the application before submittal to the Council’s full Board for review and ratification.
  • Upon approval of your application, you will be notified by email and receive a pdf MBE certificate.
  • If your application is not approved, you may submit a letter of appeal.


Certification Process 

Q. How much does MBE certification cost?
A: MBE certification fees correspond to an MBE’s annual gross revenue, based on the most recent Federal business tax return on record.

Fees are non-refundable. Please click here to determine fees charged.

Q. How long is my certification valid and when should I renew my certification?
A: Your MBE certification is valid for one year. You receive 30- , 60- , 90-day reminders prior to expiration of your certification. You may initiate your recertification process as early as 90 days prior to your expiration date, without affecting your anniversary expiration date. Early recertification ensures your certification is renewed on time. For further details, please click here to review “Application Process Road Map.”

Q. How long does the certification process take?
A: The certification process may take 30 to 90 days upon receipt of a complete application with all required documents attached.

The length of time to process certification depends on whether the application and the required documentation are complete and accurate.   The process time increases when the application is not complete and required documents are missing.  Applications are further delayed when applicants do not respond to Staff’s request for documents that are missing or may be needed for clarification. 

Click here for additional details.

Q. Does SCMSDC provide help with completing the application?
A: Yes, staff assists in completing the application. However, applicants are strongly encouraged
to read the comprehensive certification information provided on our website and to attend our monthly “Pre-Certification Workshop” conducted every second Tuesday of the month. The workshop walks applicants through the process and is a forum for participants to ask questions.

Q. If my application is denied, is there an appeal process?
A: Any applicant whose application for Certification or Recertification is denied and such denial affirmed, may after one year, reply for Certification upon the submission of information indicating a change in status or other circumstances that prevented Certification or which caused a denial or termination of Certification.


Q. What are the eligibility requirements for MBE certification?
A:  -Firm must be a for-profit business
-51% qualifying applicant(s) must be a US citizen
-51% qualifying applicant(s) must be an ethnic minority
-Business is headquartered in SCMSDC’s service area of 13 California counties (excluding San Diego)

Q. Who does the National MSDC accept as an ethnic minority?
A: 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 and Native American. Please find the definition of an ethnic minority here.

Q. I am a resident alien/green card holder, am I eligible for MBE Certification?
A: Resident aliens or green cardholders do not qualify to be NMSDC-certified.

Q. Am I eligible for certification if I recently started my business?
A: NMSDC certification guidelines do not preclude emerging or start-up businesses from being certified, as long as they meet the NMSDC-certification criteria and provide the required documentation.


Q. What documents do I need to re-certify?
A: If ownership has not changed, the documents required to renew (re-certify) your MBE status are your previous year’s Business Federal Tax Return and the signed ‘Recertification Affidavit.’  If the business tax return for the previous year has not been filed as of April 15th, in the current year, a tax return extension form 7004 is required.  The Council may request other documents.

Q. What are the fees for recertification?
A: Recertification fees correspond to the applicant’s gross annual sales based on the most recent business tax return on record. Please click here for further details.

Q. Where do I find the Declaration of Certification of Minority Status when re-certifying?
A: Under the “Documentation” section of the application you can find the affidavit to download under the “Instructions” portion by reading bullet point number 2.

Download the affidavit


Q. What is the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)?
A: The National Minority Supplier Development Council is comprised of 24 Regional Councils, with 12,000 minority businesses, and over 300 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 NMSDC here.

Q. How do I obtain a Certified MBE logo to use for my company’s marketing collateral?
A: To obtain a “Certified by NMSDC” logo, please log in to your profile after your application has been approved.  There you will access the most current NMSDC logo.

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

  • Change in ownership, management and control of operations

  • Relocation of a business

  • Change of products or services

Q. If I become certified through SCMSDC, will I also be certified through the National MSDC?
A: Yes, the certification is a national certification that is recognized throughout the US.

Q. Does SCMSDC certify women-owned businesses?
A: SCMSDC certifies both male and female ethnic minority-owned businesses.  Non-ethnic women owned businesses are certified by WBENC (Women Business Enterprise National Council).  Visit WBENC here.

Q. What is a DBE and how can I apply for that certification?

A: DBE stands for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and is a certification for for-profit small businesses that are owned, operated, and controlled at least 51%, by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. For certification services to obtain DBE status, visit the CUCP (California Unified Certification Program) website.

Q. How do I stay up to date with what SCMSDC is doing?

A: All SCMSDC constituents, Certified MBEs, and Non-Certified entrepreneurs are invited to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, CONNECT. Please see past editions and sign up here.