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Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Certification Program

New Application Fees Free HOW TO APPLY
Renewal Cycle 5 Years OPERATING & RENEWING


City Small Business Services, Department of

The City of New York Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Program expands opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs to access government contracts and grow their businesses. When eligible businesses are certified with the City they become more visible to prospective buyers, including City agencies and private contractors seeking to purchase goods and services.

There are several important benefits to becoming a certified M/WBE with the City of New York, including listing in the NYC Online Directory of Certified Businesses, a public website which promotes certified businesses. The directory contains more than 10,000 businesses from diverse industries including engineering, graphic design, catering, IT consulting, childcare, accounting, metal fabrication, plumbing, event planning, and many more.

Other benefits of certification include access to networking events, customized courses and targeted consultations.

A business seeking M/WBE certification must meet the following eligibility requirements:

1. The business is legally authorized to transact business in New York State.

2. The business has been in operation (i.e., selling goods and/or services) for at least one year.

3. At least 51% of the business is owned, operated and controlled by a U.S. Citizen(s) or U.S. permanent resident(s) who are women and/or members of designated minority groups including:

  • Black
  • Hispanic
  • Asian-Pacific
  • Asian-Indian
  • Native American

4. The business has one of the following legal structures:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Corporation
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Limited Partnership (LP)
  • General Partnership

Not for Profit Organizations are ineligible.
5. The business' principal office, place of business or headquarters is located within the five boroughs of New York City or in one of the following counties of New York and New Jersey:

  • Nassau
  • Putnam
  • Rockland
  • Westchester
  • Suffolk
  • Bergen
  • Hudson
  • Passaic

Note: A business located outside of New York City and outside of the designated counties noted above may qualify for M/WBE certification if the applicant can prove a substantial presence in the geographic market of New York City. Substantial presence can be demonstrated by providing documentation that satisfies at least two of the following conditions:

  • Maintenance of a bank account for at least six (6) months in the City, or engagement in other banking transactions in the City, and/or
  • Possession of a license (i.e., by the business or by at least one owner) issued by a New York City agency supporting its ability to transact business in the City, and/or
  • Proof of business transactions, or attempted business transactions, in or with the City more than once over the past three (3) years.

Do you have questions about your eligibility for NYC M/WBE certification? Please email the SBS Certification Unit at Be sure to include your full name, phone number and email address in your email. An SBS Certification Analyst will review and respond to your inquiry.

The M/WBE program strives to promote fairness and equity by enabling M/WBEs to improve their capacity, connect to opportunities, and positively contribute to the local economy. Learn more about SBS resources for M/WBEs.

The M/WBE program was established through the enactment of Local Law 129 in 2005. The City's M/WBE certification program is administered in accordance with standards set forth in Chapter 11 of Title 66 of the Rules of the City of New York. View the regulations that govern the City of New York's M/WBE Program here.

NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity

1 Liberty Plaza, 11th Floor

New York NY 10006
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