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How Is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Defined?

Minority Business EnterpriseA Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) may include individuals defined as a minority such as African-Americans, Hispanic- Americans, Native Americans, and Asian- Americans. The Minority Business Development Agency, part of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, provides clear guidelines for establishing a business as an official MBE.

A business can identify itself as a Minority Business Enterprise. However, the state, city, or sometimes a federal agency, must certify that the business is in fact a MBE. The National Minority Supplier Development Council often handles the task of minority certification.

The overall goal of programs designed for MBEs is to encourage the development and sustain the growth of minority-owned businesses. The resources provided by the government enable more minorities to establish and maintain businesses for economic improvement and future generational success. Each state establishes guidelines for programs for MBEs and some private organizations do as well.

Qualifying as a MBE may give the business owner access to federal procurement markets and qualification for various projects. Additionally, there are various educational programs as well as types of financial assistance, such as grants and loans, available to minority-owned businesses. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers these under the 8(a) program, and also serves to educate minority business owners on the accessibility of additional resources.

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