Oklahoma doesn’t have a single, overall certification program for minority- and woman-owned businesses, also known as disadvantaged businesses, but there are certifications available.
The state’s Small and Minority Business Coordinator Ken Talley conducted a workshop at the Moore Norman Technology Center’s Franklin Road Campus last week as part of a series of workshops sponsored by the Norman Chamber of Commerce.
“This is an ongoing program we have with our business development community,” said Chamber President Scott Martin.
The workshop was sponsored by Thompson Pool and Patio and included lunch. Talley works for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
“I work with small businesses in general,” Talley said. “There are two of us who take questions day in and day out from people who want to start their own business.”
Talley is also the liaison for minority or disadvantaged businesses.
“Our agency is more of an informational point for large and small businesses,” he said.
Talley said business owners should be careful not to give out social security or other private information to people soliciting that information for “grant programs” to benefit small businesses.
“We’re not aware of anybody that has a grant program,” he said.
Talley said there are several programs available for disadvantaged businesses, and owners may decide to be certified with several, based on which relate best to desired customer markets.
“There is, in the private sector, a program called the National Minority Supplier Development Council,” Talley said.
The NMSDC and its affiliates solicit major corporations and large companies to purchase more products from minority-owned businesses. To qualify for that listing, the owner must own 51 percent or more of the business and be a member of a minority such as African American/Black, Native American, Hispanic/Latino American, Asian-Pacific American or Asian-Indian American.
In Oklahoma, the affiliate is the Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council out of Austin, Texas. Minority business owners in Oklahoma seeking the Minority Business Enterprise certification should go to SMSDC.org or call 512-659-2160.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which gets much of its funding from the federal government, has a “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise” certification for minority- and women-owned businesses. The minority or female owner must hold 51 percent or more of the ownership, have full operating control of the business and provide a service, product or material needed for transportation projects.
Once a business is certified, its information will be entered into the DBE Certified Directory Database. The bidders on projects use certified DBE(s) to meet federal guidelines, Talley said.
Federal contracting and the Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration provides certifications to eligible businesses that want to do business with the federal departments and agencies.
“Oklahoma does, for its size, have a lot of federal activity,” Talley said.
Available certifications include the Small Disadvantaged Business certification which is a self-certification program for businesses that meet criteria for being socially and economically disadvantaged. The certification helps businesses get contracting and sub-contracting work form large, federal prime contractors.
SDB requires entering the business in the System for Award Management (SAM) database. Learn more at sam.gov.
The Business Development Certifications are for disadvantaged small businesses that qualify for sole source, negotiated contracts with federal agencies, while Historical Underutilized Business Zones denote business located in economically challenged areas.
The minority owner’s net worth (excluding the assets of the business and primary home residence) cannot exceed certain amounts. To learn more see sba.gov or call 405-600-8000.
Oklahoma Department of Commerce
ODOC provides a women-owned businesses certification. Learn more at Okcommerce.gov/certifications or call 405-815-5143.
Programs that support Indian-owned businesses providing products and serves to tribal nations fall under the Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance. Preference is given to businesses owned by tribal members. In Oklahoma those programs include the Cherokee Nation TERO, cherokeetero.com, 918-453-5335 and Muskogee (Creek) National TERO, mcn-nsn.gov/services/tero, 918-549-2964 or 918-549-2966.
Preferred tribal vendor or supplier programs give prefernce to tribal members. In Oklahoma those programs are Chickasaw Nation Preferred Vendor Program, chickasaw.net/Services/Preferred-Vendor-Program.aspx, 580-559-0728. Choctaw Nation Preferred Supplier Program, preferredsuppliers.choctawnation.com, 580-924-8280, ext. 2889 or 2899.
For more information about minority owned or other business programs, call Tally at 405-815-5218 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.