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NJ waives $100 certification fee for small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses

NJ waives the $100 filing fee to become certified as a Small-, Minority-, Woman-, and Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise indefinitely.

Women, minorities and veterans face unique challenges when it comes to opening businesses and accessing capital. But it just got a bit easier for them in New Jersey. 

In the past year, small business owners have struggled greatly to keep their businesses open and running in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses have been hit harder than most. Not only do these groups face greater struggles staying open, but they also face obstacles when it comes to opening their businesses and accessing capital. 

Luckily, for New Jersey business owners, the process just got a little bit easier. This month, starting last week on June 1st, NJ waived the $100 fee to certify as a small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned business. 

This plan to waive the certification fee was announced last month during National Small Business Month, by State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio who said, “We are kicking off National Small Business Week by opening the door wide for small-, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses who are looking to do business with the state.”  

“The Treasury is continuously striving to find ways to make doing business with the state easier and more intuitive, especially when it comes to businesses looking to get their foot in the door and pursue contracting opportunities with the state.” 

Businesses can now apply for certification through the Treasury’s online portal. Additionally, NJ business owners may register their business for as many certification categories as they are eligible. 

Certification is an important step for any small business as it provides documentation of a business’ status and allows businesses to participate in select set-aside or goal-based contracting initiatives offered by state agencies. 

“Waiving the fee associated with minority-, women- and veteran-owned business certification removes a monetary barrier to accessing the state’s supply chain that is real for many minority, women, LGBTQ and veteran business owners,” said Chief Diversity Officer Hester Agudosi. 

“As a New Jersey-certified MWBE, both public- and private-sector organizations and firms have access to your profile for considering solicitations for prime and subcontract opportunities.”

Certified businesses are eligible to participate in the Small Business Enterprise Set-Aside Program, which sets a goal of awarding 25% of state contracting and purchase orders to small businesses, and the Disabled Veteran-Owned Set Aside Program, which awards 3% of state contracting and purchase orders to businesses that are owned and operated by service-disabled veterans. 

Additionally, the state’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is in the process of conducting a statewide disparity study, which may allow for additional set-aside programs to be authorized in the future for small, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned businesses. 

These various programs and waiving the fee to certify are a step in the right direction toward dismantling the barriers and challenges stacked against small, minority-, women-, and veteran business owners.

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supplier for a Fortune 500 company small business

Becoming a supplier for a Fortune 500 company like Walmart or Target

Becoming a supplier for a Fortune 500 company can take your company to the next level of expansion and growth. However, you need to master some steps in the process to achieve this goal.

This is an excerpt of the article by Rkapur published by Camino Financial on March 23rd, 2019.

supplier for a Fortune 500 company small business

Preparing your business to become a supplier for a Fortune 500 company is an important task (Photo credit: Unsplash You-X-Ventures)

 

The Fortune 500 is an annual list compiled and published by Fortune magazine that ranks 500 of the largest United States corporations by total revenue for their respective fiscal years. Among these large companies, you’ll find Walmart, Apple, ExxonMobil, General Motors, or CVS Health, to name just a few.

Many Fortune 500 companies have Supplier Diversity Programs (SDP), geared towards giving subcontracting opportunities to small and minority-owned businesses.

But becoming a supplier for a Fortune 500 company, to one or more of the largest companies in the U.S. isn’t easy. The process of signing the contract involves dedication and hard work.

It would also require you to learn how the company that you are targeting operates. What are the conditions for getting approved as a supplier? How can you navigate the bureaucracy that you will invariably face? You will also need to understand how vendor agreements work and the steps that you need to take to enter into one.

However, remember that while the process can be complicated, the goal of signing supplier contracts with big corporations isn’t impossible to achieve. Remember that most probably the corporation that you will be dealing with could have an SDP as mentioned before and, if you meet the eligibility criteria, this could help you get on to the approved list of vendors.

Continue reading the original version here: How to get supplier contracts with fortune 500 companies

Walmart

supplier for a Fortune 500 company

Monitoring inventory is essential to a long lasting relationship with the company (Photo credit: Unsplash Annie Spratt)

This giant multinational retail corporation is the world’s largest company by revenue. Walmart has over 100,000 suppliers. Many of these are multi-billion dollar companies themselves, but Walmart also has numerous small businesses in its list of approved suppliers.

The first step that you need to take to enter into a supplier contract with Walmart is to study its supplier checklist. Do you have all the information that you will need? After you have gathered the required details, you can go to this page to begin the qualification process.

Target

Minneapolis-headquartered Target is the eighth-largest retailer in the United States. The company is associated with over 150,000 independent retailers across the country. If you think you have a product that will attract sufficient buyer interest, you could submit your product information to Mr. Checkout, a network of distributors that services independent retailers.

You can also register on Target’s supplier diversity program if your business is at least 51% owned and controlled by women, ethnic minorities, or specific other categories.

Costco

Costco Wholesale Corporation runs a chain of immensely successful membership-only warehouse clubs. The company’s supplier diversity program caters to African American, Asia-Pacific, and Hispanic American citizens among other categories.

You can also get your product into Costco by providing your product information and requesting the company to consider your application.

You might be interested: Veteran Entrepreneur Portal a direct line to entrepreneurship

supplier for a Fortune 500 company

Quality standards and compliance with state and federal regulations are essential to become a supplier for a Fortune 500 company (Photo credit: Unsplash Keji-Gao)

The Bottom Line

Supplier contracts with Fortune 500 companies can propel small firms to the next level. Of course, it isn’t easy to win a contract with a big company. The process requires you to learn how to highlight your skills in a manner that gives the buyer the confidence to deal with you.

However, if you do manage to get your firm on the approved list of suppliers of a giant corporation, it could be the beginning of a new phase of growth for your business. Give it your best effort, and remember to be patient. If you are successful in winning a contract from a Fortune 500 company, the rewards can be tremendous.

 

 

 

certified women-owned business

Women-owned small biz federal contract program, friend or foe?

Maria_Contreras_Sweet_portrait

Maria Contreras-Sweet, SBA Administrator

Are you a certified minority or women-owned business? And what does the certification mean for your business? Is your business qualified for minority or women-owned certification just because you are a woman or a minority?

I have asked these and other similar questions to several Latinas business owners and few of them were indeed certified or knew the answers.

According to the Small Business Administration, President Obama’s signature of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2015 is a critical move for women-owned small businesses to earn their fair share of the federal marketplace and gain economic opportunities.

Although legislation existed since 2000, implementation has been a promise since President Obama took office. Finally, it was implemented in April 2011. Section 825 of the NDAA authorizes federal agencies to award sole-source contracts to women-owned small businesses eligible for the Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program, giving women the same level of access to the federal contracting marketplace as other disadvantaged groups.

“Women entrepreneurs are growing at an unprecedented rate.  More than one in four U.S. companies is owned or led by a woman, and these firms employ more than 7.8 million Americans.  Passage of the women’s small business provision in NDAA is a win for women entrepreneurs and a win for America.  This will help women-owned small businesses gain equal access to federal contracting as they add jobs to the U.S. economy.  A big thank you to the leaders of the Senate and House Small Business and Armed Services Committees for helping make this a reality,” said the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet.Our economy won't work

Currently, women entrepreneurs are receiving less than five percent of federal contracts.  This new provision will give the SBA a new tool to continue to open doors for more women entrepreneurs in the federal and commercial contract space.    SBA’s efforts include aggressively offering support for the Women-Owned Small Business Contract Program, which aims to expand federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses.

Tina Dante, CEO/President, The Metamorphosis Group, shared on the LinkedIn group Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), “This has been a long time coming, and I heartily applaud it! HOWEVER, I sure hope there is oversight on this, because this also brings out the worst in people. It already is a challenge to compete with other supposedly “woman” owned businesses in the federal market, when we all know that the ‘woman’ is nowhere to be found….the real front person is a husband or a close friend. Let’s hope that the SBA keeps tight reins on this program.”

Vilma Betancourt-O’Day, President at Women Wrule, also clarifies on the same discussion: “I am a Certified Site Visitor for the National Women Business Owner’s Corporation (NWBOC), an approved 3rd party WBE certifier, a WBE/Minority/Small Business Certification consultant and an experienced Government Contractor (Federal, State, Local Municipalities. According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO)’s report on the WOSB Certification Program, two groups representing WOSBs stated that Contracting Officers prefer 3rd party certified WOSBs/EDWOSBs as the review process is less tedious for them. Fraud has already been an issue with this program as there is little to no oversight on the Self-Certified WOSBs/EDWOSBs,” she says.

And she continues: “Based on my experience as a Government Contractor, if a business entity does not have sufficient money to spend on marketing its services and/or products to the Government (and the WBE Certification is a huge marketing tool), they’re not prepared to sell to the Government. You must have enough cash to cover your payroll and other expenses incurred while working on the contract, until you get paid by the Government. It takes lots of money to get into the Federal arena. The Agencies want to make sure that you have enough cash in the bank so you don’t default on the contract.”

“Bottom line,” she adds, “Any WBE that wants to grow their business with Government or Corporate Supplier Diversity contracting, should invest in themselves and their businesses with a WBE/Minority/Small Business Certification. It must be part of their annual marketing budget.”

What is your experience regarding this topic?  Share with our community your story so we can learn form each other!

WOSB Program Third Party CertificationUpdated

The SBA has approved four organizations to act as Third Party Certifiers under the WOSB Program. The four organizations and contact information are:

Women Owned Small Businesses may elect to use the services of a Third Party Certifier to demonstrate eligibility for the program, or they may self-certify using the process outlined here on this website. SBA will only accept third party certification from these entities, and firms are still subject to the same eligibility requirements to participate in the program.

Please note, at the request of WBENC, SBA has approved WBENC only for the certification of WOSBs and not for the certification of Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs.