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Due to the volume of certification applications, the average processing time for local applications is 6 – 8 months. We are working diligently to process your application and appreciate your patience.

Office of Business Opportunity

Certifications & Designations - Certification Process

Due to the volume of certification applications, the average processing time for local applications is 6 – 8 months. We are working diligently to process your application and appreciate your patience.

Before applying for certification, please review the certification requirements (.pdf, updated November 2015).

Certification Process:

Pre-Certification Workshop consists of explaining the certification process, application and supporting documents. Applicants at that time ask detailed and specific questions.

Ensure application is completed, answering all required questions. Submit completed application together with all requested documents through online portal.

Screening files assigned to me consist of:

a. Verifying documents are in the file and
b. Noting which documents are not in the file
c. Drafting a document request letter to applicant
d. Checking the Texas Secretary of State website to verify company’s “good-standing” status
e. Calling applicants to request documents
f. Reading corporate documents, resumes, invoices, stock certificates, etc. to prepare questions for site visit and also determine if additional documentation should be requested.
g. requesting site visit and other information from other DBE certifying agencies.

Calling applicant’s references to verify work performed by firm.

a. Reviewing tax returns on company applying for certification and all affiliates
b. Reviewing the Texas Secretary of State website to verify if all affiliate returns are on file
c. Reviewing the tax returns for discrepancies (percentages of ownership filed on K-1 vs. what is reflected on the stock certificate, etc.)
d. Making sure the company does not exceed the SBA size standard.

a. Interviewing the applicant on all information as it pertains to the company since its inception
b. Touring the facility to verify space, personnel, etc.

Reviewing files to ensure applicant firm’s eligibility in accordance to the program application submitted. Committee review ends with a decision to certify the firm or issue an tentative denial with an option to appeal.

Approved firms are published in the MWSBE/PDBE/DBE/ACDBE directory (Houston.mwdbe.com). Tentative denial letters are mailed via certified mail.


Basic Requirements:

  • The minority or female business owner must possess at least 51% ownership, management, and control of the business enterprise.
  • The minority, female, or small business owner must have the training and expertise to perform the work, and where required, have a license or certificate issued in his or her name.
  • The business must be for profit, independent, and currently functioning.
  • The business must maintain a significant and local presence in Harris, Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, or Waller County.
  • The business must meet the Small Business Administration Size Standard(s) for its industry classification(s).
  • Persons with Disabilities Business Enterprise (PDBE) certification require applicants to submit a Disability Affidavit and an accompanying letter from a State of Texas certified medical doctor. The person with a disability will be required to meet the same criteria for certification as MWBE/SBE applicants. 
  • For Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification, applicant must have a personal net worth of less than $1,320,000 – excluding value of home and ownership interest in the business. There is no local presence requirement.

Certification Application and Forms   Certification Overview