Minority Business Enterprise, Women Business Enterprise, Service-Disabled Veteran owned and Small Business Enterprises
In general, to be eligible for the state of Tennessee's Diversity Business Enterprise program and be certified as Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) or Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), Service-Disabled Veteran (SDVBE) or Small Business Enterprise (SBE), persons must be a U.S. Citizen and resident in the state of Tennessee. Out of state firms may receive certification through Reciprocity from their Home.
Eligible businesses seeking certification as a Minority Business Enterprise, Woman Business Enterprise or a Service-disabled Veteran owned business must be independently owned and operated and must also prove that at least 51% of the business is owned and controlled by a minority, a person of female gender or service-disabled owned veteran within the meaning of T.C.A. §12-3-1102(2), (5), (7), (8) and (10) and related guidelines.
Applicants seeking certification as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) must meet with the eligibility guidelines for a small business as established Senate Bill 170 which states in paragraph 12-3-1102 (5) Small Business means ": business that is a continuing, independent, for profit business which performs a commercially useful function with residence in this state and has total gross receipts of no more than ten million dollars ($10,000,000) averaged over a three-year period or employs no more than ninety-nine (99) persons on a full-time basis".
All applications must be properly entered into the electronic Tennessee Go-DBE System.The Go-DBE processing time for certification is 30 - 45 days or less. This standard processing time is based upon the receipt of a completed registration application including all required supporting documentation in the electronic TN Go-DBE diversity software system.
Eligibility Guidelines (in general):
Service-Disabled Veteran owned Business Enterprise (SDVBE)
Eligibility Guidelines (in general):
Tennessee Service-Disabled Veteran means a service-disabled veteran owned business that is a continuing, independent, for profit business located in the state of Tennessee that performs a commercially useful function and:
Small Business Enterprise (SBE)
Applicants seeking certification as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) must meet with the eligibility guidelines for a small business as established Senate Bill 170 which states in paragraph 12-3-1102 (5) Small Business means "a business that is a continuing, independent, for profit business which performs a commercially useful function with residence in this state and has total gross receipts of no more than ten million dollars ($10,000,000) averaged over a three-year period or employs no more than ninety-nine (99) persons on a full-time basis".
Eligibility Guidelines (in general):
On Site Visits and Questionnaire:
The Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise performs on-site visits of firms registering for certification. A Diversity Business Liaison will request an appointment at an agreed upon time to meet with business owners. Diversity firms seeking certification will be required to interview with the Diversity Business Liaison for completion of the On-site visit questionnaire. Additional documentation may be requested during the on-site visit in order to properly assess' ownership and control of the day to day operation of the business.
All applicants must be U.S. Citizens or a Permanent Resident Alien and must reside in the state of Tennessee. Out-of-State persons seeking certification with Go-DBE must possess an existing certification from their home state of residence and submit evidence of their existing certification at the time of registration. A copy of the most recent tax return along with copies of identification is also required for out of state firms.
The Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise is unable to certify out of state firms that do not have an existing certification.
Electronic Notification of Certificate of Certification
Firms that complete the certification process and have met with the program guidelines will receive an electronic notification of their certificate of certification. The Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise will no longer mail hard copy certifications.
Letter notices of certification are no longer issued by the Go-DBE office. Certifications are valid for a period of two years expiring on the date of certification. It is the responsibility of each business owner to maintain an active certification status with the Go-DBE office through the certification period. By accepting the certification from the Go-DBE office, business owners agree to provide any and all information and/or documentation to the Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise upon request.
Certification with the Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise is valid for a period of three (3) years from the date as shown on the original certification letter. A completed and signed electronic Affidavit of No Change is required for renewal of each certification as minority owned, woman owned, service-disabled veteran owned and small business enterprises. The following additional requirements must also be provided depending on diversity status:
The Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise may accept certifications from the U.S. Small Business Administration (8a) Program, Minority Purchasing Councils, and Airport Authorities, state Department of Transportation, Metro Transit Authorities or other Uniform Certification Agencies, Mid-South Certification Agency, National Women Business Enterprise Council, National Minority Certification Association and local chapters and other State certification programs. The Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise reserves its right to deny certification to any applicant not meeting guidelines according to T.C.A. §12-3-801 through 808 and Public Chapter 1140.
Firms that are denied certification by Go-DBE may reapply for certification in three (3) years from the date of denial. If an application for certification is denied applicants who wish to file for reconsideration, must send a letter to the Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise within 10 days from the date of denial to request reconsideration.
An appeal must at a minimum be in writing, submitted in the electronic TN Go-DBE Software system and include additional documentation to prove ownership and control along with factual information to support why the decision to deny certification should be reversed.
Provide a copy of the denial letter, and all additional information believed to be pertinent to the appeal that was not present at the time of review or on-site visit. Firms must provide the name and address of any certification agency that it is currently certified or the agency that has rejected its application for certification; or removed the firm's eligibility within one year prior to the date of the appeal. All documents shall be forwarded to the attention of assigned Diversity Business Liaison assigned at the time of registration. All additional documentation must be provided electronically to the attention of the assigned Diversity Business Liaison.