In the state of Kentucky, businesses owned by an individual who falls under the government definition of a ‘disadvantaged’ individual—such as women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, etc.—may qualify for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification. Once certified, these small businesses reap a variety of benefits including an addition to the DBE certified directory, small business training, and access to unique government contracts.
In order to qualify, the business must meet a variety of requirements, such as the majority owner maintaining control over daily business operations, the business being independent and for profit, a personal net worth below $1.32 million, as well as meeting size requirements determined by the Small Business Administration.
Kentucky Statewide Certification Programs
Kentucky Unified Certification Program (KY UCP)
The DBE certification process in Kentucky operates through a uniform application system known as the KY UCP and in other cases by the format KY DBE. The KY UCP eliminates the need to apply for certification in individual jurisdictions across Kentucky—instead, you may apply for your business’s certification statewide. To apply, the majority business owner should fill out and submit the DBE certification application.
Kentucky’s statewide DBE certification program can also be accessed through these different departments. Each of them prefers to have companies certify their DBE status by using the KY UCP:
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet – Office for Civil Rights and Small Business Development (“OCRSBD”)
The OCRSBD is committed to ensuring equal employment opportunity, a diverse workforce, and promotion of equitable business opportunities throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. All Kentucky transportation contracts including airport concessions have set aside targets for DBE vendors that have a certificate of eligibility issued by the KY UCP. For more information, and for another link to the statewide certification, visit Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification.
Kentucky Minority and Women Business Enterprise Certification (“MWBEC”)
The MWBEC has a two-step process for gaining DBE certification. First, a company needs to get a third party confirmation of DBE status, for example from the KY UCP or a national certifying agency. Then, the applicant submits that certification along with the following other material to the staff at the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet (FAC):
- Proof of certification by the governmental entities, or proof of certification by non-governmental entities.
- Copies of certification denials, decertification’s and appeal decisions, if any.
- Proof of racial/ethnic minority or female status for each owner claiming racial/ethnic minority or female status
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawfully Admitted Permanent Resident status for each owner claiming racial/ethnic minority or female status
- Documents indicating business entity status
- Resumes or Curriculum Vitae for each owner claiming female or racial/ethnic minority status
- Proof of contributions used to acquire ownership for each owner claiming female or racial/ethnic minority status
- Compensation Schedule to include: Annual salaries, owner draws, owner distributions, shareholder distributions and bonuses for all owners, controlling members, officers, managers, and directors for the previous year
- Proof of any transfers of assets to/from your business and/or to/from any of its owners over the past 3 years
- List of all employees, job titles, and dates of employment
- List of all equipment (including office equipment) and vehicles owned, leased or otherwise made accessible to the business
Upon filing the application, staff from the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet (FAC) will evaluate the application and schedule an onsite visit if necessary. The purpose of the on-site visit is to review additional documents and to confirm that the applicant satisfies all criteria, particularly ownership and control. The applicant should be prepared to provide the necessary documents and to answer any and all questions that FAC personnel may have.
After the onsite visit is completed and all documents have been deemed to be in order the application will then be submitted for review to the Certification Committee of the FAC. The Certification Committee shall review the application and the recommendation from the certification staff. The committee will then certify, deny or defer the application. When the committee defers an application, the applicant shall respond to the questions posed by the Certification Committee.
If the Certification Committee approves the application, your Business will be certified as a Minority or Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) by the FAC for three (3) years from the date of approval.
TriState National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (TNMSDC)
TNMSDC Certification Policy and Procedures are firmly adhered to by its 24 regional Affiliate Councils across the country, with the affiliate in the Tri-state Kentucky/Tennessee/West Virginia region being one of them. The NMSDC certifies minority-owned, operated and controlled businesses (MBEs). The qualifications for MBE status are:
- The firm must be a for-profit business (Non-profit organizations are not eligible for certification)
- The 51% qualifying applicant(s) must be an ethnic minority (African American, Hispanic, Asian Pacific (Islander, Asian Indian, Native American)
- The 51% qualifying applicant must be a US Citizen
- The highest executive position within the firm must be held by the ethnic minority owner(s) who holds a majority ownership in the firm. (Chairman, CEO, President, Managing Member, etc.)
- The firm applying for certification may not be a holding company* (A holding company is a company created to buy and possess the shares of other companies, which it then controls.)
- The firm applying for certification with TriState MSDC must be headquartered in our service territory (TSMSDC services Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia)
The WBENC is a third-party business organization that offers certifications to women-owned businesses throughout Kentucky. Applying business must meet WBENC procedures and standards and be at least 51% owned by a woman. This council is dedicated to bettering opportunities for women who are business owners or corporate members through programs, professional networking, and education. To apply, click on the links below:
Local And Regional Programs
Lexington offers to set aside contracts for DBEs and accepts certification from any of the above-referenced statewide certification programs. Visit the link below for more information:
The LMHA has the policy to benefit companies that qualify as an MBE (Minority Business Enterprise), FBE (Female Business Enterprise), DBE (Disabled Business Enterprise)
The following definitions are used throughout the bid documents and contract documents:
- Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) – a business that is fifty-one percent (51%) or more owned by one or more persons who are members of a racial minority (“Racial Minority” is defined below), and in which such persons share economic interests and have proportionate control over management, interest in capital, and interest in earnings (minority/non- minority joint ventures are addressed in other LMHA documents).
- Female Business Enterprise (FBE) – a business that is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned by one or more females, or in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more females; is managed by, and the daily business operations are controlled by one or more females; and is a domestic corporation with its home office located in the United States, which is not a branch or subsidiary of a foreign corporation, firm or other business.
- Disabled Business Enterprise (DBE) – a business that is fifty-one percent (51%) or more owned by one or more disabled individuals, or in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more disabled individuals; is managed by, and the daily business operations are controlled by one or more disabled individuals; and is a domestic corporation with its home office located in the United States, which is not a branch or subsidiary of a foreign corporation, firm or other business.
All MBE, FBE, and DBE firms must be certified by the Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council, the Louisville and Jefferson County Human Relations Commission, or MSD’s Diverse Works Program, or must provide evidence satisfactory to LMHA of minority ownership.
The Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD)
The MSD doesn’t actually issue certification itself, but it recognizes certification completed by one of the following local and national providers:
- TriState Minority Supplier Development Council (TMSDC)
- National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.
- Small Business Administration – Kentucky
- U.S. Small Business Administration
for 8 (a) Certification only
- Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council
Certifies WBEs only
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)