Steps to Scale Up After Getting Certified as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

Your Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Certification opens the door for government contracts, leveraging partnerships with grant opportunities, and registering for procurement opportunities with Fortune 500 companies and industry associations. After your disadvantaged minority-owned business is certified, you have the means to scale up your small business by developing supply chain contacts, positioning yourself as a player in strategic supply chain sourcing, and showcasing your name in front of DBE-seeking companies interested in your products and service.

Register Your DBE with ConnXus

ConnXus, a certified MBE, has a vendor portal for suppliers that will give you alerts to bid opportunities with corporate buyers seeking certified minority, woman, LGBT, veteran or disability-owned businesses. Buyers and procurement professionals are sourcing and vetting certified suppliers with up-to-date certifications on the ConnXus platform daily. ConnXus Platinum suppliers receive premium services and sourcing event invitations, along with quarterly business development and coaching sessions. Your company name will be in front of the supply chain agents that are making diversity a priority, and ConnXus coaching will prepare you to meet Fortune 500 demands. With increased automation and outreach, your business enterprise will be positioned for the next stage of growth.

Register with Your DBE with Target Companies in Your Industry

A strategic plan for business growth includes precision targeting. Registering on your coveted corporation’s vendor, supplier or contractor portal will increase business name exposure. If your business is in the healthcare industry, a search for Cleveland Clinic supplier diversity and vendor registration will provide you with information needed to uncover relevant opportunities and bid on Cleveland Clinic contracts as a DBE certified supplier. Precision targeting in tandem with registration on ConnXus connects your business to supply chain networks through multiple platforms.

Healthcare Buyers and Suppliers Connect with ConnXus

The cancer-testing biomedical entrepreneur and innovator, Alvez Clay, founder and CEO of Clay Health Network (CHN), was looking for a way to connect with corporations and ended up joining the ConnXus Platinum program. Since joining ConnXus, the biomedical entrepreneur gained access to capital and attended strategic sourcing events. When you register your business as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise you position yourself for future procurement opportunities and networking with like-minded minority business enterprises.

Register Your DBE with the Government and ConnXus Database

The System for Award Management (SAM) at is a government portal where you can register to do business with the U.S. government.  It is also a useful for source for identifying companies that have been awarded government funds, and for identifying your competitors. Start with a search for your state name. Review Entity Registration and Core Data to get a leg up on competitive analysis and supplier analysis. Registering your business with SAM and the ConnXus Database for suppliers is an easy step to take to align your DBE certified business with established supply chains.

Continue Your Mission to Secure a Government Contract

Governments are a force in supplier diversity. The U.S. government is the top global buyer of goods and services, and total contracts are in the range of $500 billion dollars a year. Minority and disadvantaged women, Veterans, the disabled, LGBT, and rural business owners were often excluded from opportunities. Today, disadvantaged business owners can claim one-trillion dollars in economic output from disadvantaged business owners.  ConnXus offers a modern economic impact reporting tool to help buyers determine the impact of minority purchasing power. When you register with ConnXus, you become a part of the impact.

How to Find Government Contracts for Minority Small Business Owners

ConnXus offers a search functionality right from your company dashboard to search for federal government contracts.  You can filter your search by the following “special business labels”:

  •       Socially disadvantaged businesses
  •       Economically disadvantaged businesses
  •       Women-owned businesses
  •       Service-Disabled Veteran-owned small businesses
  •       Veteran-owned small businesses
  •       American Indian (Tribal) owned businesses
  •       Minority-owned businesses is a government website with a search engine to search for government-funded business opportunities with an option to select the set-aside type for your disadvantaged business enterprise.

If your DBE-certified business is interested in disaster relief, take the steps to register for FEMA procurement opportunities.

Subcontract with a Government Contracted Business

Securing a government bid often requires a business to have experience and able to invest a substantial amount of money into the project. If you’re a newly certified disadvantaged business enterprise and do not have government contract experience, working as a subcontractor will connect you to a supply chain, and you’ll gain the experience you need for future bids. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a Subcontracting Program to help minority business owners receive government contract awards.

DBE Contractors and Service Providers Can Tinker with Transportation

The Department of Transportation is subject to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations and is required to follow a statutory requirement to fill a 10% quota with disadvantaged business enterprises for federally-funded highway projects. This requirement falls under 2016 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (“FAST Act”).  

By law, the Department of Transportation Secretary must post a list of federally funded projects by state.  There will be road, bridge, sidewalk, trail and bike path projects on the list. Although the Excel list is bare-bones, a state project number can help you find more detailed information on the project specifics for your state’s federally funded projects.  You can do a separate search for the project number with your state name. You may find fresh opportunities, or find news that a company lost their DBE certification or had fraud accusations. Your DBE business may be able to jump in and clean up the mess.

A Few DOT agencies with federal funding opportunities:

A multimillion-dollar funding project for an improved airport may also include food service and baggage-handling services. Look deep into project requirements to find an opportunity in your niche.

DBE STEM Businesses Can Evolve into an Environmentally Sound Contract

Your DBE certification positions you for EPA funding. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages procurement with disadvantaged business enterprises. Look through recent awards to secure a subcontract opportunity, and register for an EPA award for your small business.

Grant Award Winners are Looking for Your DBE Certified Business is a primary source for grant information, including past award winners. Look for grants available for DBE certified businesses, and look for grant award winners in your industry.  Many large grant award winners, particularly municipalities, schools and large organizations, will need to meet diversity quotas to secure funding.  Contact award winners to see if you can help them fulfill their contractual grant obligations for diversity. Even if you don’t secure a contract for a current operating grant, you’ll be creating network opportunities to secure future business.

SBA 8(a) Small Business Development Program is Ready to Help You

As a certified disadvantaged business owner, you have the beginning criteria for 8(A) Business Development Program Certification. This certification is offered by the Small Business Administration, and will help your disadvantaged business qualify for SBA 8(a) business development assistance. Take advantage of the mentoring programs, counseling, development resources, and government contract assistance the SBA can provide your small business to prepare yourself for growth and secure a government contract.

Scaling up your business with DBE certification is the first step toward finding a steady supply of growth opportunities. Start registering your DBE certified business with ConnXus now to take the next step towards securing financial sustainability for your DBE certified business.