Navigating the Certification Process
Part 1: Understanding the terminology of the certification world
When you first enter the world of certification you come face to face with a entire new set of terminology – mostly comprised of acronyms that everyone rattles off their tongue so fast it’s hard to keep up. To get ready for the new world, here’s a guide to some of the common terms you need to know:
8(a): “8(a) Business Development Program”
The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). The 8(a) Program offers assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
CAGE Code: “The Commercial And Government Entity Code”
CAGE Code is a five-character ID number used within the federal government, assigned by the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The CAGE code is used to support a variety of mechanized systems throughout the government and provides a standardized method of identifying a given legal entity at a specific location.
DBE: “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise”
DBEs are for profit small business concerns located in the United States where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans, and women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. Other individuals can also qualify as socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.
DUNS number: “Data Universal Numbering System”
D‑U‑N‑S Number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses assigned by Dun & Bradstreet. D‑U‑N‑S Numbers are often referenced by lenders and potential business partners to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of the company in question.
EDWOSB: “Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business”
EDWOSB is part of the SBA’s WOSB Federal Contract Program. To qualify as an economically disadvantaged business within the women’s contracting program, a business must: Meet all the requirements of the women’s contracting program, be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a personal net worth less than $750,000, be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years, and be owned and controlled by one or more women, each $6 million or less in personal assets.
HUBZone Business: “Historically Underutilized Business Zones”
A HUBZone business is a qualified small business concern located in historically under-utilized business zones that are in an area located within one or more qualified census tracts, a qualified non-metropolitan county, or lands within external boundaries of an Indian reservation.
LGTBE: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Business Enterprise”
LGTBEs are business located in the United States which have been certified by a third-party certifier to be 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons.
MBE: “Minority Busines Enterprise”
MBEs are business located in the United States which have been certified by a third-party certifier to be 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more minority group members. Minority group members are United States citizens who are Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American.
MOSB: “Minority-Owned Small Business”
MOSB is another way to refer to a minority owned small business but does not necessarily refer to a business that has been certified by a third-party certification agency.
NAICS codes: “North American Industry Classification System”
NAICS is an industry classification system that groups establishments into industries based on the similarity of their production processes. It is a comprehensive system covering all economic activities. There are 20 sectors and 1,057 industries in 2017 NAICS United States
SAM: “System for Award Management”
SAM is a government-wide portal that is consolidating the capabilities of multiple systems and information sources used by the Federal government in conducting the acquisition and financial assistance (which includes grants and cooperative agreements) processes. The term “SAM number” is a misnomer, if you are asked for your SAM number you are actually being asked for your CAGE Code.
SB: Small Business Enterprise
SB is a concern that is independently owned and operated operation that qualifies as a small business in its primary NAICS code under the criteria and size standards in 13 CFR Part 121.
SDB: “Small Disadvantaged Businesses”
SD is a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals as defined by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 19.001.
SDVBE: “Service-Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprise”
SDVBE are businesses located in the United States are 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans. As a federal government program, third-party certification is not required. You can self-represent your business to the federal government as being owned by a service-disabled veteran by updating the socio-economic status section of your SAM business profile.
SIC Code: Standard Industrial Classification
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) are four-digit codes that categorize the industries that companies belong to while organizing the industries by their business activities. The SIC codes were mostly replaced in 1997 by NAICS system of six-digit codes
VBE: “Veterans Business Enterprise”
VBEs are businesses located in the United States which have been certified by a third-party certifier to be 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more U.S. military veterans.
VOSB: Veteran-Owned Small Business
VOSB is another way to refer to a VBE and but does not necessarily refer to a business that has been certified by a third-party certification agency.
WBE: “Women Business Enterprise”
WBEs are business located in the United States which have been certified by a third-party certifier to be 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more women.
WOSB: “Women Owned Small Business”
The SBA’s WOSB Federal Contract Program provides access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs. The Program allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs
While there are a number of other acronyms to learn in the world of certification, the list here should get you started into navigating your own journey!
Should you have any questions about certification for your business or would like to schedule an initial consultation, please contact Navigant Law Group, LLC at (847) 253-8800 or email us at email@example.com.
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