MWDBE Business Certifications

Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program
Type of Certification: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

Benefits:  Eligible to bid on Federal Transportation related contracts. DBE Certification is recognized by Federal, State, and Local governmental entities in meeting participation requirements on contracting opportunities. DBE certification designation is also recognized broadly by industry and corporate entities seeking women and minority business participation on contracts. All firms wishing to be certified as a DBE must complete an application at and submit it to the PAUCP for determination of their eligibility. The application is subject to review and verification. Before a determination is made, additional information may be requested and/or an on-site review with the firm’s principals may be conducted by the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program.

Requirements/Eligibility:  Must be a U.S. Citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident of the U.S. Socially & Economically Disadvantaged Individuals who are women, Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Subcontinent Asian Americans, or other minorities found to be disadvantaged by the SBA. Firm must be 51% owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s) who controls the firm. Personal Net Worth not exceeding $1.32 million dollars. A small business that meets the Small Business Administration’s business size standard and does not exceed $22.41 million in annual gross receipts over the firm’s previous three fiscal years.

Cost:  Certification is free

Contact Information:

Agency: Allegheny County Department of Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

Number: (412) 350-4309


Agency: Port Authority of Allegheny County

Number: (412) 566-5257


Agency: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Bureau of Equal Opportunity

Number: (717) 787-5891


Agency: City of Philadelphia – Philadelphia International Airport

Number: (215) 937-1801


Agency: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)

Number: (215) 580-7278



United States Small Business Administration
Type of Certification: 8(a) Certification

Benefits: Sole-source contracts up to $6.5M for (Mfg)/ $4M for (non-Mfg)


• Faced discrimination

• Adjusted net worth below $250,000

• Small Business according to firm’s primary NAICS code

• 2 years in business with good past performance on contracts.

Type of Certification:  HUBZone Certification (Historically Underutilized Business Zone)


• Set-aside and sole source contracting

• 10% price evaluation preference in full & open competition.


• Small Business by SBA standards

• Principal Office must be in a HUBZone

• 35% of employees must reside in a HUBZone

Type of Certification(s): WOSB – Women Owned Small Business, EDWOSB – Economically Disadvantaged WOSB


• Levels the playing field to compete for & win federal contracts


• Small Business by SBA standards in designated NAICS codes for WOSB

• Self-certification or third party certified.

• Net worth < $750,000 (for EDWOSB)

Type of Certification(s):  SDVOSB – Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, VOSB – Veteran Owned Small Business


• The Dept. of Veteran Affairs has a priority in acquisitions to SDVOSB/VOSB

• Firms can receive sole source awards up to $5M (Mfg) / $3M(non-Mfg)


• SDVO must hold the highest officer position

• The VA requires registration through

Cost:  Certification and services are free.

Contact Information:

Address: 411 Seventh Ave. – Suite 1450, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Number: (412) 395-6560 x123



Pennsylvania Department of General Services
Type of Certification: Small Business Self-Certification and Small Diverse Business Verification

Benefits:  To develop initiatives to create more opportunities in procurement for small businesses. The Commonwealth is committed to providing opportunities for small businesses to compete for prime contracting opportunities with the goal of promoting the economic growth and success of small businesses. For the first time, small businesses will be able to bid on prime state contracting opportunities without having to compete with larger, more established firms. In addition, the program sets out to eliminate many of the barriers small businesses face by reducing paperwork bureaucracy, loosening bonding requirements and expediting payments. Training programs will also be offered to all self-certified businesses.

Requirements/Eligibility:  Businesses interested in participating as a small business in the SBPI (Small Business Procurement Initiative), must first register to do business with the Commonwealth and self-certify as a “small business.” To self-certify and participate in the SBPI, a business must meet each of the following requirements:

• The business must be a for-profit, United States business.

• The business must be independently owned.

• The business may not be dominant in its field of operation.

• The business may not employ more than 100 full-time equivalent employees.

• The business, by type, may not exceed specified three-year average gross sales.

• The business must provide the company’s three most recent federal tax returns.

The opportunity for Small Diverse Business Verification is offered, once a business has received a PA Vendor Number and is successfully registered with the Commonwealth in the SBPI. Department of General Services will accept approved third-party certifications from any of the below entities:

• Unified Certification Program (UCP)

• United States Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Program

• National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)

• Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

• VetBiz Vendor Information Pages (VIP) at

Cost: Certification is free

Contact Information:

Address: 401 North Street – Room 611

Harrisburg, PA17120

Number: (717) 783-3119 | (717) 787-7052 Fax



Regional Housing Legal Services
Type of Certification: Section 3 Business Concern

Benefits: The RHLS Section 3 Business Certification Program certifies businesses that are owned by low-income people or that provide substantial economic opportunities for low-income people in Allegheny County, PA, as “Section 3 eligible”, which entitles the businesses to a qualified contracting preference on HUD-funded development projects. Certified businesses are listed in a searchable on-line database that can be used by covered developers and contractors to identify eligible Section 3 Business Concerns. Section 3 of the U.S. Housing and Community Development Act of 1968 requires recipients of HUD funding to provide training, hiring and contracting opportunities to low-income residents of the area where the HUD-funded project is located, “to the greatest extent feasible”. Section 3 applies to contracts worth over $100,000 on projects that receive over $200,000 in federal housing and community development funds (CDBG, HOME, NSP, etc.) and to all contracting and employment by public housing authorities. Section 3 Certification does not automatically entitle a business to a contract on HUD-funded development projects, only a contracting preference..

Requirements/Eligibility: Businesses are eligible for Section 3 Business Certification if it meets any one of the following criteria:

• 51% or more of the business is owned by individuals whose household income is no greater than 80% of the HUD Area Median Income (AMI).

• 30% or more of the business’ full time, permanent employees had household incomes no greater than 80% of AMI as of the initial date of hire.

• The business awards 25% or more of the dollar value of the business’ contracted to business concerns that meet the qualifications set forth in the first or second bullet point above.

Cost: Certification and services are free.

Contact Information:

Address: 710 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA15219

Number: (412) 201- 4301



Eastern Minority Supplier Development Council
Type of Certification: Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)

Benefits:  The NMSDC (National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc.), headquartered in New York City, is an organization comprised of a network of 37 affiliate regional councils across the country (including EMSDC), all of whom provide minority business certification and business development opportunities. NMSDC has over 3,500 corporate members and more than 15,000 certified minority owned businesses in its network. A primary objective of the Council is to provide a direct link between corporate America and minority owned businesses. We are nationally recognized and honored nationwide by Fortune 500 Corporate Buyers, State, Local & Government Agency procurement decision makers. Access to and listing in a searchable member database with on-line bid opportunities and referrals to corporate or government contracts. We expand your professional network with targeted trainings, fairs, meetings and networking events.

Requirements/Eligibility:  Your business must be a for-profit enterprise & physically located in the U.S. or its trust territories. 51% owned, operated & controlled by an ethnic minority, not gender-based who is African-American, Asian-Indian, Asian & Pacific Islander American, Hispanic-American or Native American. Must be a U.S. Citizen by birth or naturalization with appropriate documentation. You will be required to identify your business by NAICS codes, using up to six separate 6 digit NAICS codes.

Cost:  There is a non-refundable fee for the certification application and an annual renewal fee on your anniversary date.

Contact Information:

Address: 425 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Number: (412) 391-4423 | (412) 391-3132 Fax



Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
Type of Certification: Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)


• National recognition as a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by thousands of major U.S. Corporations representing well-known brands and by representatives of several government agencies.

• Access to a current list of supplier diversity and procurement representatives from hundreds of corporations and government agencies.

• Automatic inclusion in WBENC Link, their proprietary Internet database of certified WBEs.

• Eligibility for participation in Match Making opportunities with WBENC Corporate and Government members.

• WBENC is also an approved Third Party Certifier for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program.


• Ownership: The firm must be at least 51% owned by a woman or women. The applicant must share in all risks and profits commensurate with her ownership interest.

• Control and Management: Proof of active management of the business. Women must possess the power to direct or cause to direct the management and policies of the business.

• Contribution of Expertise and Capital: Contribution of capital and expertise by women owners to acquire their ownership interest shall be real and substantial and be in proportion to the interest acquired.

• Independence: The women owners shall have the ability to perform in her area of specialty/expertise without substantial reliance on males or non-women-owned businesses.

• U.S. Citizenship or Permanent U.S. Resident Status

• How to Apply: Start by visiting the WBENC website,, and clicking on Certification, to take advantage of our interactive, on-line application process. Certification is facilitated through our network of Regional Partner Organizations (RPO), who work directly with applicants.

Cost:  The RPO in the area of your headquarters will provide you with the certification fee and assist with the certification process.

Contact Information:

Address: 1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW – Suite 1000

Washington, DC20036

Number: (202) 872-5515 | (202) 872-5505 Fax


RPO: Women’s Business Enterprise Council PA-DE-sNJ

Address: 1315 Walnut Street – Suite 1116,

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Number: (877) 790-9232 | (215) 790-9231 Fax



Member Organizations

• Allegheny County Airport Authority – (412) 472-3648

• Allegheny County Dept. of MWDBE – (412) 350-4309

• Allegheny County Dept. of Public Works – (412) 350-3922

• Allegheny County Economic Development – (412) 350-1000

• Allegheny County Housing Authority – (412) 402-2460

• Allegheny County Sanitary Authority – (412) 734-8737

• City of Pittsburgh Equal Opportunity – (412) 255-8804

Review Commission

• Community College of Allegheny County – (412) 237-3023

• Diversity Business Resource Center (DBRC) – (412) 322-3272

• Government Agency Coordination Office of California University of PA (GACO) – (724) 738-2346

• Housing Authority City of Pittsburgh – (412) 456-5000 x8506

• Pittsburgh Community Services, Inc. – (412) 904-4700

• Pittsburgh Parking Authority – (412) 560-2523

• Pittsburgh Public Schools – (412) 488-4661

• Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority – (412) 255-8800 x8891

• Port Authority of Allegheny County – (412) 566-5257

• Riverside Center for Innovation – (412) 322-3523

• Sports & Exhibition Authority – (412) 393-7102

• Urban Redevelopment Authority – (412) 255-6552

• U. S. Small Business Administration – (412) 395-6560 x123