Get Noticed by Getting Certified!

RFP team getting certified to improve RFP process
Get Noticed by Getting Certified!

Did you know the government spends over $500 billion per year on goods and services? What’s more, they also spend money to fund many different operations and stimulate growth. Basically, a significant percentage of these dollars are given out via open procurement processes, which include Requests for Proposals, or RFPs. The catch is that with all this potential business spending, the world of RFPs can be extremely competitive. As such, you need to explore new opportunities to stand out from the pack. Of course, one way to stand out and increase your small business income is through certifications.  

The combined target goals for the federal government are:

Business Certification


A business certification is an official document for which eligible enterprises can apply, and as a matter of fact, applying for a certification and getting certified can provide great benefits for the organization. The benefits include things like increased recognition, limited business competition, and set-aside contracts (to name a few). Overall, obtaining a small business certification can help the organization grow its business.

Business certifications provide your small business with a nationally recognized and highly respected status, basically allowing your company to stand out against marketplace competition for elite and distinguished clients.

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Certification Types 

Certification eligibility often depends on the size and type of the business. As such, learning about the requirements and obtaining a federal, state or local small business certification can undoubtedly help set you apart and qualify you for participation in procurements. If you’re on the fence about responding to an RFP, check to see if it calls for any certifications. If you already have the relevant certifications in hand, then congratulations! You’re likely to be a competitive candidate.

The federal government, state governments and local municipalities offer various categories of business certifications to make it altogether easier for small businesses to win government contracts. Five of the most common types of beneficial certifications you may qualify for are:

  1. Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification: A Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certification specifically defines your business as owned, operated and controlled by a minority group.
  2. Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification: A Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification means a business explicitly owned, controlled and operated by a woman or women. 
  3. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification: A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification defines your business as owned, operated and controlled by a disadvantaged group.
  4. Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Certification: A small business certification provides you with a special status to help your business compete for government contracts. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the 8(a) Business Development program (generally called the 8a certification). This assists small businesses owned by individuals considered socially and economically disadvantaged, providing access to government contracting opportunities.
  5. Veteran Business Enterprise (VBE) Certification: Veterans and service-disabled veterans who directly own at least 51% of a business should apply for the VBE certification. 
Veteran Business Certification

How to Get Certified

The four steps to get certified are: 

  1. Complete an online application
  2. Print out your application
  3. Collect your supporting documents on the checklist
  4. Send the signed application form to the certifying agency

Other commonly required documents can include articles of organization operating agreement and/or tax documents (both personal and business). Additionally, certifications may call for proof of citizenship, gender, or service disability.

A state registration and proof of business activity is also required as you apply at the state level.


While it can be difficult to obtain certifications, keep in mind that the advantages greatly outweigh the challenges. In effect, some benefits of gaining certification include:

  • Increases company visibility: Certified companies are included in an online public database at no cost. Buying agencies and prime contractors review these sites while looking for potential contractors, subcontractors and teaming partners.
  • Gives preferential treatment or set-asides: Local governments, the federal government, and certain private sector corporations often set aside contracts. Agencies are often incentivized to award contracts to businesses with certain verified certifications. To ensure equal opportunity, only businesses with those certifications are eligible for these contracts.
  • Allows access to special networking events, training, and continued education: Many government entities host special events. Networking can help you make connections and grow your business. 
  • Leads to higher evaluation scores: Oftentimes, certain certified businesses qualify for extra points during the procurement evaluation stage. Extra points can often give a proposal the edge it needs over competing bids.

Now you know the different types of certifications and what might be required to attain them. These certifications can greatly impact your bidding success, and it is well worth the time and effort to investigate your eligibility.

We understand that the certification process can be overwhelming. No worries! The Bid Lab can help you find the right eligible certification for your business. As experts in the certification process in all of its iterations, we have experience with all major types of certifications around the country. So, if you’re ready to discuss your business’s certification potential or even just need help finding a suitable bid (meet Bid Banana, our user-friendly RFP search engine!), schedule a free consultation! Contact us today at 1-844-4BIDLAB or email us at for more information.