What are certification options?
Certification can be seen as a complex process because there are many types of certification and certification bodies. Businesses may be certified as minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, veteran or LGBTQ. Certifying bodies may be national, regional, state-wide, city-wide or specific to one area, like transportation. They may target the public sector or the private sector.
Which certification should I choose?
When it comes to certification there really is no “one size fits all” option.
There are mainly two big groups:
Private sector certifications
It will work if you’re interested in working with corporations or private companies. Most organizations that issue private certifications are national in scope, which can give your business broader reach, depending on your goals. These groups are nonprofits that charge fees for certifications based on the size of your company.
Like the federal government, State of Missouri and City of St Louis offer a range of certifying bodies and programs that help connect contractors with certified subcontractors. Because municipal organizations are funded by taxpayer dollars, municipal certifications are offered free of charge.
Benefits of certification:
Cities, states, the federal government and private corporations have established targets designed to open up opportunities to other groups of nontraditional businesses. Reaching those targets is where certification comes in. Frequently a company must be certified as a minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ-owned or disability-owned business in order to partake in such opportunities.
Certification helps because it proves the business in question is legitimate. Certification also brings value to the subcontractor or minority or woman-owned business because it shows the owner is willing to do what it takes to meet certification requirements, which gives others a sense of comfort and confidence in their business.
What to expect when certified?
There are many advantages such as credibility, access to public and private organizations and opportunities to bid for work , growth and networking opportunities, education and tools given by the certification bodies to help you succeed, validation of your status with a seal you can use on your website and marketing materials and an opportunity to support other businesses like yours.