How to get certified as a Diverse Firm — New Jersey Edition

POSTED BY: Tough Leaf | 27th January 2023

“M/WBE is a certificate issued by the state to identify minority and/or women owned business or enterprises. This certification may help when obtaining contracts with government entities or as subcontractors to a larger government contract.” —

A common question we at Tough Leaf get from diverse business owners is how to become certified as a minority-owned, women-owned, disadvantaged, or service disabled veteran-owned business enterprise (MBE, WBE, DBE, or SDVOB certified) by New Jersey (NJ), or the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ).

To become certified, your firm must apply separately to each.

How do I know what certification to get?

  • If your company bids on projects for NJ: The Business page run by the New Jersey State Government lists the certifications for each type of Diverse Firm (MWBE, VOB, SBE, & more) as well as a way to apply and become certified for each.
  • If your company bids on projects for the NJ State Department: Use this list of Departments to know which additional certifications you need and how to contact each department.
  • If your company bids on projects for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey: Visit the PANYNJ website to learn more about the types of firms that can be certified. When you are ready, apply to become certified.

How do you know if you are ready to apply for certification?

We recommend reviewing the qualifications and prerequisites because it can be time-consuming if you are not prepared.

  1. First, get on the respective agency’s mailing list as each of them offer multiple workshops at no cost on how to get certified.
  2. Second, have your documentation ready and easily accessible, create your “process” because every application requests similar documents.
  3. Third, once you’ve attended a workshop and began the application, contact a representative from the respective agency for technical support before submitting.

The review cycle takes time and if you have a contract pending, contact Technical Support to inquire about fast-tracking the process.

How Tough Leaf Helps Diverse Firms

Tough Leaf is a platform that empowers Diverse Firms (DBE, MBE, WBE & SDVOB) to grow their business by sending targeted bids from Contractors based on their qualifications.

In NJ, the State Government continues to develop its resources to aid Diverse Firms including its NJBUILD outreach program. At Tough Leaf, we intend to shed light on these opportunities for Diverse Firms to utilize such resources and grow.

Tough Leaf is completely free for Certified Diverse Firms!

  • Claim your profile to showcase your capabilities and previously completed projects
  • Receive Targeted Bids from Contractors based on qualifications
  • Search and bid for open projects directly on the platform