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

POSTED BY: Tough Leaf | 27th January 2023

“New York City alone spends up to $17 billion per year on goods and services. Getting certified will help you compete for these opportunities and access exclusive programs to help your small business grow.” —

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 York City (NYC), New York State (NYS), 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 NYC: Apply to become certified by NYC Small Business Services (NYC SBS). NYC SBS offers a variety of free classes and one-on-one consulting services to assist applicants.
  • If your company bids on projects for NYS: Watch this video to learn more about their streamlined application process. If you are ready to pursue certification, the MWBE Certification Assessment Tool will help you understand what NYS needs to certify your firm.
  • 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 NYC alone, over half of the $2.4B in funds set aside for Diverse Firms did not reach their intended target. At Tough Leaf, we intend to bridge that gap by bringing opportunities to Diverse Firms.

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