State, local and federal government agencies regularly make a certain number of contracts open to bidding from minority-owned business enterprises, or MBEs. This minority business certification is a designation given to companies with women or ethnic minorities in control or in ownership. Learning how to bid on minority government contracts involves securing appropriate forms of certification and identifying and applying for contracts posted by various state and federal government agencies.

Step 1.

Obtain certification as a minority-owned business enterprise from your state government website. Certification requirements vary from state to state, but in most instances you will be asked to provide proof that you met specifically outlined MBE criteria. You also may be asked to supply documentation verifying identity, incorporation status and a copy of your business license.

Step 2.

Create a contractor profile on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database, listing the specifics of the products and services you provide. This will make it easier for government procurement officers to find you when they are looking for a service provider who offers what you do.

Step 3.

Get on the pre-approved bidder list on the General Services Administration (GSA) schedule. This approach makes it easier to apply for contracts as they become available.

Step 4.

Study the agency or agencies whose contract(s) you are bidding on to make sure your product or service fits into their scope of interest. Request guidelines for applying for the contract(s) that interest you.

Step 5.

Visit to search for government contracts currently available.

Step 6.

Fill out contract bid paperwork in its entirety. You may be asked to make a “sealed bid” to the issuing agency before the due date. The bid will outline your qualifications for the job as well as anticipated costs and timetable. Make sure these are rational estimates you can reasonably work within.

Step 7.

Make sure your bid is competitive. All past bids are a matter of public record and are available for you to view. Examine these before making your bid.


Start small, either with small dollar amount contracts, or by working as a subcontractor. This approach will help you develop a track record.

Be aware of renewal dates for your certifications. Many of these must be re-applied for on an annual basis.