The benefits of obtaining a disadvantaged certification, which can range from a few thousand to millions of dollars, can be significant to small businesses interested in engaging in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-government (B2G) contract opportunities. 

Federal and many local government authorities have programs in place that set aside a percentage of what they spend on contracts and supplier opportunities exclusively for certified disadvantaged businesses. Additionally, many private organizations maintain supplier diversity policies that provide access to contracts for businesses with a disadvantaged designation. The benefit of certification programs to these public and private organizations is that the programs create a qualified, well-vetted pool of small businesses competitively bidding for their contracts.

There are diverse certifications, as well as certifying agencies. The grid below sorts out details to help you determine which certification(s) is best for your business.

Type: WOSB


Women Business Enterprise Council South (WBEC)

2800 Veterans Memorial Blvd Ste 180
NOLA 70003

WBEC is a leader in business development for female entrepreneurs. The organization processes all of WBENC’s business certifications, in addition to providing skills- and business-building programs. The requirements for certification are that WBE businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are female in gender.

Type: MBE


Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council (SRMSDC)

400 Poydras Street
NOLA 700130

SRMSDC certifies and develops minority suppliers that are interested in engaging with the business purchasing community. The organization provides certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) the access, technical assistance, training and support needed to expand and market their services to prospective corporate buyers. The requirements for certification are that MBE businesses are at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens belonging to certain ethnic minority groups. “Ethnic minority groups” are United States citizens who are Asian, African American, Hispanic and Native American.



Regional Transit Authority /Louisiana Dept. of Transportation & Development (DOTD)

1201 Capitol Access Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

DBEs are businesses owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged persons as defined by DBE Regulation 49 CFR Parts 23 and 26. All eligible owners must affirm that they are members of a disadvantaged group (for example, an eligible ethnic minority group or a female). In addition, the personal net worth of each eligible owner applicant must be less than $750,000, excluding the values of the applicant’s ownership interest in the business seeking certification and the owner’s primary residence.



New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA)

2817 Canal Street
NOLA 70119

New Orleans Regional Transit Authority participates in two programs that help level the playing field for small businesses: the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE) and a small business program called the State and Local DBE Program (SLDBE).



Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Louisiana’s Hudson Initiative Certification program

617 N 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Louisiana’s Hudson Initiative is a certification program that is designed to help eligible Louisiana small businesses gain greater access to purchasing and contracting opportunities that are available at the State government level.

Type: SEBD


Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Small and Emerging Business Development Program

617 N 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

LED’s Small and Emerging Business Development (SEBD) Program provides the managerial and technical assistance training needed to grow and sustain a small business. SEBD provides developmental assistance, including entrepreneurial training, marketing, computer skills, accounting, business planning, and legal and industry-specific assistance.

Type: SBA 8(a)


Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Program

365 Canal Street
NOLA 70130

SBA 8(a) businesses are owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual. Under the Small Business Act, certain presumed groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Other individuals can be admitted to the program if they show through a “preponderance of the evidence” that they are disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, gender, physical handicap or residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society. In order to meet the economic disadvantage test, each individual must have a net worth of less than $250,000, excluding the value of the business and primary residence.

Type: DBE


City of New Orleans’ One Stop Shop

1300 Perdido Street 7th Floor
NOLA 70112

The City of New Orleans’ One Stop Shop and information on all permits, licenses and City Planning Commission actions have been brought into a single place. In order to simplify what have been seen as complicated and difficult processes, we have broken down the barriers between departments.



National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

729 15th Street NW 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20005

LGBT-owned businesses are a least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are LGBT individuals certified by the NGLCC (National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce). The NGLCC is the exclusive, third-party certification body that verifies that eligible businesses are majority-owned by LGBT individuals and that subsequently grants LGBT Business Enterprise designations to eligible businesses.

Type: SAM


Federal Government System For Award Management (SAM) B2G Opportunities


System for Award Management (SAM) is changing the way you do business by merging nine legacy, siloed systems into one. This provides users one login and access to all the capabilities previously found in the legacy systems. SAM also consolidates data from these systems into a single database, eliminating data overlap while sharing the data across the award lifecycle.