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Department of Small and Local Business Development
 

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New Applicants

New District Enterprise System (DES) Launched!

Compatible with all commonly used browsers including Chrome and Safari!

Streamlined application process from 16 steps to 8 steps!

All new applicants for CBE Certification are required to register in the new DES system. Please save the username and password you create as you will need this information when returning to the system to complete your application or start another application with the Department. 

 

For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about using DES, review the DES FAQs

 

Preparation before Starting Certification

All new applicants must meet the following requirements to be considered for the CBE program.

  • Principal office of the business must be physically located in the District of Columbia;
  • Meets one of the following standards:
    • Independently owned, operated, and controlled; or
    • More than 50% owned, operated, and controlled by a District based enterprise or not-for-profit business; or
    • Owned by a non-District-based business enterprise or not-for-profit business that is more than 50% owned by District residents;
  • Chief Executive Officer and highest-level managerial employees of the business enterprise must perform their managerial functions in their principal office located in the District;
  • Meets one of the four following standards:
    • More than 50% of the employees of the business are residents of the District; or
    • The owners of more than 50% of the business enterprise are residents of the District; or
    • More than 50% of the assets of the business, excluding bank accounts, are in the District; or
    • More than 50% of the business gross receipts are District gross receipts.

If your business meets the requirements listed above, once you are registered and are logged into your DES profile, we recommend that you take the CBE Wizard. This will be an option before you begin the online application. This step is not mandatory but provides useful information and a checklist of documents you may need to upload during the application process.

If you have any questions, please contact the certification division on (202) 727-3900 or at [email protected]. For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about using DES, review the DES FAQs.

 

Apply for Certification on Behalf of Another Business

 

If you are applying for Certification on behalf of another business, you will need to register in the new DES and have the business seeking certification send a notice authorizing the Department to speak with you on their behalf.  The notice should be sent to [email protected].

 

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Supplemental Form

 

If applying for the category Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), you will need to download and complete a fillable pdf form (see attachment below). Select the attachment link.  Once the attachment opens, download the form and save it. Use Adobe Reader to open and complete the fillable pdf form.  Remember to save the form before closing it.  You will upload this form during the application process.