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Department of Small and Local Business Development

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New Applicants

All new applicants for Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) Certification are required to register in the District Enterprise System (DES).  Please use the Chrome browser to complete this process. Also, please save the username and password you created, as you will need this information when returning to the system. 

Preparation before Starting Certification

All new applicants must meet the following requirements to be considered for the CBE program.
  • The principal office of the business must be physically located in the District of Columbia

  • 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 register and log into your DES profile, we recommend taking 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 at (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 must 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.