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Special Notice – Improvements to the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) Application Process

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


TO:  Certified Business Enterprises (CBEs)

FROM:  Ana R. Harvey, Director, Department of Small and Local Business Development

DATE:  April 26, 2017

SUBJECT:  Special Notice – Improvements to the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) Application Process

In an ongoing effort to process and make determinations faster, DSLBD has made some important changes to the CBE application process.  The purpose of this Special Notice is to inform you of those changes.

Currently, the total review and determination of a CBE application can take up to forty-five (45) business days.  The improvements to the CBE application process are as follows:

1) Now Self-Recertification only takes minutes:  

DSLBD has released a new online Self-Recertification application.  The business is no longer required to complete a full recertification application, upload supporting documents and wait up to forty-five (45) business days.  Pursuant to D.C. Code § 2-218.61, if a business has not had a material change in ownership, address or size (if designated as a Small Business Enterprise or SBE) since the last approved application, the business can submit an online self-recertification affidavit, instead of a full re-certification application, to receive their new certification number instantly.    The affidavit must attest that the business is in good standing with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) and maintains clean hands with the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR). 

2) Application Processing Timeline for Resident-Owned Businesses (ROB) has been shortened:

Applications that demonstrate a business is more than fifty (50) percent owned by a District resident or that meet the definition of a Resident-Owned Business (ROB),  will now be processed in twenty (20) business days or less. This type of application will not require a site visit at the front end of the process since, when applying for the ROB category, the owner of the business provides proof of residency to demonstrate meeting the ROB or more than fifty percent Local Business Enterprise (LBE) residency requirement.  However, DSLBD reserves the right to conduct a spot check or site visit to the principal office location at any time during the active certification period of the business.  An ROB will not have to wait up to forty-five (45) business days for an application determination. 

3) DSLBD will no longer evaluate/approve National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) Codes:

District agencies are required to spend at least fifty (50) percent of their expendable budgets with Small Business Enterprises (SBEs). In addition, District agency contracts in excess of $250,000 require a thirty-five (35) percent SBE subcontracting utilization plan and monitoring throughout the life of the contract, unless granted a waiver. To find SBEs that provide the services or goods needed to meet the aforementioned requirements, District agencies and the public search for CBEs using National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) codes (by number or word search).

During the CBE certification application process, a business self-selects NIGP codes that relate to the services or goods the business is able to provide. Starting in fiscal year 2017, DSLBD will no longer evaluate the codes the business selects during the application process to determine whether or not the business has past performance or the capacity to provide the selected services or goods. The vetting for capacity and performance will be the responsibility of the Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) at the time of procurement for the specific requirement procured, or any entity or individual seeking to provide a CBE with a contracting opportunity.

This change will reduce the certification processing time as DSLBD will only require that the business is licensed to provide the services identified in the selected codes. If the business is a regular dealer (supplier of goods), DSLBD will require that the business demonstrate their ability to supply the selected goods (i.e. supplier or authorized reseller agreements and a website or catalog).