Summary of certification criteria

In order to meet qualifications for minority status, an applicant’s business must be owned, controlled and managed by U.S. citizens, a majority (at least 51%) of whom are racial or ethnic minorities. During the certification process it is the responsibility of the applicant to prove that his/her business meets these criteria. These qualifications for minority status come directly from our national parent organization, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC). They are standardized requirements across the country.

  • The company shall be owned by an ethnic-minority.
  • The principals must be U.S. citizens.
  • The ethnic-minority shall own, operate, and manage no less than 51% of the firm.
  • The minority owners shall have complete and absolute control of the company, and be active in day-to-day management and daily business operations.

Proof of minority status

There is a stark difference between knowing that you are an ethnic or racial minority demonstrating through documentation that you are one. The most common way for applicants to demonstrate their ethnic or racial background is by producing the birth certificate or death certificate of a parent or grandparent during the certification process. The minimum documented proof of ethnicity requirement for any of the ethnic minority categories listed below is 25%.

Groups that qualify as racial or ethnic minorities

Asian-Indian A U.S. citizen whose origins are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Asian-Pacific A U.S. citizen whose origins are from Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific or the Northern Marianas.
Black A U.S. citizen having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.
Hispanic A U.S. citizen of true-born Hispanic heritage, from any of the Spanish-speaking areas of the following regions: Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean Basin only.  Brazilians (Afro-Brazilian, indigenous/Indian only) shall be listed under Hispanic designation  for review and certification purposes.
Native American A person who is an American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut or Native Hawaiian, and regarded as such by the community of which the person claims to be a part. Native Americans must be documented members of a North American tribe, band or otherwise organized group of native people who are indigenous to the continental United States and proof can be provided through a Native American Blood Degree Certificate (i.e., tribal registry letter, tribal roll register number).

Groups not certifiable are those whose origins or heritage are of or from:

Iberian Peninsula Spain, Portugal
Asia Minor Region Peninsula between the Black Sea & the Mediterranean
Persian Gulf Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc.
Europe All European countries
Northern Africa Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, etc.

Proof of U.S. citizenship

Applicants must also prove their United States citizenship. If you were born in the United States, you can prove your citizenship by providing your birth certificate. If you were born outside of the United States but have since become a naturalized U.S. citizen, you can prove your citizenship by providing either a naturalized passport or your naturalization papers.

Proof of ownership

The applicant’s firm shall be an independent business, with an independent location and not a “sales arm” of a non-minority firm. The firm shall be an existing operation (not a start-up) with an existing contract or a firm that has an existing (documented) contract with one of the NMSDC Corporate Members. All equity investments shall be true and real, presented on the balance sheet (according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and documented and correspond with all other legal documents.

Proof of absolute control and day-to-day management

Complete control means the ethnic-minority owners shall be able to act independently of the non-minority owners. The ethnic-minority must demonstrate the “capabilities of managing” the firm. If the company is a state chartered entity (i.e., corporation, limited liability company or a limited partnership), the ethnic-minority person(s) must demonstrate the ability to manage and control the “chartered” entity, the other shareholders and/or the other unit holders. The ethnic-minority person(s) must have numerical control of the corporation’s Board of Directors and the limited liability company’s Board of Members. These operational and control facts must be documented in the corporate bylaws, limited liability company’s operating agreement or the partnership agreement.