Women, minorities and veterans face unique challenges when it comes to opening businesses and accessing capital. But it just got a bit easier for them in New Jersey.
In recognition of National Small Business Month, state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio announced that the $100 filing fee to become certified as a Small-, Minority-, Woman- or Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise is being waived indefinitely.
The waiver will begin June 1.
“We are kicking off national Small Business Week by opening the door wide for small-, minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses who are looking to do business with the state,” Muoio said.
“Treasury is continuously striving to find ways to make doing business with the state easier and more intuitive, especially when it comes to businesses looking to get their foot in the door and pursue contracting opportunities with the state.”
Registration is already free to become certified as a Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise. Additionally, New Jersey business owners are already permitted to register their business for as many certification categories as they are eligible.
Businesses can apply for certification in any of these categories through Treasury’s online portal.
Certification as a Small-, Minority-, Woman-, Veteran- or Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise provides state-backed documentation of a business’ status and allows businesses to compete in select set-aside or goal-based contracting initiatives offered by state agencies.
Included in this is the Small Business Enterprise Set-Aside Program, which sets a goal of awarding 25% of state contracting and purchase orders to small businesses, and the Disabled Veteran-Owned Set Aside Program, which awards 3% of state contracting and purchase orders to businesses that are owned and operated by service-disabled veterans.
The state’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is also in the process of conducting a statewide disparity study, which may allow for additional set-aside programs to be authorized in the future for other subsets of the SMWVBE universe.
“Today’s announcement marks an important step to strengthen the state’s commitment to supporting diverse businesses,” Chief Diversity Officer Hester Agudosi said. “Waiving the fee associated with minority-, women- and veteran-owned business certification removes a monetary barrier to accessing the state’s supply chain that is real for many minority, women, LGBTQ and veteran business owners.
“As a New Jersey-certified MWBE, both public- and private-sector organizations and firms have access to your profile for considering solicitations for prime and subcontract opportunities.”