The MBAC office assists businesses with the State of Ohio Business Certification process so that small business owners will have access to more opportunities, which includes budgeted funds set aside for MBAC participants.


The State of Ohio’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program is designed to assist minority businesses in obtaining state government contracts through a procurement program for goods and services with budgeted funds set aside for MBE participants.

“Minority Business Enterprise” (MBE) means an individual, partnership, corporation or joint venture of any kind that is owned and controlled by U.S. Citizens and residents of Ohio, who are and have held themselves out as members of the following socially and economically disadvantaged groups: Blacks, American Indians, Hispanics, and Asians.


The State of Ohio recognizes the need to encourage, nurture and support the growth of economically and socially underutilized businesses to foster their development. Therefore, the EDGE Program provides an “EDGE” to small businesses by Encouraging Diversity Growth and Equity in public contracting. EDGE is an assistance program for economically and socially disadvantaged business enterprises.

Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) participants must be a small socially and economically disadvantaged business enterprise owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are Ohio residents. EDGE establishes goals for state agencies, boards, and commissions in awarding contracts to certified EDGE eligible businesses. EDGE applies to the procurement of supplies and services, professional services, information technology services, construction, and professional design services.

EDGE Program Eligibility and Overview

Applications for MBE / EDGE are completed electronically and submitted through the Ohio Business Gateway (OBG).  If this is your first time logging into OBG, you will need a username and password. Please click on “New User” to create an account. If you need assistance logging in or have any questions, please contact the MBAC Akron team and/or the Ohio Business Gateway office at (614)466-8380. 


The State of Ohio’s Veteran-Friendly Business Enterprise (VBE) Procurement program provides preference or bonus points to certified companies that compete to contract with the state to supply the goods or services it needs, including eligible construction services. To qualify for certification, one of the following criteria must be met by the applicant’s business:

  • At least 10% of its employees are veterans or on active service;
  • At least 51% of the applicant business is owned by veterans or persons on active service;
  • If the applicant business is a corporation, 51% of which is not owned by veterans or persons on active service, at least 51% of the board of directors are veterans or persons on active service; or
  • The business is certified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business or a Veteran-Owned Small Business.

Benefits of VBE Certification

The VBE program applies to all state agencies’ purchases made by bid or proposal under chapter 125 of the Ohio Revised Code (R.C.). Essentially, the program allows for:

  • Prices on bids submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to exceed those prices on bids submitted by businesses not certified as veteran-friendly by up to five percent and still be eligible for winning the award; and
  • Scores on proposals submitted by veteran-friendly businesses to be up to five percent lower than the proposal scores submitted by businesses not certified as veteran-friendly and still be eligible for winning the award.


The State of Ohio’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) program is designed to assist women-owned businesses in obtaining contracts for goods and services, construction, architecture, engineering, information technology, and professional services. The WBE program does not apply a procurement goal or set-aside target for state government contracts. The State of Ohio developed the program because it recognized the need to encourage, nurture and support the growth of women businesses to foster their development and increase the number of qualified competitors in the marketplace.

WBE Eligibility

A WBE-certified business must be owned and controlled by a woman who is a U.S. citizen and has an established residency in the state of Ohio or a reciprocal state (if certified pursuant to section 123.154(D) of the Revised Code). In addition, the following criteria must be met:

  • The business must
    • have been in business for at least one year prior to applying; and
    • be at least 51 percent women-owned; and
  • The business owner must
    • possess requisite knowledge of the business and industry in which she is applying;
    • have day-to-day control over the business, exercising final authority over all aspects of daily operations, including but not limited to, operations, financial and business management, human resources, and policy decisions; and
    • possess all licenses and permits required by law to perform the scope of work within the classifications requested.

Benefits of WBE Certification

Ohio WBE-certified program participants are eligible for contract assistance, management, and technical assistance.


    Ability to utilize Ohio WBE certification to apply for certification with reciprocal states, doing business in those states as a WBE-certified business.


    Certified businesses are listed in a searchable database (located in Quick Links).

  • Management and Technical Assistance
    • Access to Minority Business Assistance Centers and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which assist businesses with identifying federal, state, and local contracting and subcontracting opportunities.
    • Access to free accounting assistance, structuring internal accounting systems, auditing management records, business plan development, technical advisory services, marketing plans, and evaluation of company operations/management processes.
    • Access to business development organizations that facilitate training, strategic management, networking, and mentoring opportunities with major corporations.

Download WBE Application (PDF)