Promoting diversity and programs that help diversity-owned businesses succeed.
Local, state and federal organizations can help to qualify minority-owned firms to develop and grow their businesses through counselling, training workshops, and technical guidance. Below are a few resources.
Minority-Owned Certified Business Directory
Certification is a review process designed to ensure that a small business is owned, controlled and operated by the applicants. Most certifications are granted for minority- or women-owned businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, and underutilized businesses.
US Government Certifications
- Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) certification helps small businesses located in specially designated high unemployment and low income areas gain preferential access on some federal government procurement opportunities.
- 8(a) Business Development Program – This US Small Business Administration program was created to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the market place. Firms certified through this program can gain exclusive access to certain federal government contracts.
- Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program – The Federal government sets aside certain contract bid opportunities exclusively for expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs).
- Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses – The Federal government sets aside certain contract bid opportunities exclusively for Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses.
Private and Local Government Certifications
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council certification program
- National Women Business Owners Corporation certification program
- US Women’s Chamber of Commerce certification program
- Tri-State Minority Supplier Development Council certification program
- Louisville Metro Government certification program
- Kentucky Minority and Women Business certification program – Kentucky’s first statewide certification program for the promotion of women and minority owned businesses.
- Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Certification
Employee Skills Certifications
Various industries require certificates, permits, and licenses to conduct business, and there is more information about those requirements in the Permits and Licenses section of the Kentucky Business One Stop. There are other types of certification that can be just as important because they indicate a certain level of professional achievement and training. Listed below are some statewide worker certification programs from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System that indicate skills development.
- Kentucky Employability Certificate – The Kentucky Employability Certificate confirms to employers that an individual possesses basic skills in reading, math and finding information – skills that all jobs require. The certificate is a standardized credential that says the holder is job ready.
- The Team Leadership Certificate is an accelerated, learner-driven training program that can be customized for new supervisors or experienced managers and reviews the basics of worker supervision, leadership, human resources, quality management and communication.
If your business is looking to reduce energy costs and make a positive environmental impact then Energy Star and other energy certification programs may be of interest to you. If your business is in the construction industry and you are looking to become part of a green certification program there are resources to help you as well.
- The Division of Efficiency and Conservation in the Energy and Environment Cabinet can help you get started with a wealth of information on residential buildings, commercial buildings, schools, industry and transportation as well as an abundance of energy saving tips.
Veteran-Owned Business Resources
- U.S. Small Business Administration provides resources to veterans to help you start and grow your small business. From creating a business plan to finding your first customer, they are here to help you succeed.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization has government programs, financing opportunities, and business tools for veterans.
- Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) serve America’s veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Certification Program supports service-disabled military veterans who own a business and live in Kentucky. It is designed to promote growth among SDVOSBs and encourage these businesses to locate and expand in the Commonwealth.
LGBT-Owned Business Resources
- U.S. Small Business Administration LGBT-Owned Businesses site features small business programs and resources for LGBT-owned businesses.
Entrepreneurs with Disabilities
- U.S. Small Business Administration lists entrepreneurship resources for people with disabilities.
Minority-Owned Business Funding
- U.S. Small Business Administration Grants – If your small business is engaged in scientific research and development (R&D), you may qualify for federal grants.
- U.S Small Business Administration Loans – Start or expand your business with loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.
- Lender Match – Lender Match is a free online referral tool that connects small businesses with participating SBA-approved lenders.
- Grants.gov – Register with Grants.gov, search for federal grant opportunities, and begin the application process.
- USA Financing – Explore the variety of government-backed loans and funding programs for your business.
- 8(a) Business Development Program – Learn how SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace.
- Contracting Support for Woman-Owned Small Businesses – U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program sets aside federal contracts for women-owned small businesses in eligible industries.
- U.S. Small Business Administration Contracting Guide – The federal government contracts with small businesses to buy products and services.