What are the criteria for certification?


NCMSDC certifies any for profit business located in Northern California or Hawaii that is 51% or more ethnic minority-owned, operated and controlled by a U.S. citizen (s). 


Minority status is given to individuals belonging to one or more of the following groups:


African American

Latino (and Afro-Brazillian)

Native American

Asian American/Asian Pacific

Asian Indian


NCMSDC certifies based on bloodline NOT nationality.



     For purposes of NMSDC's program, a minority group member is an individual who is a U.S. citizen 

     with at least 1/4 or 25% minimum (documentation to support claim of 25% required from applicant)

     of the following:


A U.S. citizen whose origins are from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.


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.


A U.S. citizen having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa.


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 shall be listed under Hispanic designation  for review and certification purposes.

Native American





A person who is an American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut and Native Hawaiian regarded as such by the community of which the person claims to be a part.


A Native American Indian 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).


     Classification Codes?


Asian-Indian American Female


Asian-Indian American Male


Asian-Pacific American Female


Asian-Pacific American Male


African American Female


African American Male


Hispanic American Female


Hispanic American Male


Native American/Native Hawaiian Female


Native American/Native Hawaiian Male


Does one have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify for certification?


Yes. An applicant must be a U.S. citizen either by birth or naturalization.  A permanent resident does not qualify.


Does NCMSDC certify women-owned businesses?


No, NCMSDC does not certify women-owned businesses unless the applicant falls under one of the minority categories.  


Does NCMSDC certify all businesses?


No, NCMSDC does not certify non-profits, franchise business, hotels, and car dealerships (unless a fleet contract is in place).


Where is the NCMSDC located?



460 Hegenberger Road

Suite 730

Oakland, CA 94621


How much does certification cost?

$350.00 Initial certification processing fee (local) (non-refundable)
$150.00 Initial certification processing fee (reciprocal) (non-refundable) 
$150.00 Annual recertification (renewal) and profile update (all) (non-refundable)

NOTE: Credit Card option NOT available


Does NCMSDC or any affiliate of NCMSDC sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to an applicant submitting a MBE Application?

No, neither NCMSDC nor an affiliate signs a Non-Disclosure Agreement.  However, NCMSDC staff members and all Certification Committee members are required to sign a Confidentiality Agreement.


What does the Certification Committee look for in an application?

The committee is looking for minority ownership, managerial operations and control.

"Ownership by minority individuals" means the business is at least 51% owned by such individuals or, in the case of a corporation or a LLC, such individuals own at least 51% of the shares and control Corporation's Board of Directors or the LLC's Board of Managers.

The minority owner(s) shall possess the title and power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the business and to make independent, day-to-day business decisions as well as other major decisions on matters of management, policy, and operations.

The business shall not be subject to any formal or informal restrictions, through, for example, by-law/operating agreement provisions, partnership agreements or Charter requirements for cumulative voting rights or other arrangements that prevent the minority owners from making a decision for the business "without the cooperation or vote of any owner who is not a minority."

In summary, the certifiable minority business owner must demonstrate operational and managerial control of the firm. This control shall "be real, substantial and continuing and shall go beyond the pro forma ownership of the business as reflected in the ownership documents. If the owners of the business who are non-minorities are disproportionately responsible for the operation and management of the business, then the firm is not controlled by minorities and shall not be considered a certifiable MBE."


How long does the certification process take?


The certification process can take up to 45-60 days depending on when the application is submitted and completeness of supporting documentation. 


What are NAICS Codes?


North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is an industry classification system that groups' establishments into industry sectors based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged. The NAICS is a comprehensive system covering the entire field of economic activities, producing and non-producing. This system replaces the former Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) designations. Corporate America and local, state, and federal government entities use NAICS codes. You are required to identify your businesses' NAICS designation code. The NMSDC and corporate buying groups use NAICS codes to identify certified MBEs.

Where may I locate my business NAICS Code?

You may locate the NAICS code at your local public library or on the internet. The Website address is www.naics.com

Is a site visit required?  What if I have a home-based business?


A site visit is mandatory and conducted at the business headquarters during the review process of an application.  A site visit may be conducted at a home if the business is home-based.


How can I apply for certification if I do not have Internet access?


Since the certification application is only available online, you will need access to the Internet.  Internet access is available at public libraries and various copy centers.


What is the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)?


The National Minority Supplier Development Council is the nationwide certifying organization.  The Northern California Minority Supplier Development Council (NCMSDC) is an affiliate of NMSDC.


If I get certified through NCMSDC, am I certified through the National Minority Supplier Development Council? 


Yes, certification obtained through NCMSDC is valid throughout the United States. In some cases, a reciprocal certification may be necessary if you are required to hold a local certification for a particular contract or bid opportunity. 


Am I eligible to be certified if I recently started my business?


Yes, there is no restriction on how long a business has been in operation. 


How long is my certification valid?


Certification is valid for one year, from the date of certification month/year.


When do I have to recertify?


You must recertify by submitting a Recertification profile for your company one month prior to the expiration date or "anniversary date" on your current certificate.  We recommend you start the recertification process 30 to 60 days prior to your expiration date. 


Even though you may not receive a notice from us, you are responsible for the timely processing of your recertification.  Your anniversary date will not be "moved or changed."  Your company will be decertified the day after your expiration date.  You may find instructions on the recertification process under the "Certification" section of the website.


I have heard that NCMSDC frequently emails information to MBEs and Corporate Members.  Why have I not received any emails from NCMSDC?


NCMSDC uses email as its primary form of contact with MBEs and Corporate Members.  The email address used is the address provided to NCMSDC on the certification application.  This is why your company profile should always contain accurate contact information.  


Click on the hyperlink to see Updated MBE Specific FAQs (including: profile management, login problems, updating company contacts, and more).


How do corporations search for suppliers in the NCMSDC database?


The NCMSDC database search function looks for matches in your profile's Description Paragraph and your NAICS Codes section.


Description Paragraph (Corporations search by keywords): Keyword searches scan your description paragraph for matches.  The more potential keywords you use, the more likely your company is to be found.  Add terms that a corporate member would commonly enter when searching for the products or services that you provide.  Limit: 500 characters.


NAICS Codes (Corporations search by NAICS codes): Make sure your codes are up-to-date and accurately reflect your products or services.  Limit: up to 10 NAICS codes.


For information on how to update your profile, please view our Position Yourself For Opportunities Tip corner.


What documents should I submit with my application?


All businesses must provide the following:

  • Fictitious Business Statement (if applicable)
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship (ex. drivers license, US Passport, birth certificate)
  • Proof of Ethnicity for Owner(s), Partners, Shareholders ((ex. passport, birth certificate, other examples marriage license, parents birth certificate(s))
  • Two Years of Federal Tax Returns (Business)*
  • Financial Statements (P &L, statement of cash flows, balance sheet)
  • Notes Payable (if any)
  • Applicable Operating Business License and/or permits
  • Lease Agreements
  • Resume(s) of owner(s), partners or shareholders
  • Equipment Rental and Purchase Agreements (if applicable)
  • Contract or work history for the past three years (name/contract type of work performed or type of contract received, ex. include customer list, sample invoices/contracts).
  • Equipment owned or available (including office equipment). Include description of equipment, year acquired, and current value
  • Proof of Bonding Capacity/Insurance/General Liability (if applicable)
  • Bank Signature Card (copy signature card or letter from bank stating company name, account number, and list of authorized signers).
  • Indian/Native Americans Blood Degree Certificate (i.e. tribal registry letter, tribal roll register number) [if applicable]
  • Non-refundable processing fee

                        *Personal taxes if in business less than 1 year


   *Note: Social Security# is not an acceptable form of EIN# for your business.

                                 An Employer Identification Number or EIN (also known as Federal Employer Identification Number

                                 or (FEIN) s the corporate equivalent to a Social Security Number, although it is issued to anyone,

                                 including individuals, who has to pay withholding taxes on employees.   Please visit the IRS website to

                                 register for an EIN:



What documents should I submit if my business is a corporation?

For a corporation, you must provide the following:

  • Article of Incorporation
  • Certificate of Corporation (Certificate with State Seal/single page attached with Articles)
  • Minutes of 1st Board Meeting
  • Copies of Stock Certificates
  • Current Stock Ledger
  • Corporate Bylaws
  • Proof of Stock Purchase


What documents should I submit if my business is a partnership?

For a Partnership, you must provide the following:

  • Partnership Agreements
  • Buy Out Rights
  • Profit Sharing
  • Current Partnership
  • Financial Statement
  • Third-party agreements: management service agreements
  • Proof of Capital Investment


What documents should I submit if my business is a limited liability company (LLC)?

If an LLC, you must provide the following:

  • Income Statement
  • Balance Sheet
  • Notes Payable
  • Operating License
  • Articles of Organization
  • Operational Agreement
  • Organizational Agreement


What happens after I become certified?


Upon approval by the Board of Directors, you will receive a certificate and welcome letter.  You will gain access to the NCMSDC directory of Corporate Members, which contains contact names, mailing addresses and email addresses. 


How can I designate my company as a certified MBE?


Please click here to read the "Do's & Don'ts for Identifying your Company as a Certified MBE."


What affects my certification status?


If a change occurs in your business, it is your responsibility to inform NCMSDC of the changes by submitting the appropriate paperwork.  The following is a list of more common situations: 

  • A change in the ownership structure of the business, for example, a new owner is added or removed.
  • The business moved to a new location.
  • The product or service the business provides has changed. 


How can I get involved with NCMSDC?


Involvement with NCMSDC is a vital component of certification.  After certification, we strongly encourage MBEs to actively participate in events to facilitate relationship building with Corporate Members and other certified suppliers.  NCMSDC holds four main events during the year, but also includes: 

  • Excellence in Supplier Diversity Awards Gala
  • Minority Business Opportunity Expo
  • Tools of the Trade Lunch Series
  • Speed Networking Events
  • Social Mixers
  • Networking Mixers
  • MBE General Assemblies & "Meet the Buyers"
  • Annual Holiday Luncheon 

In addition, NCMSDC hosts monthly networking mixers and educational seminars.