Frequently Asked Questions

What is the County Business Enterprise (CBE) Certification Program?

The County Business Enterprise (CBE) program is the latest initiative of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners to assist Broward County's local small business community in achieving greater opportunity in County procurement. The CBE program has replaced the Community Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. The intent is to increase the participation by small businesses in County projects as both prime contractors and subcontractors. The program is like the former minority and women-owned business program in that firms have access to County subcontracting under a “percentage goals” system. It is different in that a firm need only meet size (gross receipts) and owner net worth standards, not race or gender requirements.

Who qualifies for certification as a County Business Enterprise (CBE)?

Businesses that meet the following criteria qualify to apply for County Business Enterprise certification:

  • Each owner must have a personal net worth not exceeding $750,000 (excluding their primary residence and business)
  • Has an office in Broward County, meaning that it has a current business tax receipt issue by Broward County, a physical business address (an office where the firm conducts business, not a post office box) located within the geographical limits of the county in an area zoned for the conduct of such business, and has sufficient full-time employees in Broward County to perform the contracted work and has been established in Broward County for at least one year prior to application submittal
  • Is an independent firm
  • The applicant may not exceed the average annual maximum gross receipts standard of $5 million, calculated over the previous three (3) years.

What is the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Certification/Sheltered Market Program?

The Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Certification Program certifies firms to participate in incentive programs (Sheltered Market/Reserved Contracts) available for small businesses and their owners located in Broward County who want to do business with Broward County. This program is the result of a 2001 Disparity Study that identified existing barriers for local small businesses in their attempts to do business with Broward. The Small Business Enterprise Certification program is administered in addition to the County Business Enterprise Certification Program. The SBE Certification Program was introduced in 2004 to insure that small Broward businesses will receive a proportionate share of County business.

Who qualifies for certification as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) under the Sheltered Market Program?

Businesses that meet the following criteria qualify to apply for Small Business Enterprise Certification:

  • Each owner must have a personal net worth not exceeding $750,000 (excluding their primary residence and business)
  • The vendor must have a Broward Business Tax Receipt (previously titled Occupational License) and be located in and be doing business in Broward County.
  • Each business must be independently owned and operated with 25 or fewer permanent full-time employees.
  • The business must be established for a period of one year prior to submitting its application, and must serve a commercially useful function.
  • The applicant may not exceed the average annual maximum gross receipts standard, calculated over the previous three (3) years, for the business category in which the firm does most of its work, as follows:

Business Category and Maximum Gross Receipts Per Year

Construction = $3 million per year

Professional Services = $500,000 per year

Contractual Services = $1 million per year

Commodities = No revenue limitations, but must meet all other required standards

What is the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program?

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification is required to bid on contracts where federal funds are involved. To qualify for this certification, you must prove that you are a small business owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged according to the guidelines in the Federal DBE Program (49 CFR Part 26).

Who qualifies for certification as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?
Membership in certain race and ethnic groups identified under “minority-owned business enterprise” in this appendix may meet the presumption of socially and economically disadvantaged. Women are also presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged by the federal program. Examination of economic disadvantage also includes investigating the gross revenues and the firm owner's personal net worth (maximum of $750,000 exclusive of equity in a primary residence and in the business). Some minority and women-owned firms do not qualify as DBEs because of the gross revenue or the net worth requirements. A firm owned by a non-minority male can be certified as a DBE if social and economic disadvantage is proven in accordance with 49 CFR Part 26.

How can these programs benefit my business?
If you are the small business owner of a company that provides goods or services that Broward County purchases, then you may benefit from these programs. The incentive programs available for certified Community Business Enterprise (CBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) firms include a subcontracting goals program for CBEs and a bid preference afforded to SBE providers of goods and general services. The names of firms that are granted CBE and/or SBE certification are available to the public and all County and outside agency procurement personnel through an online directory.

What are the incentive programs for certified companies?

County Business Enterprise Incentive Programs
Subcontracting goals projects – If you are a certified CBE subcontractor, your firm may be used to meet CBE subcontracting goals on selected contracts awarded by the County. Prime contractors who bid on County-funded projects must make good faith efforts to find and contract with County Business Enterprise firms to meet goals established by the County. A business directory of certified CBE firms is available on-line.

All contractors who obtain copies of bid specifications are referred to the Small Business Certified Business Directory to assist in identifying eligible CBE firms. Note: A contractor may identify a CBE-eligible firm to meet their goals, which is not on the list. In that case the CBE-eligible firm identified must become certified prior to bid submittal.

Small Business Enterprise/Sheltered Market Incentive Programs
The County may reserve specific goods and general services contracts less than $250,000 for exclusive competition among certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE) firms under the Sheltered Market program.

How do I apply for certification?

Many small business applicants qualify for more than one local certification: CBE or SBE certification programs. Only one application and associated supporting documentation is required to apply for one or both certifications.

To apply for Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) certification, a separate application is required.

Is there a cost associated with the certification?

Certification with Broward County is free.

How long does it take to become certified?
First-time applicants can expect to receive a final determination on their CBE and/or SBE certification application within 30 days, provided that all required documentation has been turned into the Small Business Development Division.

Be sure to register as a vendor with the Broward County Purchasing Department. Vendor registration is required prior to applying for certification. Click here to apply.

Now that my company is certified as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE); can I bid on contracts designated as Sheltered Market Program?
Yes, as long as your firm is certified as an SBE. The certification letter you receive along with your certificate will clearly indicate whether you are eligible to bid on Sheltered Market contracts.

How long is the certification valid?

CBE and SBE certification is continuous, as long as the firm maintains its eligibility in each of the certification programs. The certification letter and certificate will have an "Anniversary Date", which is the day your application was approved for certification. Each year, on the anniversary date, the firm must submit to OESBD documents verifying that the firm remains eligible for certification. Required documents may include but are not limited to the following:

  • A Continuing Eligibility Affidavit
  • Copies of the business tax return for the previous year
  • Copies of current Broward County and municipal tax receipts
  • Copies of current professional licenses (if applicable)
  • A Personal Net Worth worksheet

Within 30 days of the firms' anniversary of certification, a notice will be mailed to the address on record. It is the responsibility of the certified firm to maintain a valid certification.

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) certification must be updated annually.

How will I know about upcoming business opportunities with the County?

Broward County Purchasing Division has implemented a system whereby registered vendors will receive ONLY email notification of current solicitations of interest. When a formal solicitation or addendum to a solicitation is prepared for a particular commodity or service valued over $30,000, all vendors registered for the commodity code(s) associated with the commodity/service will receive an e-mail. The e-mail will include the title and solicitation number and will provide a link which will direct the vendor to the County's current bid site on the Internet. Formal bids and Requests for Letters of Interest can be printed directly from the Internet site. Informal quotation requests are listed along with instructions for obtaining a copy of quotation requirements.

What happened to the Community Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (CDBE) Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Programs?

The County's CDBE Program was replaced by the County Business Enterprise (CBE) Program on June 23, 2009 by the Board of Broward County Commissioners. The new ordinance governing the CBE and SBE programs is called the Broward County Business Opportunity Act of 2012. This Act supersedes the 2009 Act.

The M/WBE Program was suspended in response to the need to complete a new Disparity Study to ensure that the Broward County's minority and women-owned business program was operating at an optimal level, to ensure fairness to all Broward County businesses. Upon completion of the Disparity Study, the County Commission will respond to the consultant's recommendations for any identified disparity, to ensure a level playing field for all firms, regardless of race or gender background.

What workshops does the Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD)conduct?
The Office of Economic and Small Business Development presents the “How to do Business with Broward County” monthly workshop series annually. This series features representatives from both OESBD and the Purchasing Division. Additional special seminars are scheduled according to demand.

Does Broward County provide grants or loans to small business firms?

No. Broward County Government does not provide grants and/or loans to small business firms. Here are a few local organizations that assist small business with grants and/or loans:

South Florida Regional Planning Council, Loan Administration Board
3440 Hollywood Blvd., Ste. 140
Hollywood, FL 33302

Metro Broward

Broward Alliance

Local Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration
100 S. Biscayne Blvd, 7th Floor
Miami, FL 33131