Initial Application

What is a MBE or WBE?

A Minority Business Enterprises is a business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more minority persons. A Woman Business Enterprise is a business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a woman. A racial minority is, for the purposes of the State of Missouri’s MBE program, defined as individuals who are Black, American Indian, Hispanic, Asian American and other similar racial minority groups as per Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 33 Section 33.750. Also included are Alaskan Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Aleuts.

May I qualify as both a MBE and WBE? 

Only women who also fall into one of the racial or ethnic categories can qualify for classification as both a minority and woman-owned business enterprise M/WBE. A woman and a minority cannot share ownership of a company to qualify for both as one individual must hold 51% ownership. The following requisites must also be met: Have requisite expertise; Owns at least 51% of the enterprise; Management and daily operations controlled by the owner(s); Be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted permanent resident.

What are the advantages of obtaining the State of Missouri M/WBE certification?

Certification as a MBE and/or WBE provides greater opportunities for these businesses to bid on state contracts. All certified M/WBE vendors appear on the Office of Equal Opportunity Directory of Certified M/WBE Vendors. Both contractors and state agencies use this site as a resource in soliciting certified minority and/or female participation for ongoing projects. This certification covers all state agencies except for Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), which participates in the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program.

What if a question in the certification application does not apply to me?

Please mark not applicable (N/A) and include an explanation.

Is my business automatically certified with the State of Missouri if I am certified with another state?

No. You must go through the State of Missouri’s certification process to become certified. It is important to note certification with another entity does not guaranteed certification with OEO, and each case is reviewed on its individual merits.  You can check the list of other certifying entities OEO works with here

Is my business automatically certified if I am certified as a M/WBE with another Missouri certifying entity?

No. Missouri-based businesses must apply to Office of Equal Opportunity for M/WBE Certification through the Rapid Response Process. This process requires documentation but can be completed in a shorter time frame than the Standard In-State Certification.

OEO does not guarantee certification approval and reserves the right to make a determination based on the review of each individual submission.

What help is available with the application process?

If you need help with the application process please call our office at +1 (573) 751-8130, our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.

Is there an application fee?

No! This service is provided free of charge as a benefit from the state of Missouri.

How long does the certification process take?

Standard process for Missouri-based businesses takes approximately 60-90 days.

What does an on-site visit entail?

An on-site visit is a verbal and visual verification of the M/WBE owner’s ability to fulfill certification requirements. There is no need for preparation; the interviewer will have all the required information. Any additional documentation that may be needed can be provided on-site or gathered for later submission. This visit also allows the applicant an opportunity to get acquainted with program staff, ask questions specific to their individual circumstances or needs and voice concerns.


How do I get an annual update affidavit?

Upon the anniversary of your certification, OEO will e-mail you a reminder to submit your annual update. The e-mail will be delivered to the address on file in your account. You will receive a reminder at 60 and 30 days prior to your anniversary date. If you have not received this notification or have changed your e-mail address, please e-mail our staff at to request to update your e-mail address. Visit our website  mwbe-certifications/updates-renewals to update your file now.

How do I re-certify my M/WBE?

The month before your expiration date, OEO will e-mail you the notification your recertification is due. If you have not received the notification or have changed your e-mail address, please e-mail our staff at to update your e-mail address and/or have a new form sent to you.

What help is available with the re-certification process?

If you need help with the re-certification process, please call our office at +1 (573) 751-8130, and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.

Denial and Appeal Process

What happens if my application is denied?

If you are denied certification, you have two options: (1) you may wait six months from the date on your letter of denial and reapply or (2) appeal the determination to the Commissioner of the Office of Administration (OA). You have twenty-one (21) calendar days from the date on your letter of denial of your denial letter to appeal. The Commissioner’s decision is final. If your denial is upheld on appeal, you may reapply in six months (180 days) from the date of the official notification of the denial being upheld.

How do I appeal a denial?

An appeal must be presented in writing to the Commissioner’s Office within twenty-one calendar (21) days from the date on your letter of denial of your denial letter. Please mail your appeal to:

Office of Administration

Commissioner’s Office

P.O. Box 809

Jefferson City, Missouri 65102


If I was certified, do I remain certified during the appeal process?

No. As soon as a denial is issued the M/WBE status is revoked. In order for that status to be re-instated the denial must be overturned by the commissioner’s office.

Doing Business with the State of Missouri

May I bid on state projects prior to my certification?

Yes. Your M/WBE status does not preclude you from bidding on state contracts or bidding with prime contractors for subcontracts. Certification is not necessary for doing business with the State of Missouri. However, M/WBE certification has significant advantages, especially for smaller, less-established firms. You will not be eligible to receive some of these advantages if you are not certified by the bid close date. 

Do the participation targets remain constant in all contracts?

No. Executive Order 05-30 establishes that “all state agencies shall continue to make every feasible effort to target the percentage of goods and services procured from certified M/WBEs to 10% and 5%, respectively.” The Division of Purchasing and the Division of Facilities Management, Design and Construction (FMDC) have the authority to set target recommendations for each project based on the availability of M/WBE firms to perform the work.

What types of contracting opportunities are available with the State of Missouri?

There are various types of opportunities for contracting with the State of Missouri, and these opportunities change constantly. For the most recent listing of available opportunities please visit for subcontracting opportunities or for a listing of bids available by agency.

How does the State of Missouri keep track of the participation of an M/WBE in a contract?

As a requirement of the contract, the prime contractor must submit payment verification forms to the Department of Purchasing as stipulated in the contract. These forms are utilized by The Division of Purchasing to keep track of the M/WBE participation on each contract. These forms are available for public viewing at This link will take you to the “AWARDED BID & CONTRACT DOCUMENT SEARCH PAGE”. Once on that page, follow the directions that will take you to the “Select a saved search” screen, click on the dropdown arrow and select “Search by Contract Number”. Enter your contract number and click on “Execute” in the top left hand corner of the screen. Clicking on “Execute” will take you to the different forms available for that contract number. Look for the form “MBE-WBE-BSW Participation Report” for each month submitted.

NOTE – All vendors are required to submit this form as required in their contracts to indicate their MBE-WBE-BSW  participation.

How can suspected abuse of the M/WBE program be reported?

Reports of fraud and abuse or if there are third parties who have reason to believe that an enterprise has been wrongfully granted certification, either as a M/WBE or joint venture, they may file a third party challenge with OEO. Challenges by third parties are not considered an appeal. Any allegations of suspected abuse of Missouri’s M/WBE program or to obtain forms to report the suspected abuse, please call OEO at +1 (573) 751-8130.

How will M/WBE contract compliance be monitored?

Contract compliance is monitored by the Office of Administration through the Division of Purchasing.