Small Business Enterprise Certification

The purpose of the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program is to promote the economic welfare of the people of the City of Cincinnati, to mitigate the effects of discrimination against SBEs, and to promote full and equal business opportunity for all persons doing business with the City of Cincinnati.

The Small Business Enterprise Program is administered by the Office of Contract Compliance.

This SBE program is race- and gender-neutral.

General Requirements

  • Small businesses must have a fixed office in Hamilton County one year prior to application.
  • All applicants seeking certification must register as a vendor with the City. Registering with the City is not certification. Vendor registration is handled through the City’s Purchasing Division.
  • Self-Certification Application available to firms contracting no more than $50,000 per contract.
  • The net worth of each owner is not to exceed $750,000.
  • The City's Nondiscrimination and Good Faith Effort policies are enforced.
  • Construction contracts over $100,000 include a mandatory 30% SBE subcontracting goal.
  • Professional Services, Supplies and Service contracts over $100,000 require a 15% subcontracting goal.
  • Firms certified by other governmental agencies will be required to be certified under this program regardless of previous certification.

SBE Application Form

All applicants seeking certification must register with the City. Registering with the City is not certification. Registration is handled through the City’s Purchasing Division.

There are four processes for an applicant to choose when seeking certification.

  1. Self-Certification: for small businesses with contract values under $50,000 only
  2. Streamlined Certification: for small businesses currently certified through the State of Ohio EDGE Program or the Federal 8 (a) Business Development Program. Companies seeking to go through the streamlined certification must be in good standing with the government agency in which certification was granted.
  3. Full Application: the full SBE Application Packet contains the SBE Application, SBE Application Check List, Personal Financial Statement, Instruction for Vendor Registration (VSS) and Form OCC 147.
  4. Renewal: available only to SBEs that have already been certified.