MBE Eligibility in Maryland

By:  James R. Benjamin, Jr., Esquire                                    jbenjamin@pklaw.com


Q:  How does a minority-owned business become eligible for certification as a minority business enterprise (MBE) in the State of Maryland?

A:   A minority-owned business seeking certification as an MBE in the State of Maryland must apply to Maryland’s Office of Minority Business Enterprise.  To be eligible, the MBE must demonstrate it meets certain requirements concerning group membership, business size, ownership and control.  The MBE must be able to demonstrate the business is independent and at least 51% owned by a minority.  The minority owner must have the power to direct, or cause the direction of, the management and policies of the business and make day to day decisions as well as long term business decisions concerning matters of management, policy and operations.  The minority owners must also submit a personal net worth statement. 

                The MBE must demonstrate that the business is not subject to formal or informal restrictions that limit the customary discretion of the minority owner.  The MBE must demonstrate that it is a small business under the federal Small Business Act (SBA).  Certification of a minority-owned business as an MBE can be a viable tool for developing and maintaining business relationships.  A minority-owned business desiring certification as an MBE in the State of Maryland may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning eligibility requirements for MBE certification prior to applying for the certification. 

James R. Benjamin, Jr. is a Member with Pessin Katz Law, P.A. (PK Law) and is part of the firm’s General Litigation Group.  Mr. Benjamin has significant experience representing and advising minority-owned and women-owned businesses (MBEs and WBEs) on certification and procurement matters as well as structuring and creating joint ventures and teaming arrangements. He advises businesses concerning MBE certification with MDOT and MBE/WBE certification in the Baltimore City Market Area under the Baltimore City Code. He has represented WBEs in administrative appeals involving agency decisions to decertify. He has considerable experience providing legal advice to businesses concerning 8(a) small business certification and participation in mentor-protégé programs. He also is experienced in advising businesses on requirements for certification as a qualified HUBZone small business concern.  Mr. Benjamin can be contacted at 410-339-5787 or jbenjamin@pklaw.com.