How Long Must A Minority-Owned Business Be In Operation Before Applying For Certification As A Minority Business Enterprise (“MBE”) In Baltimore City?

Under the Baltimore City Code, before a minority-owned business is eligible to apply for certification as an MBE, the business must have been in operation in the Baltimore City Market Area for at least twelve (12) months.  Under the Code, the Baltimore City Market Area includes Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Harford County, Carroll County and Queen Anne’s County. 

Additionally, the minority owner(s) must have at least 51% ownership of the business as well as control of the business during the entire twelve (12) month period.  That is, the minority owner(s) must possess the power to direct or cause the direction of the management and policies of the business as well as make day-to-day decisions and decisions on matters of management, policy and operations for the entire twelve (12) month period.  There can be no formal or informal restrictions that limit the discretion of the minority owner(s) or prevent the minority owner(s) from making business decisions without the cooperation or vote of a non-minority.  

Certification of a business can be a viable tool for developing and maintaining business relationships. Businesses seeking certification as an MBE in Baltimore City may want to consider obtaining legal advice concerning eligibility requirements for certification prior to applying for certification.