Disability-Owned Business Enterprise Certification: Every part You Must Know


Welcome to Breaking the Blueprint — a blog series that dives into the unique business challenges and opportunities of underrepresented business owners and entrepreneurs. Learn the way they’ve grown or scaled their businesses, explored entrepreneurial ventures inside their corporations, or created side hustles, and the way their stories can encourage and inform your individual success.

Every part You Must Know in regards to the Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBE) Certification

Minority-owned business certification dates back to the Nineteen Seventies but only steadily began being considered potentially applicable to entrepreneurs with disabilities some 15 years ago — many years after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990.

This explains why, in 2023, there are only 500 DOBEs across the country despite the various industrial benefits.

What’s the disability-owned business certification?

A disability-owned business enterprise (DOBE for brief) is a for-profit business that’s at the very least 51% owned by a person with a disability.

The DOBE certification process is wholly administered across america by Disability:IN, a world leader in business disability inclusion with a network of over 500 major corporations, and, once accomplished, brings with it quite a few competitive benefits like:

  • A nationally recognized certification
  • Preferential supply chain access through private and non-private sector clients with supply chain diversity commitments
  • Education, training, and networking opportunities which can be exclusively available to certified DOBEs

Moreover, Disability:IN can provide direct introductions to key procurement leaders and company buyers whilst also assisting DOBEs in ensuring that they’re contract-ready and fully primed to capitalize on all kinds of market opportunities.

Briefly, DOBEs enjoy a transparent competitive advantage over other disability-owned businesses that are usually not certified and compete on more of a level playing field with similar organizations that are usually not disability-owned.

Disability:IN Certification Requirements

A DOBE might be run by someone with any kind of disability, each visible or invisible – physical or cognitive – provided the medical evidence submitted upon application can attest that the incapacity has a major long-term impact on the person concerning each day life activities.

Where there may be less room for maneuver is that the disabled applicant will need to have at the very least 51% control of the business and subsequently have the ultimate say on all essential industrial decisions.

DOBE Certification Process

In the course of the DOBE application process, which might be undertaken online, the applicant must submit documented evidence of their majority stake in the corporate. These documents may include tax returns, articles of incorporation, and company meeting minutes.

Disability:IN uses a sub-committee of around seven of its 70 corporate members to review and approve applications, and it’s normally done inside 90 days. If a business has previously been designated as minority-owned by related operators reminiscent of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council or the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the approval process might be fast-tracked to 30 days.

Once approved, you’ll have to renew your accreditation every three years (at a value of $300), which, in comparison with the potential upsides, is a drop within the ocean. Nevertheless, business owners are required to notify Disability:IN if, within the interim, there may be a change within the ownership structure of the organization.

Why is the disability-owned business certification essential?

Entrepreneurship is twice as popular amongst disabled people than their non-disabled counterparts, and overall, one in five or 20% of Americans are thought to live with some kind of disability.

In estimating the potential number of companies that may benefit from DOBE certification based on this data — 500 represents a major shortfall. Nevertheless, there may be more likely to be a multiplicity of things driving this.

Firstly, not all business owners with impairments may have heard of the DOBE certification program, and plenty of may not self-identify as disabled. Others may incorrectly imagine that the disability-owned designation only applies to more extreme cases of disability.

Others still could have concerns that certification may stigmatize the business and potentially delay less enlightened customers.

The truth is that DOBEs might be as discrete as they see fit to advertise their accredited status. While some may display their accreditation badge on their website, others may simply use their status for networking and leveraging contracts.

Over to You

We at the moment are over three many years from the ADA, and the evolving pandemic corporate world holds promise for being more inclusive.

In the event you’re a disabled business owner in 2023, applying for a DOBE certification can open a large number of doors — there’s nothing to lose and potentially an enormous amount to achieve.


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