SUPPLIER DIVERSITY OFFICE 

UNIFORM CERTIFICATION PROGRAM (UCP)

Frequently Asked Questions-DBE FAQS

 Q1. What is the UCP program? 
 Q2. What is the definition of a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?
 Q3. What are the steps in becoming certified as a DBE?
 Q4. What is the cost for the Instructor Led Pre-certification Workshop?
 Q5. How long is the Instructor Led Workshop?
 Q6. Who do I contact with questions about filling out the application?
 Q7. While filling out the application, if something doesn’t apply do I leave it blank?
 Q8. Is there a fee to becoming DBE certified? 
 Q9. I am currently certified, and need to update my address is there a form? 
Q10. I don’t have access to a computer. How do I become certified?
Q11. Will I have to provide personal financial information to become DBE certified? 
Q12. What is the dollar limit on the personal net worth for DBE applicants?
Q13. How long does the certification process take before receiving the DBE certification?
Q14. Who do I contact about the status of my application or certification
Q15. How do I get on a federally funded contract once I become certified?
Q16. Will DBE certification really help my company to obtain new business?
Q17. Is there a contact person to assist me with the process of attaining contracts with the commonwealth?
Q18. What is the benefit of signing up for the training workshops?
Q19. What is the Comm-PASS program?
Q20. What is a DUNS number and how do I get one?
Q21. I am a sole proprietor; can I submit only the schedule c?
Q22. Is there a Fast Track Process?
Q23. Can I make changes to my profile?
Q24. Is my Financial Information Secure?
Q25. Once I attend a workshop, How long do I have to submit an application?
Q26. Can I submit the application online?

 

Q1. What is the UCP program?

         The UCP certifies organizations as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) with the U.S. government.  DBE 
         certification is a Federal designation used in conjunction with U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT)
         funded projects and contracts.

Q2. What is the definition of a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)?

         DBE’s are for profit small business concerns where socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at 
         least a 51% interest and also control management and daily business operations.
         African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian
         Americans, and Women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged.
         Other individuals can also qualify as socially and economically disadvantaged on a case-by-case basis.

Q3. What are the steps in becoming certified as a DBE?

         If you are located in Massachusetts, you must first attend an Instructor Led Pre-Certification Session.
         The locations and dates are located on the website at www.mass.gov/sdo. The application process will be
         discussed during this session.

         Out of state applicants, if certified in their home state, must first view the online webinar located at 
         www.mass.gov/sdo and then submit the (Interstate Certification Application Form to SDO with supporting 
         documents.

Q4. What is the cost for the Instructor Led Pre-certification Workshop?

        There is no fee for the workshop

Q5. How long is the Instructor Led Workshop?

        The workshop is 2 hours long

 Q6. Who do I contact with questions about filling out the application?

         You may contact the Intake Specialist -Jose Silva at jose.silva@state.ma.us

Q7. While filling out the application, if something doesn’t apply do I leave it blank?

        You must indicate N/A – not applicable

Q8. Is there a fee to becoming DBE certified? 

         There is no fee for the DBE certification with the Massachusetts Supplier Diversity Office (SDO).

Q9. I am currently certified, and need to update my address is there a form? 

         You must submit the change of address in writing on your letterhead along with a new W9 and Terms of Condition 
         which can be found under the link (Maintaining your Certification) and mail to the Supplier Diversity Office

Q10. I don’t have access to a computer. How do I become certified? 

         Please call the SDO Office at: (xxx)-xxx-xxxx or Training and Marketing at: (xxx)-xxx-xxxx and inform them so they 
         can register your company for a certification workshop. Also at the certification workshop inform the instructor so 
         she/he can give you a hard copy of the DBE certification application package.

Q11. Will I have to provide personal financial information to become DBE certified?

         Yes, a notarized personal financial statement must be completed for all 51% majority owners along with copies 
         of the past 2 years of personal 040 federal tax returns in order to calculate the personal net worth.

Q12. What is the dollar limit on the personal net worth for DBE applicants?

         The personal net worth must not exceed the $1,320,000.00 threshold,

Q13. How long does the certification process take before receiving the DBE certification?

          First, the application is received and reviewed by the intake Specialist. You will be notified if the application is
          incomplete or complete.
          If the application is incomplete you will be notified via email.
          If  the application is complete, the file is placed in queue for assignment to a certification investigator, once 
          assigned, you will receive a written conformation letter informing you of the investigators name and contact 
          information. 
          The investigator will then perform a desk audit to review the content, and then he/she may request additional
          documents for review.
          Secondly, a thorough review of all information is completed.  Next, he/she will schedule a site visit interview 
          or a telephone interview-(out of State only).

          Finally, she/he will begin completing an investigative DBE report and forward to the certification committee for their
          final review.

          SDO will endeavor to make certification decisions within 90 days of a completed application and 60 days for an
          Interstate Certification Application.

Q14. Who do I contact about the status of my application or certification

         If you have received notification that your file has been assigned, you may contact that investigator directly, 
         otherwise, contact the Director of Certification.

Q15. How do I get on a federally funded contract once I become certified?

         You must be proactive in marketing your company.  We recommend that you attend the “Connecting your 
         Business to the Commonwealth” workshop:  This a free workshop designed for businesses who are interested 
         in learning how to do business with the state. This workshop includes: An Overview of OSD programs and 
         services including, State and Federal Certification, Supplier Diversity Program (SDP), Small Business Purchasing
         Program (SBPP), and a live demonstration of where to find bidding opportunities in Comm-PASS. 
         (Commonwealth’s e-Procurement System) Attendees will also learn about Statewide and Departmental 
         Contracting procurement process and marketing to public entities. 

Q16. Will DBE certification really help my company to obtain new business?

        Yes, however it does not guarantee you will obtain a government contract.  It is how your company utilizes 
         its certification that will be of direct value to your firm’s revenue growth. These programs provide purchasing
        opportunities to companies that would not be available to your business.

Q17. Is there a contact person to assist me with the process of attaining contracts with the commonwealth?

        We also offer various trainings that you are welcome to take advantage of, here is the link to read the descriptions 
        and register: http://www.somwba.state.ma.us/WorkShop/xwrk_main.aspx.

Q18. What is the benefit of signing up for the training workshops?

         You will learn how to navigate the Commonwealth Procurement Solicitation System (Comm-PASS) 
         and will gain a better understanding of how to do business with the commonwealth.

Q19. What is the COMMBUYS program?

         COMMBUYS is the only official procurement record system for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Executive 
         Departments. COMMBUYS offers free internet-based access to all public procurement information posted here in 
         order to promote transparency, increase competition, and achieve best value for Massachusetts taxpayers.

Q20. What is a DUNS number and how do I get one?

        A DUNS number is a unique, non-indicative 9-digit identifier issued and maintained by D&B that verifies the
        existence of a business entity globally.  It is FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal
        government for contracts or grants.

        We recommend that you go directly to http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform because submitting online allows you to 
        easily view and answer the personally derived questions and multiple choice answers the authentication exam.  
        Alternatively, businesses may obtain a free DUNS# by telephone registration at on the same day by calling 
        them directly at 1-800-705-5711. 

Q21. I am a sole proprietor; can I submit only the schedule c?

         You must submit the complete signed personal tax return, including all schedules and attachments

Q22. Is there a Fast Track Process?

         No, there is no fast track process

Q23. Can I make changes to my profile?

         No, please go to maintaining your certification for instructions

Q24. Is my Financial Information Secure?

         Yes, all information is kept in a separate room under lock and key, your information is not given out to the 
         general public.

Q25. Once I attend a workshop, How long do I have to submit an application?
         You have 1 year from the date you attended a workshop.

Q26. Can I submit the application online?

         No, the application must be downloaded, printed and submitted in hard copy form with all of the required 
        documents to the SDO office.