Session 2: Diverse Certifications

(Upbeat music) (Edwin) Okay, good m orning. My name is Edwin Cruz. I'm the certification manager at the DFW Minority Supplier Development Council or DFW Council for short So what we do is we do certification. We certify minority owned companies and we look into Corporate America Just a little background. I'm happy to be from New York, Long Island, New York I was there about two weeks ago and I was raining the whole the whole time. So I know So you guys got it easy. Trust me. If you saw any of the pictures there was flooding and the subways and then Brooklyn So, but I'm happy to be in Texas, you know, I think I'm used to the heat by now So just by show of hands how many of you have gotten your company certified That's a good number Okay, good. Good. So as far as it isn't gonna be um, it should be a little pretty relatively straightforward as you know It's a lot of paperwork, you know Everything's got to be on the up and up.

You've got to have everything documented especially when it comes to our corporate members, they rely on our database of MBE's we have about a thousand MBE's certified with us at any giving time throughout the year, so They they trust us that we do that. We do our due diligence We make sure that all the paperwork is the front the eyes are dotted and the T's are crossed to make sure that we certify bonafide minority owned companies So as you may be familiar, so we there's three agencies here. They're gonna talk about certification Myself the women's organization the NCTRCA.

So there's a lot of similarities We do a lot to her about a minority owned companies survey case is very similar but there's two primary differences at least when it comes to our organization, so we For us based on ethnicity and citizenship those two primary differences so we certify ethnic minority owned companies, which means company has to be owned by Asian, Black, Hispanic, or Native American people Those owners also have to be US citizens or naturalized citizens So that's two primary differences in order to get to be eligible to get certified with us You got to be I think minority individual and also a US citizen or a naturalized So unfortunately a permanent resident or a green card will and it would not suffice So we offer three certifications for the price of one Number one is MBE which is the primary certification recognized all over the country by corporate America so when it comes to your AT&T, your Text instruments your Disney's the coca-colas, you know those big big corporations fortune 100 They're the ones that we do business with there's a lot of them in DFW area There's 23 councils that make up the organization.

So we focus on DFW area We certify only MBEs headquartered in a DFW area So when it comes to our MBE even though it is naturally recognized don't confuse it Don't think of it. Don't think of it as a skeleton key type of certification or a onesize- fits-all because that doesn't exist The truth of it is mostly we have to get multiple certifications with you know Depending on what your company does and what you're eligible for but we encourage you to get as many certifications companies eligible for You know whether you're small women, LGBTQ You know HUBS owned there's a whole bunch you get as you want to get as many as you're eligible for as better to be prepared as possible The second certificate that we can get you as a hub certificate, which is state of Texas A state of Texas help program.

So if you qualify you me state requirements We can expedite it we can get you the HUB certificate if you don't already have it then If it qualifies in MBE that we can get you the hub and the third one is called the SBE certificate Which is small business enterprise So if you qualify as a small business and we can get you our SBE certificate We just recognize locally by City of Dallas and DART and counties as well So you get three for the price of one, which is a pretty good deal in my opinion Another benefit of being certified is that we can connect to the MBDA center Well, they operate out of our office. So they're operated by the US Department of Commerce So they're one of the greater MBDA centers the way that I describe them is they're like a financial Assistance agency.

So if you need help with loans, grants Getting getting a capability statement upgraded then then there are services will be free of charge to you I think help get you federal procurement opportunities as well So you get certified with us all this you get access to the MBDA and all the services will be free of charge for the MBDA and They have an event virtual webinar next Thursday if you guys want to attend that it's free So we they're gonna have Fort Worth ISD presenting. So Yeah, one of the good things about our events is pretty much anyone can attend. You don't have to be certified Certain events it would do cost in order to attend you guess you're certified you get a discount But yeah, pretty much the good thing is anyone can attend our events and start networking So there's a fees to get certified. So anything from a startup to 1 million in sales the fees 277 So, you know three certificates for 277 is not a bad deal Though it is a yearly certification. So you do have to renew every year and obviously the renewal process very very very easy.

It's only takes about a week But start to find the first time around it. It's gonna take up to 90 days Upon receipt of a complete application from my review And yeah, we don't certify nonprofits or holding companies or JVs. You got to be a for-profit or a legally established business So this is a little wordy but this is This is going more in-depth in regards to I think minorities Black Hispanic, Asians, Native Americans These are all the countries that, that you got to be from where you have to your ethnic origin has to be From for you to qualify as you know ethnicity and it's kind of straightforward But this is like this like copy and paste it from our national website So, you know Northern Africa does not qualify. Spain Portugal doesn't qualify.

Hispanic Middle East doesn't qualify. You got to be at least a quarter ethnic So just give you a broad example say my dad is white and his parents are white from Utah My mom is from Costa Rica and her parents also Costa Rica and or whichever Latin American place That would make me 50% Hispanic. That would make me 50% Yeah, Hispanic, so I would qualify Native Americans are the only ones that that doesn't matter what percentage you are you could be 0.1% Cherokee as long as you're as long as you have a valid tribal card or a blood degree certificate Then you would qualify as a member of the Native American person Right.

So so the most frustrating thing about us is you got to prove your ethnicity, which is very silly I could just look at most of you and tell if you're Hispanic or not But unfortunately with us, I'm sorry This is gonna be inconvenient for most of you. This is how prove ethnicity You got to get your long-form birth certificate Which most people don't have which means you're gonna have to get it from your from your birthdays vital statistics vital Yeah, vital statistics office Most people just have the short form which is just your name parents names place of birth and date of birth That is kind of we need the other one the long form that has all the extra information which should hopefully shouldn't identify color, race, ethnicity Of your parents. That's the info that we need to see on the long-form birth certificate Unfortunately, we don't accept, you know DNA test genealogy 23 and me.

Unfortunately, we don't accept that It's got to be through this unfortunately if yours doesn't have it You're gonna have to get one of your parents birth or death certificate Whichever one has a verbiage regarding to color race ethnicity Or if you have children take a look at their long-form birth certificate if it has, you know information in your color race and that would work and if that doesn't work then sorry, you got to go to your grandparents and Go through all of that and get one of their birth or death certificate, whichever one Has color race verbiage on as long as you can trace, you know you to your parents or the grandparent You know if it has to get that far and we're in some cases it does unfortunately, but Yeah, this is how at least for now for the past couple of years for decades is how we're proving ethnicity The good news is most everyone that applies I would say 95% They're able to get this, you know, it just takes time, but they're able to get this There's only a few that are not able to provide it and If you're born, you know from another country.

Then we still need to copy the birth certificate just to make sure it's on the up and up even though I know your passport states where you were born, but for our records, we still ask for your birth certificate Some people may not have the birth certificate anymore, you know naturalized people and may not have there's anymore So you just get with me and you know, I would take you know I hear your story and then we see you usually we're able to figure out something else out But from the most part we're gonna need your copy of your birth certificate So, yeah, the pay in your company's legal business structure we need certain documents.

If you're an LLC Corporation partnership so proprietorship the other these are the documents that we'll need Mostly these you should already have But some you may not you're gonna have to get like if you're a corporation You got to produce the bylaws for the company if you're an LLC, you got to produce an operating agreement you know, this is for these are former documents, so we need them because Whether your company has one owner multiple owners, we got to make sure that everything is on the up and up So, document that on paper. you got to register your company obviously with the Secretary of State So when you copies of all of those, you know certificate of file and certificate of formation stuff We want to see the money that you input to the company to get it up and running Sometimes you may may have bought the company.

So we're gonna see stuff like that You know, we got to trace the money we had to make sure everything traces back to the ethnic minority individuals Resumes, you know whether your office based virtual office home-based that's fine, but we still need those. We still need these documents Sometimes you put the ownership of the company put in a trust which we understand But we're gonna need to see a copy of that trust to verify that it traces back to the ethnic minority owners Bank documents, you know tax returns We're gonna need to see if you're a startup or the company's made no money Then we'll just need to see personal taxes just to verify that the owner against has enough equity to run the company The bank doc is you're gonna have to request from your bank Basically, so it's not an actual credit card It's a form that identifies who can access the company's bank accounts who has signature authority So, of course we want to see that that the minority people are the ones that have signature authority so that's why we asked for these documents and So this is a map of the whole process and just so like I said, it takes about up to 90 days upon receipt of a complete application, so You go on our website.

There's a video that we have actually it's about 40 ish minutes There's always the first step that I tell people but I'm condensing it right now so so even if you want to You watch and watch the video I go to a little bit more in depth because I do cover the online application So but it'll be in my website of my business cards if you want to check that out So after the video you can start the application Answer all the questions upload the documents electronically and then you pay the fee To put in our queue and then it has to be reviewed by me right now we have a kind of a big backlog of apps So it's gonna take about honestly about three or four weeks after you pay before we get a chance to review it just because Unfortunately, it's only just me like I said about a thousand MBE's Really is just me reviewing all these so you can only imagine how many I get per week So unfortunately, I just literally a bit of a delay to get to initial view of the app.

So I apologize in advance about that So once we review it, then, you know, I look everything over. There's anything missing, you know I'm not gonna send it back to you I would just let you know what is missing or what I what I would have questions about and then you know You provide what I need you re re upload and resubmit What was missing and until if until I feel that it's complete Once it's complete and move on to the certification committee Basically the double check my work to make sure everything was was provided. So the only meet once a month So, you know that adds to the timeline after the committee if they look everything over everything is good Then we'll move on to a site visit It's not on site.

It's a virtual site visit. So basically it's a zoom meeting It's how we've been doing it since covid started So pretty sure that's how it's gonna remain So it's gonna be a zoom meeting So we'll be scheduled with you. It won't be, you know I'm surprised that'd be scheduled between a volunteer from the committee and yourself it takes about a half hour to an hour on average Usually about a half hour and We just want to talk to you about your company verify that you know your company in and out what you do day to day just to Make sure that you are the one that is actually running the company, you know And then we'll submit other reports of board of directors.

They'll vote yes or no Then you got to attend our virtual orientation to get your certificates. We introduce you to our staff to some of our corporate buyers. Some of our strategic partners to to get you started off on the right foot. Provide you certificates do the orientation and then you know, you're up to the races you can attend all of our events if you're put on our email a list and then you know, we can try to get you some more business and Try to get you into the next level. So these are a few resources that we have If you want to take those down at the Bill J. Priest center. They're a very good resource And again, there's a video that we have you can watch it any time. It's about 40 minutes And also I do a weekly Q&A session So after the video after you watch it if you still have questions and I do a oneon- one Q&A session every Thursday Sometimes I got a depending on my schedule I have may have to adjust the time So when you're on the website, you'll see the times times for you to register. So but it is only once a week It's a one-on-one Q&A.

So I guess I just want to end just by saying so these certificates at the end of the day It's good that you're minority Because you know, they are set up as, there are resources specifically for a minority owned companies try to get the foot in The door but at the end of day, you got to you got to bring some to the table You got to bring a service. You got to know what your company is about. You got to have a core competency you don't want to You don't want to have ten different NEICS codes You don't want to be a company. That's a Jack of all trades because we don't like those Really you got to be you got to focus on one or two things and that you do and do well That's a corporate America is they don't want Jack of all trades You just want to be good at one or two things so that they can trust on you They can depend on you.

They can rely on you. You don't want to be a company That's that's construction and painting and bakery and IT That's not gonna fly. It's just messy. So you want to focus on one or two things. Yeah, so as I was stating at the end of the day these are certificates are like a marketing tool. I like to do a comparison. If you're up for an a bid or an opportunity Between yourself and another company a minority company, but you're certified and that company is not certified Nine times out of ten they're gonna go with you because you had a certification. They can report that they're spending money With a certified minority owned company So it helps differentiate yourself from other companies that are not certified So, you know, whatever gets your leg up, whatever gets you in the door, you know take it Thank you (Upbeat music)