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Definitions and Resources

Diverse Business Classification Chart

Small Business, Minority-Owned Business Enterprise and Woman-Owned Enterprise

Minority Business Enterprise (African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian Pacific-American, Asian Indian-American, Native-American)

Woman Business Enterprise

Veteran Business Enterprise

Veteran Disabled Business Enterprise

Certified SBA Business Revitalization

Historically Black College or University

Certified SBA Small Disadvantaged Business

SBA Small Business Development Program

Small Business Administration


Detailed Diversity and Small Business Descriptions

Minority Business Enterprise:  includes male and female business owners who are African American, Hispanic, Native American, Native Alaskan, Asian Pacific, Subcontinent Asian Americans (East Indian), and members of other groups designated from time to time by the SBA. Minority business status requires 51% or greater ownership by minorities as well as management and control of daily business operations, with experience or technical expertise directly related to the primary product or service of the business.

Women's Business Enterprise:  non-minority women who own 51% or more of the business as well as management, control and technical expertise as stated above.

Small Disadvantaged Business:  Small refers to size as determined by gross dollar revenue (variable according to SIC Code) and number of employees (fewer than 500). Disadvantaged refers to minority status and usually does not include white women.

Historically Under-utilized Businesses:  coined in 1990 by the President's Commission on Minority Business Development as a more accurate, less negative term than disadvantaged.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise:  usually refers to minority ownership, sometimes includes disabled and residents of economically depressed areas; depending on governing legislation, may or may not include white women. Five federal agencies do include non-minority women as part of their DBE definition: Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, NASA, RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation) and USAID (Agency for International Development.)

SDV-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise or Service Disabled Veteran-State of California contracts include goals for disabled veteran owned businesses. Proposition 209 (a California voter's initiative) eliminated goals on State of California contracts for minority-owned businesses and women-owned businesses. Likewise, some other state and municipal minority/women's business development programs have been curtailed, eliminated or revised.

Historically Black College/University or Minority Institution as amended in The Higher Education Act of 1965, an HBCU is: "...any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation." HBCUs offer all students, regardless of race, an opportunity to develop their skills and talents.

Minority Purchasing Legislation and Small Business Facts

Legislation Affecting Minority Purchasing
View the legislation

Small Business Administration
SBA Fact Sheet
State of the Small Business: A report of the President (1999-2000)
The Small Business Economy: A report to the President (2005)
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