House Bill (HB) 128 was signed by Governor Brian P. Kemp on Monday, April 24, 2023, in Augusta, Georgia! HB 128 is a direct response to the Governor’s executive order issued on July 13, 2022, which directed the Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) to address challenges that small businesses, with a focus on minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses, experience in the state’s procurement process. The bill aims to expand the state of Georgia Business Certification Program and streamline the certification process for minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
Georgia Business Definitions
Georgia Domiciled Business:
To be eligible for certification, your primary place of business must be within the state of Georgia and you must intend to continue permanently at such location.
If applying for one of the certification types that includes being a small business, you must meet Georgia’s definition of a small business. Georgia law defines a small business as a business which is independently owned and operated and has:
Tier One: ten or fewer employees or $1 million or less in gross receipts per year;
Tier Two: 100 or fewer employees or $10 million or less in gross receipts per year; or
Tier Three: 300 or fewer employees or $30 million or less in gross receipts per year.
Categorization within one of the three tiers is for reporting purposes only. (O.C.G.A. Section 50-5-121).
The state of Georgia recognizes five ethnic minority groups: African American, Asian-Pacific American, Asian-Indian American, Hispanic, and Native American. A minority-owned business means a business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more minorities and is authorized to do and is doing business under the laws of the State of Georgia, paying all taxes duly assessed, and domiciled within this state (O.C.G.A. Section 50-5-131).
A veteran-owned business means a business owned which is owned and controlled by one or more veterans; authorized to do and is doing business under the laws of this state; paying all taxes duly assessed; and domiciled within this state. “Owned and controlled” means a business which is at least 51% or more owned by one or more veterans or, in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of all classes or types of stock is owned by one or more veterans.
Veteran means an individual who served on active duty with the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Space Force, or Coast Guard for any length of time and did not receive a dishonorable discharge. Veteran also means an individual who served as a reservist or member of the National Guard who was called to federal active duty. (O.C.G.A. Section 50-5-131).
A woman-owned business means a business which is owned or controlled by one or more women; authorized to do and is doing business under the laws of this state; paying all taxes duly assessed; and domiciled within this state. “Owned and controlled” means a business which is at least 51% or more owned by one or more women or, in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of all classes or types of the stock is owned by one or more women (O.C.G.A. Section 50-5-131).
Streamline Process with Approved Certifying Organizations
We accept certifications from the following approved certifying organizations. If you are interested to obtaining the state of Georgia business certification, you must first apply and be approved by one of the following organizations.
The Georgia Department of Transportation certifies Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE). For information or to apply to be a DBE firm, please visit their website: https://www.dot.ga.gov/.
The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council certifies Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) firms. For more information or to apply to be an MBE, please visit their website: www.gmsdc.org.
The Greater Women’s Business Council certifies Women Business Enterprise (WBE) firms. For more information or to apply to be a WBE, please visit their website: https://www.gwbc.org.
The National Veteran-Owned Business Association certifies Veteran Business Enterprises. For information or to apply for certification, please visit their website at https://www.navoba.org/.
The U.S. Small Business Administration certifies Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB), Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB), and 8(a) Certified companies. For information or to apply for certification, please visit their website at www.sba.gov.
The U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce certifies Asian American and other minority-owned businesses. For information or to apply for certification, please visit their website at https://uspaacc.com/.
How To Apply for the State of Georgia Business Certification
To submit an application, please login to Team Georgia MarketplaceTM (TGM) and select the “Business Certification” tab to begin the process. If you are not yet registered in Team Georgia MarketplaceTM, please select “User Registration” to register. Once you are registered in Team Georgia MarketplaceTM, you will be able to access the Business Certification tab to complete your application.
If are already registered, and are having technical difficulties accessing your TGM profile, please contact the Procurement Helpdesk by sending an email to email@example.com or by telephone at (404) 657-6000.
Certifying makes sense on lots of levels.
Obtaining certification through the Georgia Business Certification program distinguishes your company from other competitors. Highlight your status as a Georgia business that is woman, minority or veteran-owned. Certified businesses are identified within our supplier database which is visible to state and local government procurement staff and other suppliers for partnership opportunities.
Does your business meet Georgia’s definition of a small business? If so, certification increases your attractiveness as a subcontracting partner to prime contractors with state contracts. Georgia law permits an income tax adjustment on the state tax return of any company that subcontracts with a DOAS-certified firm to furnish goods, property or services to the state of Georgia (O.C.G.A. Section 48-7-38). Suppliers should consult with their tax advisors to find out how to take advantage of these tax credits.