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I Applied for M/WBE Certification, Here's What Happened

Now this is a story all about how...

I applied for the minority and women business enterprise certification a zillion times!

So, what is the M/WBE certification?

The City of New York Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Program expands opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs to access government contracts and grow their businesses.

Cool concept, right!?!

Now let's talk about the actual application experience - It's way less cool - TRUST ME!

Like anything with the government you collect all your paperwork - bank letter, organizational agreements, article of organization, receipts, invoices, etc.  You upload it into a portal and wait 6-8 weeks hoping for good news.

First Try...

Submitted all my stuff. 2 days later DENIED. Requires additional verification. 

Second Try...

Go through the verification request gather all the documents they originally told me were optional and RESUBMIT.

Waited a week. DENIED with a 30 Day Notice to resubmit application.

Third Try...

I send a help email to ask what’s missing. 2 days later receive an email saying they received the items but couldn’t open the files. I go back convert every file to a pdf. RESUBMIT

1 week later I get an email saying - we’ve received your items, you have failed to prove your Minority status. 🤦🏾‍♀️ DENIED 

BTW I submitted my NYS license and NYS birth certificate they asked for - neither of which list ethnicity. So how exactly can I prove my blackness? 

Fourth Try...

I RESUBMIT with my mama’s Barbados birth certificate (guess what? No ethnicity listed)

DENIED again!

Fifth Try...

I’m running around trying to find something to prove my blackness and by the end; I submitted

  • my birth certificate,

  • mom’s birth certificate,

  • mom’s naturalization papers,

  • grandma’s birth certificate, AND

  • grandma’s baptism certificate — Yes the paper you get when you christen a baby - that’s what I submitted for the 5th time. 

I wait 3 weeks, then get an email, “your previous analyst is no longer with the organization, I’ll be taking over your application. Please resubmit...[EVERY-DARN-THING]”

I RESUBMIT everything - another week drags by; I email the new analyst to check-in and BOOM...2 Days later I’m certified.

Recap 4 denials/notices, 6 submissions, 6.5 weeks, 30ish documents and I’m certified!

So why am I sharing this annoying, painful, and almost comical journey with you?

Because while I was in it— the stress, the overwhelm, the disappointment - was so real I felt like I was drowning in it.

BUT now that I have it, the opportunities are endless, and the light at the end of this tunnel is so bright, it’s blinding


Stick with it, it's worth it.


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