Frequently Asked Questions
1. What state law requires agencies and departments to establish agency internal goals for participation of minority-owned, woman- owned, service-disabled veteran owned and small business enterprises?
The recently amended T.C.A. §12-3-1106(b) states; “This cooperation specifically includes, but is not limited to, establishing and striving to achieve annual state agency level internal goals for minority-owned business, woman-owned business, service-disabled veteran-owned business or small business contracting.”
2. How will I know if my state agency has achieved our agency internal goals?
T.C.A. 12-3-1106 (b) further requires each state agency shall provide as requested to the Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise periodic reports on upcoming procurement and contract opportunities and on the level of participation by minority-owned business, woman-owned business, service-disabled veteran-owned business or small business. Go-DBE publishes an annual report (posted on our website) in which agency internal goals are included for the previous fiscal year’s report for agency’s review.
3. What is the statewide diversity business Enterprise program?
Tennessee General Assembly enacted the State’s diversity program in April 2004; several months after the signing of Executive Order No. 14. Executive Order 14 established the Governor’s Office Of Diversity Business Enterprise to develop State regulations, policies and procedures for the program. Businesses must apply for certification and provide evidence of ownership and control by a minority-owned, woman-owned, service disabled veteran-owned individual(s) or small business enterprises as part of the State of Tennessee’s diversity business enterprise program.
4. What is the State of Tennessee doing in the way of assistance for Small Businesses in Tennessee?
In addition to our efforts to expand our alliance with state agencies such as the State Building Commission and the State of Tennessee’s Office of State Architect effective July, 2013, Go-DBE has partnered with the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Office of Civil Rights to utilize certified Go-DBE Small Business Enterprises (SBE(s) on the non-goal portions of State Highway projects. The Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise partners with state agencies and departments to expand opportunities to certified diversity business Enterprises. Several State agencies such as Health Care Finance & Administration, Tourism, Human Resources and many others have achieved their agency internal goals over the past several years.
5. What is the first step for businesses seeking certification with the Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise (GO-DBE)?
The first step in the registration process is to register in the enterprise management system of the state called “EDISON”. Edison Bidder registration is required so that businesses are connected to the procurement of their choice through the utilization of UNSPSC (United Nations Standard Product Service Codes) commodity codes.
6. What is a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)?
A MBE means “a minority business enterprise is a business that is a continuing, independent, for profit business which performs a commercially useful function and is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more minority individuals who are impeded from normal entry into the economic mainstream because of past practices of discrimination based on race or ethnic background”.
“Minority” means a person who is a lawful permanent resident of the united states and who is;
African American, persons having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa,
Asian American, a person having origins in any of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands; or
Hispanic American, a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race;
Native American, a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North America
7. What is a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE)?
A WBE means “a woman owned business enterprise that is a continuing, independent, for profit business which performs a commercially useful function and is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more woman; or in the case of any publicly owned business, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock of which is owned and controlled by one (1) or more women and whose management and daily business operations are under the control of one (1) or more women”.
8. What is a Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (SDVBE)
Tennessee Service-Disabled Veteran owned business mean “any person who Served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States with at least a twenty percent (20%) disability that is service-connected meaning that such disability was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty in the active military, naval or air service.
Tennessee Service-Disabled owned Veteran means a service-disabled owned business that is a continuing, independent, for profit business located in the state of Tennessee that performs a commercially useful function,” and:
(a)Is at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned and controlled by one (1) or more service-disabled owned veterans; (b) In the case of a business solely owned by one (1) service-disabled veteran and such person’s spouse, is at least fifty percent (50) owned and controlled by the service-disabled veteran; or
(c) In the case of any publicly owned business, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the stock of which is owned and controlled by one (1) or more service-disabled veteran and whose management and daily business operations are under the control of one (1) or more service-disabled veteran.
9. Small Business?
The Tennessee General Assembly expanded the definition of a Small Business that desires certification as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE). Public Chapter 1135 passed June 2010 and amended by Public Chapter 1098 effective July 2011 and Senate Bill No. 107 effective July 1, 2013 revised the definition of a Small Business Enterprise (SBE) to the following :
“Tennessee small business means a business that is , independently owned and operated has total gross receipts of no more than ten million dollars ($10,000,000) averaged over a three-year period or employs no more than ninety-nine (99) persons on a full-time basis”.
Effective July 1, 2013, firms seeking eligibility in the state’s diversity business enterprise program for the small business certification may review the Certification Overview page of our web site for more details on how to qualify.
10. How does a business currently contracting with a state agency register to become a certified business with Go-DBE?
Please go to the link on our website www.tn.gov/diversity. This is an electronic registration that registers your company for certification with the Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise. All documents must be submitted electronically. No documentation will be received unless submitted through the TN Go-DBE software system at https://tn.diversitysoftware.com/vendorstart.asp
A “Documentation Checklist” checklist link is available (see “For Registration” tab) as a guide as to the type of required documentation that is required in order to complete the certification review process.
11. Who should state agencies call for assistance with certification questions?
Through our partnership with the department of General Services, Central Procurement Office we require business owners interested in certification to first register in “Edison” the state of Tennessee’s procurement portal, to complete the registration application. This application serves several purposes:
1. To registration as an Edison Bidder/Vendor
2. Increase the pool of available businesses to assist state agencies and departments in meeting their agency internal goals.
3. Contact Bidder Services call (615)741-6875 with any questions regarding the “Edison” registration process.
4. Please call Go-DBE at (615)253-4657 with any questions regarding the certification verification process.
12. Where can I send businesses to register online?
The preferred method of registeration for certification is through the electronic registration application . The application may be accessed by visiting our web site at www.tn.gov/diversity.
Click on “For Registration” link on the left hand side of the screen. All Documentation must be submitted electronically through the TN Diversity software system at: https://tn.diversitysoftware.com/vendorstart.asp. Select “Option 3” for new applications with no current or existing certification.
13. What documents or other important information are required for certification?
Please see the “Documentation Checklist” link as to the type of necessary information required by applicants. Required documents are to establish a method to ensure that the business owner meets with the ownership and control guidelines and status as a Diversity Business Enterprise, e.g.:
a. Birth Certificate, Driver's License
b. Articles of Incorporation, Partnership or Operating Agreement
c. State authorization to transact business – business licenses held
d. Tax Returns
Note: To complete the certification process, all requested documentation must be submitted. All applications received without all of the required documentation will be determined ineligible for certification with Go-DBE office. Once an applicant has been declined for certification the waiting period to reapply is three (3) years.
14. What are some of the advantages of becoming certified with Go-DBE?
A. Certification as a diversity business enterprise provides greater exposure for certified businesses to receive opportunities with the state of Tennessee.
B. The names of all certified businesses appear in the Go-DBE Certified Directory and are posted on the Go-DBE web site for ALL state agencies and departments to utilize when sourcing for goods, supplies, equipment, personal and professional contracts, construction, Architect and Design services.
C. Certified Go-DBE Respondents may be utilized as a preference to resolve Tie Bid Responses.
D. The simplicity with identifying a certified diversity firm through the certification directory or through the state’s procurement portal called “Edison,” creates for an effective process by which agencies and departments are better able to achieve their agency internal goals.
15. How long are the certifications effective?
Beginning January 2013, certifications issued by Go-DBE office are valid for a period of three (3) years from the date of issuance. For re-certification, please click the “Re-Certification” link and complete the electronic application for recertification and the “Affidavit of No Change”. All documentation must be submitted electronically and attached to the TN Go-DBE Diversity software system at the time of renewal. The Go-DBE office is unable to accept and process hard copy documents.
16. I am doing business with a vendor who is using their Social Security Number to register in Edison, is this acceptable?
Your Social Security Number may be used to register. Under the new Edison Enterprise Solution, it is recommended you use your FEIN for registration. You will be required to complete a new electronic application when you change from your SSN to your FEIN.
17. Are businesses from another state, eligible for certification with Tennessee?
Yes, the Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise may only certify “out of state firms” that have an existing certification. All out of state businesses must submit evidence of an existing certification from their home state in order to be eligible for certification in Tennessee. Self certification is not acceptable as evidence of certification.
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This Page Last Updated: April 24, 2017 at 9:48 am