Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Office

M&WBE Certification Applications can only be accepted digitally at this time. Please email your application to mwbe@charleston-sc.gov

Charleston’s Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Office (M&WBE) strives to increase participation of minority and women-owned business enterprises in the full array of contracting opportunities available in the City of Charleston.

Assistance Provided

The M&WBE office assists potential entrepreneurs and existing small business owners through:

  • Aiding existing business owners in the capacity of business growth and expansion
  • Assisting potential entrepreneurs to identify and evaluate resources related to the start-up of their business
  • Assisting with the M&WBE certification process to enhance contracting opportunities.
  • Providing access to potential economic and financial opportunities through the use of business databases
  • Providing guidance and counsel to assist businesses become more efficient by improving management skills and operational effectiveness
  • Providing information on local skills-based training opportunities to interested business owners

The office maintains a current listing of MBE/WBE vendors for referral and distribution:

APRIL 2021 MWBE Database 

M&WBE Brochure

Get M&WBE Certified!

The City of Charleston has established goals for the utilization of women and minority-owned businesses. Certification benefits include:

  • Validation of M&WBE status
  • Sales and marketing opportunities within the City
  • Referral to educational programs
  • Referral to other diversity programs and organizations
  • Technical assistance

Who Qualifies:

Woman owned business: a business controlled and owned by a woman.

Minority owned business: a business controlled and owned by someone who is Black or African American, Hispanic, or Latino, Native American, Asian American or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.

The applicant must own 51% of the business and must control the management and daily operations of the business in order to qualify. In addition, the applicant must be a citizen of the United States and have owned the business for at least 2 years. 

How To Apply:

  • Complete the M&WBE Certification Application
  • Attach the following documentation: 
    1. Copies of signed Federal Tax returns showing gross business receipts for two years
    2. Copy of applicable business license(s) and certifications
    3. Copy of current ID (i.e., driver’s license, ID card)
    4. Copy of deed, rental, or lease agreement showing business address
    5. Copies of organizational document filed with Secretary of State (if applicable) 
    6.  Please email your application to mwbe@charleston-sc.gov

M&WBE Re-Certification 

  • Complete M&WBE Certification Application
  • Provide 2 years of Income Taxes (signed 1st and last pages only, K-1/K-2, and/or schedule “C” forms)
  • Attach copy of Expired Certification
  • Photo ID
  • Lease
  • Business License (if applicable)

Renewal will be for 5 years upon review and verification of above information.

Out of State Companies

  • If you are an out of state company looking to do business with the City of Charleston and be placed in our database of M&WBEs, you MUST offer reciprocal certification, including:
  1. Documentation of certification through national or  state government (ex. SCDOT, SBA, State MWBE, etc.)
  2. Must meet all the M&WBE Certification requirements: Race, gender, income, at least 2 years in business, etc.

State & Local Funding Opportunities:

City of Charleston & Charleston LDC Small Business Relief Fund 

  • Press Release
  • The funds were authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act and distributed through the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The City of Charleston, in partnership with the LDC, was awarded the $850,000 in lending capital as a supplement to an existing EDA revolving loan fund. 
  • The $850,000 will be used to make initial loans, with a minimum of $10,000, maximum of $100,000, and 4% interest rate.  
  • Supporting small, local, & minority-owned businesses. 
  • Applicants may begin the process of applying for a loan by contacting the Charleston LDC at info@charlestonldc.org or calling 843-973-7298.
SBA logo

The U.S. Small Business Administration  helps provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities. The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.


SizeUpSC is an easy-to-use platform that allows you to receive data to help your company make better decisions around competitive benchmarking, customers, suppliers, even marketing and advertising.


SCORE fosters vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. SCORE can help with creation of a business plan,  find financing including small business loans or grants to grow your business,  create a digital marketing campaign, and more!

Minority Business Development Agency is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that promotes the growth of minority-owned businesses through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research.

The S.C. Division of Small and Minority Business Contracting and Certification (SMBCC) connects minority- and women-owned small businesses to State contracting and procurement opportunities through the Material Management Office (MMO), while working with State agencies to implement and monitor minority-contracting programs in accordance with applicable policies, laws, and regulations.


The Charleston LDC helps entrepreneurs and communities by providing small business lending throughout Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, and Dorchester Counties.


Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council is a non-profit corporation chartered to enhance business opportunities by providing support through developing mutually beneficial networking opportunities with corporate members and promoting minority business development.