Verification Process  
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The Department of General Services has revised the Statement of Policy relative to the certification of Small Diverse Businesses which include minority, women, veteran, and service-disabled veteran business enterprises. Beginning September 1, 2012, DGS will no longer accept applications for certification from small diverse businesses; the bureau will instead verify that small diverse businesses have been certified by an approved third party.

Step 1 - Supplier Registration

If you haven't registered as a supplier to do business with the Commonwealth through the PA Supplier Portal, you must complete that process first. This process assigns your company a vendor number and ensures that if awarded a contract, the Commonwealth has all the necessary information for your company to be paid. Additional information and instructions for this process can be found in the Supplier Registration Guide.

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If you already have a PA Vendor Number proceed to Step 2.

Step 2 - Small Business Self-Certification Registration

Businesses which have a PA Vendor Number and are interested in becoming verified as a Small Diverse Business must then self-certify in the new Small Business Procurement Initiative (SBPI) as a "small business." Attached is the link which will direct you to the appropriate instructions for beginning the SBPI on-line certification process, www.smallbusiness.pa.gov. This website also contains specific program guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and step-by-step instructions for the self-certification process. Completion of this self-certification is a prerequisite for verification as a Small Diverse Business.

To self-certify and participate in the Small Business Procurement Initiative, a business must meet each of the following requirements:

  • The business must be a for-profit, United States business.
  • The business must be independently owned.
  • The business may not be dominant in its field of operation.
  • The business may not employ more than 100 full-time equivalent employees.
  • The business, by type, may not exceed the following three-year average gross sales:
    • Procurement Goods - $20 million
    • Procurement Services - $20 million
    • Construction - $20 million
    • Building Design Services - $7 million
    • Information Technology Goods and Services - $25 million

Businesses will also be required to upload the following pages of the company's three most recent federal tax returns, which are required to verify annual gross sales. You may redact your federal tax identification number if desired. Acceptable file formats for tax upload include Portable Document Format (PDF), Joint Photographic Group (JPG) or Tagged Image Format (TIF).

  • Pages 1-5 of Federal form 1120 or 1120S, the U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return
  • Pages 1-5 of Federal form 1065, the U.S. Return of Partnership Income
  • Pages 1-2 of Federal form 1040 schedule C, Profit or Loss from Business, Sole Proprietorship

To begin the self-certification process go to the PA Supplier Portal, and click "Supplier Logon". At this point you will be asked to enter your User Name and Password which was created when you received your PA Vendor Number. Once in the portal click the "Bidder Tab" and then choose "Enterprise Applications". The link for the "Small Business Procurement Initiative" will be the first option listed under "Welcome to the Enterprise Application Portal" where you will begin the self-certification process.

Please be reminded that the SBPI certification is a one-year certification which will require your renewal (application) annually.

Step 3 - Small Diverse Business Verification

Once an applicant business has successfully registered in the SBPI, the applicant will be offered the opportunity to verify as a Small Diverse Business. The applicant may continue to the verification portion of the application at this point by selecting the "Verify as an SDB" button at the bottom of Step 5 of the self-certification application, or the applicant may return at a later time to continue to the online verification.

Department of General Services will accept approved third-party certifications from any of the below entities:

* Every state has its own Unified Certification Program. This links to the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program.

In Process Third Party Certifications

The Department of General Services, Bureau of Small Business Opportunities is aware of vendor concerns regarding the timely completion of the third-party certification process needed to re-verify Small Diverse Business (SDB) status. In order to support the vendor community in its efforts to participate in our small business and small diverse business programs, DGS is willing to extend the SDB expiration date only in the limited situation where:

  1. The vendor is seeking to renew its SDB verification from the previous small business self-certification period,
  2. The vendor's small business self-certification did not lapse prior to recertification,
  3. The vendor’s application with an approved third-party certifying entity is in process, and
  4. The application was filed with the third-party certifier at least 30 calendar days before the expiration of the vendor’s SBPI/SDB expiration date.
Those Small Diverse Businesses experiencing such delays shall complete and submit the Affidavit To Request Extension form. This form shall be uploaded for review in Step 6 of the online verification application which can be accessed at www.pasupplierportal.state.pa.us.

To expedite your request for extension, please do not mail, email, or fax the Affidavit to Request Extension to BSBO. It must be uploaded directly to the online application. Include any dated documentation from the third-party entity indicating that your application is “in process” (e.g. screen shots, emails, or letters of acknowledgement), if available. Additional questions can be directed to the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities by calling (717) 783-3119 or RA-bsboverification@pa.gov.

Once BSBO has received and verified all information, the applicant business will be included in the online database located at Searching for Small Diverse Businesses.

Additional Information