Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise Office

MWBE Small Logo-05

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 & existing small business owners through:

  • Business growth and expansion
  • Resources related to business start-ups
  • M&WBE certification to enhance contracting opportunities
  • Access to financial opportunities through our business database
  • Guidance and counseling on management skills and operational effectiveness
  • Local skills-based training opportunities 

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

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  1. M&WBE Certification
  2. Small Business Workshops
  3. Monthly M&WBE Spotlight

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 

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

  • 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)

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.

*Check out our Why Be M&WBE Certified? PPT Guide in Spanish!

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.


CLIMB Fund is a not-for-profit Community Development lender whose mission is to ensure access to capital for small businesses and affordable housing developments that cannot secure traditional financing. Based in Charleston and serving the entire state of South Carolina, CLIMB Fund has more than 40 years of history lending to entrepreneurs who have been turned away by for-profit banks. 


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.