Small Diverse Business Verification FAQs
Where do I go to verify as a Small Diverse Business?
The SDB verification application is part of the online Small Business self-certification application process. Log on to the PA Supplier Portal at www.pasupplierportal.state.pa.us and click on Bidder > Enterprise Applications > Small & Small Diverse Business Program Application. Visit www.smallbusiness.pa.gov for more information on Small Business self-certification.
If your small business certification is already complete but you are not currently within 30 days of your small business expiration date, the renewal period, skip to Step 5 and click on the "Verify as an SDB" button at the bottom of the page. If you are within 30 days of your small business expiration date, complete your small business renewal first before proceeding to the SDB verification section of the application. You will be given the opportunity to continue on to SDB verification as the bottom of the congratulations screen.
My company is certified as a Disadvantaged Business through the Unified Certification Program (UCP) or the Small Business Administration 8(a) program but it is not minority or woman owned. Can the company be verified as a Small Diverse Business?
Small Diverse Business is a designation that includes Minority, Woman, Veteran, Service Disabled Veteran, Disability-Owned, and LGBT Business Enterprise only. To meet the requirements for SDB verification, a company must
- Be certified as a small business through the Small Business Contracting Program, and
- Hold a certification from an approved third party organization.
When the third party certification, such as that offered through the Unified Certification Program or the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, is for disadvantaged business, the company must provide proof of the owner's race or gender during the verification process. If the company is not at least 51% minority or woman-owned, the company may not be verified as a Small Diverse Business.
Please see the Statement of Policy to review the eligibility requirements.
What is considered a full-time employee? What types of employees should be counted toward the 100 full-time employee limit for small business self-certification?
All full time, part-time, and temporary employees working for the business must be counted against the applicable employment limitation of 100 full time or full-time equivalent employees. This also includes owners and management personnel for all facilities, including those outside the Commonwealth. The full-time equivalent (FTE) calculation is:
All Hours Worked by All Employees
Total Hours in a Full-Time Schedule
My company doesn't meet the threshold for the average three-year gross revenues and/or 100 Full Time Employee equivalent for small business certification, but I don't want to certify my company as a small business. I want to verify it as a Small Diverse Business. How can I do this?
Eligibility for Small Diverse Business verification begins with self-certification as a small business. A company cannot be verified as an SDB unless it meets the small business eligibility requirements.
What are the approved third-party certifications that are accepted for Small Diverse Business verification?
My company was certified or verified as a minority, woman, veteran, service disabled veteran, disability, or LGBT-owned business by the Department of General Services in the past but is not now. Nothing has changed within the company since then. Can the company be verified as a Small Diverse Business (SDB) without a third-party certification?
No. A company that was never verified as Small Diverse Businesses or whose Small Diverse Business verification has lapsed must hold a current certification from an approved third party to be verified as a Small Diverse Business.
My company has submitted an application to a third party certifier, and it is currently being reviewed. Can my company be verified as a Small Diverse Business (SDB)?
No. A company that was never verified as Small Diverse Businesses or whose Small Business certification and Small Diverse Business verification have lapsed must hold a current certification from an approved third party to be verified as a Small Diverse Business.
In the case of an in-process third-party application, the Department of General Services is willing to extend the SDB expiration date only in the limited situation where:
- The vendor is seeking to renew its SDB verification from the previous small business self-certification period,
- The vendor's Small Business self-certification did not lapse prior to recertification,
- The vendor’s application with an approved third-party certifying entity is in process, and
- The application was filed with the third-party certifier at least 30 calendar days before the expiration of the vendor’s SDB expiration date.
Small Diverse Businesses experiencing delays shall complete and submit the Affidavit To Request Extension form which will be uploaded for review in Step 6 of the online small business application. Please note that an extension affidavit is not for use by companies verifying for the first time or renewing their verifications after their Small Business self-certifications have lapsed. Contact the Bureau of Small Business Opportunities for a copy of the form by calling (717) 783-3119 or emailing RA-SmallBusiness@pa.gov.
How do I submit my third-party certification for verification?
The third party documentation is submitted in Step 6 of the small business self-certification application.
- Go to the PA Supplier Portal at www.pasupplierportal.state.pa.us
- Click the Login button in the upper right and log in. TIP: Contact the Supplier Service Center at (877) 435-7363, option 1, if you do not have your logon information.
- Click Bidder > Enterprise Applications > Small & Small Diverse Business Program Application. TIP: Contact the Supplier Service Center at (877) 435-7363, option 1, if the Enterprise Applications portal page appears blank.
- Scroll to the bottom of the application home page, check the box, click Continue to Self-Certification, and click through the pop-up boxes.
- Skip to Step 5, and click on the Verify as an SDB button at the bottom of the page.
- Upload your third-party proof of certification in Step 6, click Save, and then click Save and Continue. Repeat for all third-party certifications if you are submitting more than one. TIP: The UCP, SBA 8(a), and VetBiz verifications have two or more fields for the upload of documentation. All fields must be filled for these verifications before saving.
- Review and submit in Step 7.
If your company is in the process of self-certifying as a small business for the first time or renewing its small business self-certification, you will be given the opportunity to continue on to the SDB verification on the confirmation page which appears after you’ve submitted your self-certification. If the confirmation page does not appear, simply click on the Step 5 tab again and scroll down to the Verify as an SDB button at the bottom of the page.
I want to verify as a Small Diverse Business (SDB), but my application with the third party is still in process. Can I still verify as an SDB?
To verify as an SDB, you must submit proof of current third-party certification. There is no guarantee that a third party certifier will approve an in-process application. The Commonwealth can only verify what has already been approved.
My company is already self-certified as a Small Business, but now I have my third party certification. How can I submit this for verification?
Follow the instructions above to submit your third-party certification for verification.
How do I reverify as a Small Diverse Business (SDB)?
Your SDB expiration date is tied to your small business certification expiration date. 30 days prior to your expiration, you will receive an automatic email forwarded to the primary email address listed on your certification. The email will notify you that the renewal period is now open.
Renew your small business certification in Steps 1 - 5 of the online application. Once you submit this in Step 5, you will be given the option to continue on to the SDB verification section, or you can click the Step 5 tab at the top of the page and click the Verify as an SDB button at the bottom of the page. Either option will open Steps 6 - 7 where you will submit proof of certification from an approved third party.
That's it. A reviewer will look over the information for verification and notify you if anything more is needed. If nothing more is needed, you will receive an email notifying you that your verification has been approved, and you will find a link to the new certificate. The process can take approximately three weeks.
My SDB verification is due for renewal, but my application with a third party certifier is still in process. What do I do?
The Department of General Services, Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & 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 under the following circumstances:
- The vendor is seeking to renew its SDB verification from the previous small business self-certification period,
- The vendor's small business self-certification did not lapse prior to recertification,
- The application was filed with the third-party certifier at least 30 calendar days before the expiration of the vendor’s SB/SDB expiration date.
This Affidavit is only to be used by those companies that are currently verified as SDB by the Commonwealth and are seeking to renew their verifications. There are no exceptions.
Those Small Diverse Businesses experiencing such delays shall complete and submit the Affidavit To Request Extension form in Step 6 of the online small business self-certification application during the verification process. The online application can be found by logging into the PA Supplier Portal and clicking on Bidder > Enterprise Applications > Small & Small Diverse Business Program Application. Complete your small business renewal first before submitting your proof of third-party certification for verification. Once you have done this, you can either continue on the verification portion of the application directly from the congratulations screen, or you can skip to Step 5 of the application and click on the Verify as an SDB button at the bottom of the page.
To expedite your request for an extension, please include any dated documentation from the third-party entity indicating that your application is “in process” (e.g. screenshots, emails, or letters of acknowledgment), if available.
The extension affidavit is not a permanent replacement for the proof of your third-party certification. It acts only as a temporary placeholder while the third party certification is still in process. Once the certification is approved, you must forward a copy of the proof (approval letter, certificate, company profile from the certifier's online business directory, etc.) to BDISBO to replace the affidavit on your file.
Additional questions can be directed to the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities by calling (717) 783-3119 or emailing RA-SmallBusiness@pa.gov or GS-BDISBO@pa.gov.
How do I know which supply or service codes to select when I self-certify?
Step 3 of the Small Business self-certification application requires the selection of UNSPSC codes. The selected codes should reflect the products and services which your company is currently able to provide. Selection of codes for which a business is not qualified to provide or perform may be deemed fraudulent. When licenses are required for services rendered, it is imperative that the necessary credentials be obtained as of the time of self-certification.
The Business Types selection in Step 1 of the application determines which codes will be available for selection. If a product or service which you provide is not listed, you may need to add an additional Business Type. To see a complete list of codes in Excel format, click the link "Click for a list of all UNSPSC Codes used in this application" beneath the "Code Search" field in Step 3 of the small business self-certification application. Codes ending in 000000, 0000, and 00 designate categories or families of codes which can help you determine if a certain code is right for your company.
How do I update my codes?
As long as there is no change of Business Type, you may add and delete codes by returning to the small business application at any time. Log into the PA Supplier Portal and click Bidder > Enterprise Applications > Small & Small Diverse Business Program Application. Re-enter the application, click through the pop-ups, and go directly to the Step 3 tab. Update the appropriate information and Save and Continue. Click the Step 5 tab to review and submit the profile updates. If the codes you wish to add fall under another business type or entail deleting an entire business type, contact the Bureau of Diversity, Inclusion & Small Business Opportunities to have your certification unlocked prior to making the necessary updates.
How do I update my contact information (address, phone, fax, email, etc.)?
Return to the small business application by logging back into the PA Supplier Portal and clicking Bidder > Enterprise Applications > Small & Small Diverse Business Program Application. Re-enter the application, click through the pop-ups, and go directly to the Step 2 tab. Update the appropriate information and Save and Continue. Click the Step 5 tab to review and submit the profile updates.
I don't remember my User Name or Password for the PA Supplier Portal.
Click on the "Find Your Password?" or "Find your UserID?" link on the supplier logon page. If you continue to have issues, contact the Payable Service Call Center at 717-346-2676 (Harrisburg) or 877-435-7363, option 1, or email RA-PSCSRMPORTAL@pa.gov.
How do I get my certificate?
The Small Diverse Business certificate is your company's small business certificate which has been updated with your Company's Small Diverse Business information. You should have received an automatic email with a link to the certificate upon your company's initial small business self-certification, small business certification renewal, and Small Diverse Business verification approval. If you no longer have these emails, you can always access a copy of the certificate by returning to your company's small business application.
NOTE: Should a security box pop-up requesting permission to view both secure and nonsecure content at any time while accessing or navigating the Supplier Portal, choose to allow all content. Depending on how the request is worded, you may select either the Yes or the No button.
- Log into the PA Supplier Portal at www.pasupplierportal.state.pa.us (The PA Supplier Portal is most compatible with Internet Explorer. Other browsers are not guaranteed to work).
- Navigate back to the small business self-certification application (click on Bidder > Enterprise Applications > Small & Small Diverse Business Program Application). TIP: View the troubleshooting tips in the application guide, or contact the supplier service center at (877) 435-7363, option 1, if the Enterprise Applications portal page appears blank.
- Check the box at the bottom of the welcome page and click on Continue to Self-Certification (click Certify on the Confirmation pop-up).
- Click through any pop-ups.
- Click on the Step 5 Tab at the top of the page.
- Scroll to the bottom of Step 5, and click the Print Certificate button.
A new screen will appear at this point allowing you to print a new certificate, download a copy, or save the link to your favorites so that the certificate is always accessible whether you are logged into the small business certification or not.