Supplier Clearinghouse and Certification FAQ

What is the Supplier Clearinghouse?

The Supplier Clearinghouse is the depository of the database of certified WMDVLGBT Businesses. The Clearinghouse operator is contracted to verify the eligibility of women-, minority- and LGBT-owned business enterprises and issues a certificate of eligibility. The operator also maintains and provides access to the database of verified businesses and disabled veteran-owned enterprises (DVBE) to participating utilities.

Who do they certify and what are the eligibility requirements?

The Supplier Clearinghouse certifies women-, minority- and LGBT-owned businesses that are at least 51% owned by women, minority and/or LGBT individuals, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by women, minorities and/or LGBT individuals. (http://www.sdbnetwork.com/SDBNetwork/Affiliates/CPUC/verification_eligibility.php) Recognized minority groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Native Americans. Certification is limited to U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. While The Supplier Clearinghouse maintains a database of disabled-veteran business enterprises (DVBEs), these applicants are certified by the DVBE Participation Program, a unit of the Department of General Services (http://www.dgs.ca.gov/dgs/tabid/1198/Default.aspx), not by The Supplier Clearinghouse.

What are the benefits of certification?

The CPUC and participating utilities accepts certification of women- and/or minority-owned businesses (W/MBE) by The Supplier Clearinghouse, comparable agencies, and disabled veteran-owned enterprise (DVBE) certification by the DVBE Participation Program, a unit of the Department of General Services. Verified businesses are entered into a database that is utilized by participating utilities for sourcing opportunities. Additionally, there is no application fee and the Supplier Clearinghouse certification is valid for 3 years or through the comparable agencies’ expiration date.

What is the application process?

Applicants are usually certified within 45–90 days of receipt of a complete, notarized application package including application form and supporting documents. Site visits are sometimes necessary to make a determination to certify. Certified applicants receive a certificate that is valid for 3 years or that matches the comparable agencies’ expiration date. 90 days prior to the end of the certification period, a reverification application must be submitted for renewal. Application types and instructions can be found at http://www.sdbnetwork.com/SDBNetwork/Affiliates/CPUC/verification_eligibility.php.

Comparable agencies include the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).