Supplier Clearinghouse and Certification FAQ

What is the Supplier Clearinghouse?

The Supplier Clearinghouse is the contract agency that verifies the eligibility of women and minority-owned business enterprises for certification in the Supplier Diversity Program. They also maintain and provide a database of these W/MBE verified businesses and disabled veteran-owned enterprises (DVBE) that is accessed by participating utilities.

Who do they certify and what are the eligibility requirements?

The Supplier Clearinghouse certifies women and/or minority-owned businesses that are at least 51% owned by women and/or minorities, and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by women and/or minorities. (http://www.sdbnetwork.com/SDBNetwork/Affiliates/CPUC/verification_eligibility.php) Recognized minority groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian (Pacific and Indian) 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 only recognize and accept certification of women and/or minority-owned businesses (W/MBE) by The Supplier Clearinghouse, 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.

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 at which time a reverification application must be submitted for renewal. Instructions and application form can be found at http://www.sdbnetwork.com/SDBNetwork/Affiliates/CPUC/verification_eligibility.php. The Supplier Clearinghouse also accepts women and/or minority business certifications from agencies with comparable verification criteria, including the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).