Getting Certified

Veteran-Owned Small Business (VOSB) Certification

The Ohio APEX Accelerators have been certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) as CVE Certification Verification Assistance Counselors. They are the only network of professionals that can provide certification to Veteran-Owned businesses in Ohio.

To learn more, visit:

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Certification

The State of Ohio’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Program is designed to assist minority-owned businesses in obtaining state government contracts through a set-aside procurement program for goods and services. The State of Ohio developed the program makes all state contracts, services, benefits and opportunities available without discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age or ancestry.

MBE establishes a 15 percent goal for state agencies, boards and commissions in awarding contracts to certified MBE businesses. To be certified as a MBE, a company must be owned and controlled at least 51 percent and for more than a year by an Ohio resident and U.S. citizen who belongs to one of the following ethnic groups: African American, Asian, Hispanic or Native American.

To learn more, visit:

Encouraging Diversity Growth and Equity (EDGE) Certification

The State of Ohio recognizes the need to encourage, nurture and support the growth of economically and socially underutilized businesses to foster their development. The Encouraging Diversity Growth and Equity (EDGE) Program provides an “EDGE” to small businesses in public contracting. EDGE is an assistance program for economically and socially disadvantaged business enterprises. EDGE establishes goals for state agencies, boards and commissions in awarding contracts to certified EDGE-eligible businesses. An EDGE participant must be a business enterprise located in a qualified census tract or, the business may qualify if the owner meets the established program criteria for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

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U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) Certification

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a federal business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

To learn more, click here.

Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) Certification

HUBZone is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program for small companies that employ people in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones). The HUBZone program was created in response to the HUBZone Empowerment Act (1998).

To learn more, click here.

Business Resources

Need Help Marketing Your Products or Services Internationally?
The International Market Access Grant for Exporters (IMAGE) program helps small businesses increase exports and create jobs in Ohio’s economy. The program reimburses at a 50% rate, capped at $12,500 per eligible approved applicant.  The IMAGE program is funded, in part, through the Small Business Administration’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). For more information about the IMAGE program, visit:

Ohio EPA Resource Guide for Businesses and Communities

Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) provides several compliance, technical and financial assistance programs available to help Ohio communities and businesses with their environmental needs.  These services and relevant contact information are summarized in their “Resource Guide” which is available to view and download at:

For questions about the guide, please contact Pejmaan Fallah at or (614) 644-3666.

USDA, Rural Development, Business & Industry Loan Guarantee Program has funding available for Fiscal Year 2018!

Rural Development can provide loan guarantees to expand business operations; purchase and improve real estate; purchase machinery & equipment; refinance outstanding debt; and provide term working capital.  The loan guarantee can be used to provide better rates and terms to the businesses you serve while reducing lender risk.  In addition to reducing risk, the issuance of the loan guarantee can allow for additional fee income to be generated for the lender through the sale of the guaranteed portion on the secondary market.

We recently received a listing of priority projects from our headquarters in Washington DC.  These priority projects are intended to further enhance the rural economies by providing well-paying employment, essential community services and long-term investments. These priority projects include:

  • Broadband; high-speed internet connectivity
  • Commercially available unmanned technologies
  • Food distribution such as grocery stores and food manufacturing
  • Advancement of energy security by boosting production of energy
  • A focus on “made in America” including projects for infrastructure, distribution, and value-chain participants
  • Projects that advance the quality of life, for example modern utilities, medical services, and for the treatment and recovery of opioid addiction
  • Advancement of career training and development

Should you have the opportunity to consider financing one of these projects, please keep our programs in mind. We offer guarantees of 80% for loans up to $5,000,000; 70% for loans of $5,000,000 – $10,000,000, and 60% on loans over $10,000,000.

Should you want to schedule a time to meet and further discuss the program and its advantages, please contact one of our staff members listed below:

Cindy Musshel
(614) 255-2427

Deborah Rausch
(614) 255-2425

Jennifer Brown
(614) 255-2423

Randy Monhemius
(614) 255-2424

Christie Hooks
(614) 255-2397

Small Business Administration (SBA)

The U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses.

Useful Links

State of Ohio Partners:

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)

The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS or D-U-N-S) is a proprietary system developed and regulated by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) that assigns a unique numeric identifier, referred to as a “DUNS number” to a single business entity. Businesses wishing to contract with the federal government need to obtain a DUNS number to register in the SAM system.

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR)

The FAR System governs the “acquisition process” by which executive agencies of the United States federal government acquire (i.e., purchase or lease) goods and services by contract with appropriated funds.

Federal Business Opportunities

Stay updated on federal business opportunities.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes 

Classifies business establishments for collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy. The NAICS industry codes define establishments based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged.

System for Award Management (SAM)

An official website of the U.S. government that allows businesses to do work with the U.S. government, update or renew entity registration, check status of entity registration, and search for entity registration and exclusion records. There is no cost to use SAM.

United Nations Standard Products and Services Code (UNSPSC)

Managed by GS1 US™ for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UNSPSC is an open, global, multi-sector standard for efficient, accurate classification of products and services.

USA Spending

A publicly accessible, searchable website mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (2006) to give the American public access to information on how their tax dollars are spent.

The SBIR Program

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a highly competitive program that encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR enables small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

The STTR Program

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is another program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development (R&D) arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.

Defense Pricing and Contracting

DPC is responsible for all Pricing, Contracting, and Procurement policy matters, including e-Business, in the Department of Defense (DoD). DPC executes policy through the timely update of the DFARS and PGI.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation

Contracts whose estimated value is $10,000 or more. Every modification to that contract, regardless of dollar value must be reported to FPDS-NG.

The DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS)

The DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS) is a web-based application that provides the capability to search for, view, and submit secure quotes on Requests For Quotations (RFQs) for Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) items of supply.  DIBBS also allows users to search and view Request For Proposals (RFPs), Invitations For Bid (IFBs), Awards and other procurement information related to DLA.

Integrated Award Environment (IAE)

The Integrated Award Environment (IAE) is a Presidential E-Government initiative managed by GSA. We use innovative processes and technologies to improve systems and operations for those who award, administer, or receive federal financial assistance (i.e.; grants, loans), contracts, and intergovernmental transactions. Here you will learn about how GSA manages its current suite of federal award systems and its flight path to migrate key features of those systems into one, streamlined environment.