CBI Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Charlotte Business INClusion Program?

The Charlotte Business INClusion program is designed to promote diversity, inclusion, and local business opportunities in the city's contracting and procurement process for businesses headquartered in the Charlotte Combined Statistical Area.

To find out if you are eligible for the City of Charlotte Small Business Enterprise (SBE) certification, download the City of Charlotte SBE Application.

Why is the city committed to CBI?

The Charlotte Business INClusion program provides benefits for both the city and the business community in our region. Participation in the program helps the city increase its contracting opportunities with MWSBE companies, resulting in greater job availability and business growth for the local business community. In addition to contributing to the economic well-being of the region, bringing new MWSBEs into the pool of companies doing business with the city enhances the city's competitive bidding processes and allows the city to track its spending with MWSBE firms.

Why would a business want to become certified as an MWSBE?

Businesses that complete the program application and are certified as an MWSBE will have greater exposure to business opportunities in the city's procurement and contracting. The names of MWSBE firms are listed in the city's vendor database, which is widely used by city buyers in all city departments. Prime contractors and consultants will also use the city's vendor database to identify MWSBE certified subcontractors for city projects. Only those businesses that are certified by the city as MWSBEs will be counted towards fulfilling the city's MWSBE goals.

Do I have to get certified as an MWSBE to do business with the city?

Your firm does not have to be certified as an MWSBE in order to do business with the City. Anyone can register their business as a vendor with the city by visiting The North Carolina electronic Vendor Portal (eVP).

However, if your business meets the certification requirements for MWSBE certification, we highly recommend that you participate in the city's Charlotte Business INClusion program as it will afford you greater exposure to business opportunities.

How do I go about getting certified as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE)?

You can access the SBE application online by visiting the North Carolina electronic Vendor Portal (eVP).

For questions on the application process, please call 704.336.4137 and press Prompt "1" for certification.

Is an MWSBE-certified firm assured of getting a contract with the city?

Not necessarily. MWSBE certification does not guarantee that you will receive a contract with the City of Charlotte. However, MWSBE certification does provide greater exposure for your firm to the business community. It is important to develop a marketing plan and market your business to the city departments who buy what you sell.

What's the difference between an MBE, WBE and an SBE?

MBE stands for Minority Business Enterprise. An MBE is 51% owned, operated, and controlled by one or more members of a minority race.

WBE stands for Women Business Enterprise. A WBE is 51% owned, operated, and controlled by one or more women.

SBE stands for Small Business Enterprise. An SBE is a race-neutral and gender-neutral designation that is defined based upon economic criteria established by the city.


If I complete the MWSBE application with the city, does that mean I will be certified with other agencies?

No. The City of Charlotte has defined its own criteria for MWSBE designation in the Charlotte Business INClusion program. While other organizations may accept the city's MWSBE designation, you should always inquire what certifications other businesses will accept.

Does having a P.O. Box or an office in the Charlotte Combined Statistical Area (CSA) allow me to participate in the city's CBI program?

Your firm must have a significant business presence in the Charlotte CSA. The CSA includes the following counties in North Carolina: Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union; and the following counties in South Carolina: Chester, Lancaster, and York. The City will evaluate a business enterprise's significant business presence based on all of the evidence supplied by the business enterprise. Several factors will be used to determine significant business presence including, but not limited to:

  • whether the business Enterprise is headquartered in the Charlotte CSA;

  • number of full-time employees;

  • location of managerial or decision-making personnel;

  • lease agreement;

  • post office box, mail drop, or message center;

  • previous work or contracts performed in the Charlotte CSA; and

  • percentage of income or revenue derived from Charlotte CSA.