Frequently Asked Questions

Birmingham Construction Industry Authority (BCIA) is an agency created to implement a disadvantaged business enterprise program in the construction industry. It was founded in 1989 and opened for service in 1990. It offers certification, training workshops, networking opportunity, contract plans and specifications, technical assistance and advocacy for bona fide disadvantaged businesses and individuals. Since opening its doors for business, BCIA has been instrumental in disadvantaged businesses participating in more than $650 million dollars in contracts and awards.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) is a business controlled by and a majority of which is owned by African Americans or blacks. The term “MBE” means a business at least 51% of which is owned by blacks, or in the case of publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock of said business is owned by blacks.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) is defined as business concern which is at least 51% owned, by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, or in the case of a publicly owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by disadvantaged individuals. Whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially, and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.

  1. Socially Disadvantaged Individuals means individuals who have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their qualities as individuals or capabilities as a business.
  2. Economically Disadvantaged Individuals means socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system is impaired due to diminished opportunities to obtain capital and credit as compared to others in the same line of business that are not socially disadvantaged.

Yes. A woman and a man can own the company jointly; however, the majority owner must be socially or economically disadvantage and own 51% of the business and must demonstrate that his/her management and control of the company, and contribution of capital and/or expertise, and assumption of all profits and risks are commensurate with his/her ownership percentage.

A brief summary of certification process is as follows:

  1.  A business entity submits an application, along with the necessary supporting documentation, notarized sworn affidavit and certification fee.
  2. An on-site visit is conducted at a pre-determined time with the majority business owner.
  3. If certification is granted, the company’s owner and assigned contact will receive an e-mail notification telling them that they have been certified and the BCIA Certificate has been mailed.
  4. A formal letter is mailed to the owner if certification is denied.

Certification fee is $300

Financial documents, such as the Profit & Loss Statement, provide evidence that the applicant is conducting the business as described in the application. Documents such as the Balance Sheet and tax returns are used collectively to verify the ownership, management, and control by the owners. Please note that the certification process does not evaluate the company’s profitability or financial viability. 

The processing time is generally two weeks from the date all documentation has been received by the firm requesting certification.

A mandatory visit to your business or home office usually conducted by the Executive Director. In this interview you will discuss your company’s business structure and view any equipment mention on the certification application. Please note applicants whose offices are primarily housed in the confinements of their homes will be closely scrutinized per the nature of their business in determining their eligibility.