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Due to the volume of certification applications, the average processing time for local applications is 6 – 8 months. We are working diligently to process your application and appreciate your patience.

Office of Business Opportunity

Certification and Designations

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Certification Process    Certification Application and Forms    DBE Certification

The Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) certifies the following businesses through the City of Houston’s local certification program:

  • Minority Business Enterprises (MBE)
  • Women Business Enterprises (WBE)
  • Small Business Enterprises (SBE)
  • Persons with Disabilities Business Enterprises (PDBE)

OBO also administers the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) certifications on behalf of the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). General information on types of certification (.pdf).

All certification applications must be submitted online at Apply for Certification. Status updates will be provided to all applicants via the online portal during the review process. If approved, the applicant may access the approval letter and certificate via the portal.

Prospective certification applicants are encouraged to watch the on-demand Pre-Certification Workshop. This workshop will provide an overview on each certification type, requirements, and procedures to guide business owners through the application process and discuss the benefits of certification.

Alternatively, the certification team hosts live virtual Pre-Certification Workshops every first and third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 p.m. You can register for the live virtual workshop here.

Our dedicated certification team validates eligibility of firms applying for M/W/SBE, PDBE, DBE, and/or ACDBE certification. You may contact our certification team via email at or via telephone at 832.393.0600 (Option 1) should you have any questions.

MWSBE/PDBE/ACDBE/DBE Certification Capabilities Expansion Request for Currently Certified Firms
Has your firm expanded to perform work in areas that are not included in your current MWSBE/PDBE/ACDBE/DBE certification profile? If so, you may request to expand your certification approval to include those additional work areas by completing and submitting the MWSBE/PDBE/ACDBE/DBE Expansion of Certification Capability Request Form located at the following link:

Certification Updates
Local certifications (MWSBE and PDBE) are valid for three calendar years from the date of initial certification. However, you must update your ACDBE/DBE certification annually in order to continue in the program. OBO will notify you, via electronic communication, about required updates.

Texas Historically Underutilized Business (HUB)
Contingent on MBE and/or WBE certification approval, you may also be eligible for State of Texas Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification based on ethnicity, U.S. Citizenship, Texas residency and principal place of business. You must indicate that you wish to be considered for HUB certification when submitting your MBE and/or WBE application. Additional information on State of Texas Website regarding Certification agreement with the City of Houston: HUB Certification Agreements. Please note: HUB certificates are issued directly by the State of Texas.