A minority business application is used in the U.S. to apply for any of a number of opportunities given to businesses owned by minorities, including businesses owned by women. The application requires the applicant to prove that the business is minority-owned by listing specific information that can be corroborated. Examples of questions on the minority business application include the type of business, how long it has been in operation, and the names of the primary owners. The owners will need to give proof of their minority status, such as a minority nationality.
Typically, to qualify as a minority-owned business, a minority or woman must own the majority of the company, which is usually defined as 51% ownership. Persons who are considered to be members of a recognized minority group include women, blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Hawaiian Americans and Asians. Sometimes an interview may follow up the minority business application to ensure that the persons listed as owners do qualify as members of a minority group, and that they are, in fact, involved in the actual operation of the company. Having a qualified minority as a figurehead only, or merely as a monetary donor, is not normally adequate for a minority business application to be approved. Alternatively, income may be used as the minority qualification, and applicants must submit evidence of income that falls within the stated guidelines.
Low-interest loans are the most prevalent type of opportunity offered to minority businesses. These arose because minorities traditionally had a difficult time obtaining business financing due to low income, a lack of job history, or few assets to offer as collateral against the loan. A minority business application is specifically designed to be considered for minority funding, using non-traditional criteria for consideration.
Other special opportunities for which a minority business application might be used include loans or grants to start or expand a specific program within the company, mentoring by a successful business owner in the community, and networking to introduce minority business owners to influential business leaders. There are even special programs that teach minority business owners how to submit applications to work with the federal government in some capacity, since this is often a long and tedious process that can cause any business owner to give up in frustration.
When evaluators see such a minority business application, they understand its significance to the parties involved and the need to use specifc criteria for its consideration. A universally accepted form does not exist. Minority business applications are recognized by their titles, the types of questions asked for verification, and the criteria used to evaluate the applications.