Below please find helpful information on the certification process. This includes various forms, documents and requirements to do business with Cook County. In an effort to go green and reduce the County’s carbon footprint, the Office of Contract Compliance will no longer be accepting hard copy M/W/VBE certification applications starting January 1, 2019. All receiving and processing moving forward will be done electronically. Whether it’s a new application, annual No Change Affidavit, or Re-Certification, you can now complete your application and submit all your documents online with our Diversity Management System. For a list of upcoming MBE/WBE certification workshops please click here.
If you are unable to complete an online certification, please download and complete a hard copy of the application (download available in the Documents Section on the right side of this page) and submit all required documentation and information to:
Office of Contract Compliance118 N. Clark St., Room 1020Chicago, IL 60602
Cook County and City of Chicago Certification Reciprocity
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have launched a reciprocal Minority and Women Business Enterprise initiative. This initiative will allow your business to be certified by either the County or City and have either certification apply to both agencies. This combined effort for the County and City will lessen the financial burden and streamline the certification process by providing a “one stop shop” for MBE/WBEs interested in participating in County and City procurement opportunities. Provided that the agency’s requirements are met, you will no longer be required to submit your annual No Change Affidavit or ReCertification Affidavit to both agencies, just one.
For bids or proposals, professional services or non-construction firms certified with the City of Chicago, a MWBE Reciprocal Certification Affidavit must be submitted with the City’s letter of certification. This form ensures that the certified MBE/WBE firms participating in Cook County contracts for credit are within the parameters of the Cook County Procurement Ordinance.
Please note that if you are currently certified with the City of Chicago in a non-construction area i.e., professional services or goods, the County Code requires: 1) the firm’s average annual gross receipts over the five most recent years does not exceed the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Size Standards and, 2) the personal net worth of the qualifiying (51%) individual(s) does not exceed the County’s personal net worth limitations of approximately $2.2 million.
Please contact our office at (312) 603-5502 for questions regarding the County and City’s reciprocal Minority and Women Business Enterprise initiative and Cook County’s certification processes.
Letter(s) of Certification
Only a Letter of Certification from one of the following entities shall be accepted as certification of MBE/WBE/VBE status:
City of Chicago - If you are currently certified If you are currently certified with the City of Chicago in a non-construction area i.e., goods and/or services or professional services, the County Code requires that you do not exceed 1) the S.B.A. Size Standards and, 2) Personal Net Worth standards of approximately $2 million. If you are a non-construction firm and wish to participate as an MBE/WBE in an upcoming County contract, you must submit an affidavit regarding your SBA Size and Personal Net Worth at the time of the bid. You can download the affidavit from the Documents Section on the right side of the page
Illinois United Certification Program when associated with Federally-funded Cook County Contracts
Personal Net Worth Statement
ALL applicants applying for Cook County Certification or submitting a No Change and/or Re-Certification as MBE/WBE must complete a “Personal Net Worth Statement” form for each qualifying owner (51%) of the applicant firm. Visit the Documents Section on the right side of the page for a Personal Net Worth Statement.
The personal net worth limit has been recalculated based on the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (Chicago All Items). Pursuant to Section 34-263 of the County’s Code of Ordinances, this limit shall be adjusted annually based on the Chicago Metro Area Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers. The personal net worth limit for 2018 is $2,276,550.06.
Small Business Requirement
The Applicant firm must be a Small Business. Small Business means a small business as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration, pursuant to the business size standards found in 13 CFR Part 121, as related to the nature of the work the Person seeks to perform on Contracts. A Person is not an eligible small business enterprise in any calendar fiscal year in which its gross receipts, averaged over the Person’s previous five fiscal years, exceed the size standards of 13 CFR Part 121 (Sec. 34-121, County Code). Click here to see the size standards table.
County Marketplace Requirement
The Applicant firm must be a Local Small Business, which has its principal place of business and a majority of its regular, full-time workforce located within the County’s Marketplace. The County’s Marketplace includes counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will. Firms seeking Veteran certification must have its home office in Illinois.
Veteran Certification Requirement
Cook County certifies firms that are at least 51% owned and operated by veterans. Firms must be 1) a small business; 2) at least 51 percent owned, controlled, and managed by one or more Eligible Veterans; and, 3) has its home office in Illinois.
For current Cook County MBE/WBE/VBE certified vendors only. Failure to respond annually will result in the lapse of the firm’s certification and ineligibility of that firm’s participation on any contract as an MBE/WBE/VBE.
No-Change Affidavits can be submitted online through our Diversity Management System. If you are unable to submit your affidavit online, you may download the file in the Documents section and submit it in hard copy.
For current Cook County MBE/WBE/VBE certified vendors only. MBE/WBE/VBE Certification Program is valid for five (5) years. On the fifth year anniversary date a Re-Certification Affidavit is required. Recertification can be done online through our Diversity Management System. If you are unable to re-certify online, you may download the file in the Documents section and submit it in hard copy.
The Cook County’s Office of Contract Compliance now accepts online payments, checks and money orders for processing fees. Please make checks and money orders payable to Cook County Department of Revenue. Continued annual validation is required during the five (5) year term. On the Certification’s five (5) year anniversary, a Re-Certification Affidavit is required.The following processing fees are non-refundable:
Certification Application – $250
Re-Certification Application – $250
No-Change Affidavit – No Charge
Veteran Application – No Charge
Cook County Procurement Code
For more information about the County’s Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program, please click on the following link to find the County Code, Section 34-260.