Key Definitions

All definitions may be found here in Divisions 6 and 8 of the Cook County Procurement Code.

County Marketplace means the six-county region, currently the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.

Disability or Disabled means, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual, a record of physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual, or being regarded as an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of the individual.

Eligible Veteran means a person who (i) has been either a member of the armed forces of the United States or, while a citizen of the United States, was a member of the armed forces of allies of the United States in time of hostilities with a foreign country and (ii) has served under one or more of the following conditions: (a) the veteran served a total of at least six months; (b) the veteran served for the duration of hostilities regardless of the length of the engagement; (c) the veteran was discharged on the basis of hardship; or (d) the veteran was released from active duty because of a service connected disability and was discharged under honorable conditions.

Minority Individual means an individual in one of the following groups:

African-Americans or Blacks, which includes persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa; Hispanic-Americans, which includes persons who are Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Caribbean, Dominican, Central or South American, regardless of race;  Native-Americans, which includes persons who are American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians; Asian-Americans (persons whose origins are in any of the original peoples of the Far East Asia, Southeast Asia, the islands of the Pacific or the Northern Marianas, or the Indian Subcontinent); or Other groups, including, but not limited to, Arab-Americans, found by the County to be socially disadvantaged by having suffered racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society, without regard to individual qualities, resulting in decreased opportunities to compete in the County's Marketplace.

Service-Disabled Veteran means an Eligible Veteran who has been found to have ten percent or more service-connected disability by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Department of Defense.

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 Peron's previous five fiscal years, exceed the size standards of 13 CFR Part 121.

Woman means a person of the female gender.

Online Certification

All applications for certification (including New Applications [Schedule A], annual No Change Affidavits, or Re-Certifications) must be completed online. 

Fees

There is a $250 fee for Schedule A Applications and Recertification Applications for MBE and WBE certifications.  VBE, SDVBE and PDBE certifications are free.  If you are applying for multiple certifications you apply for both on a single application, and if any certification is free, then all other certifications are free.  (ex. You are applying for MBE, WBE and PDBE, all certifications are free) 

Before you begin the application, review the Document Checklist and gather every document on the list. 

Click to view the Document Checklist for first time applicants (Schedule A)

Click to view the Document Checklist for No-Change Affidavits

Click to view the Document Checklist for Recertifications

Certification Support

Click to visit a list of upcoming MBE/WBE certification workshops.

If you need help applying for certification online, OCC has available a Self-Service Kiosk for vendors to submit their online applications.   The Self-Service Kiosk will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM by appointment only.  Please call our receptionist at 312-603-5502 to schedule your Self-Service Kiosk appointment.

The following documentation is required when attending your appointment:

  1. Current, Government Issued ID of Authorized Personnel;

  2. Fully executed and notarized Affidavit;

  3. All required information and documentation from the checklist; and

  4. Required payment of $250.00 for all Schedule A and Recertification Applications.

Click to view the Document Checklist

Cook County and City of Chicago Certification Reciprocity

Cook County offers MBE and WBE credit to City of Chicago certified MBEs and WBEs.  If your business is certified with the City of Chicago as an MBE or WBE, when bidding on a Cook County contract attach your City of Chicago certification letter and an executed  Cook County Reciprocal Certification Affidavit affirming that your firm meets the SBA size Standards for the NAICS codes under which your business is certified and that the personal net worth of the majority owner(s) of your firm is under $2,300,000.00.

Click to download the Cook County Reciprocal Certification Affidavit

Cook County and State of Illinois Central Management Services Veteran-owned Small Business Reciprocity

Cook County offers a 5% bid preference to Cook County certified VBEs and SDVBEs and to CMS certified VOSBs and SDVOSBs.  All CMS certified VOSBs and SDVOSBs that wish to request the bid preference must attach the State of Illinois VOSB/SDVOSB certification letter and the Cook County Veteran Bid Preference Reciprocity Affidavit.

Click to download the Cook County Veteran Bid Preference Reciprocity Affidavit

Cook County Persons with a Disability-Owned Business Enterprise (PDBE) Bid Preference

Cook County offers a 5% bid preference to Cook County certified PDBEs.  All Cook County certified PDBEs that wish to request the bid preference must attach their Cook County PDBE Certification.

Click to download the PDBE Physician Affidavit (Required for certification)

Click to Apply for Certification