Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ethnic minority as defined by NMSDC/TSMSDC? 
An ethnic minority is an individual whose origin or heritage is of or from:

  • Any of the Black racial groups of Sub-Sahara Africa (African Americans)
  • Any of the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Brazil (Afro-Brazilian and Brazilian Indians only) (Hispanic Americans)
  • American Indian, Aleut or Native Hawaiian (Native Americans). Native Americans must be documented members of a North American tribe, band or organized group of native people indigenous to the continental U.S.
  • Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Guam, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Samoa, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, the U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific or the Northern Marianas and Vietnam (Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Asian Indian Americans)


What groups are not considered ethnic minorities?
Per our affiliation agreement with NMSDC, we do not consider the following groups for MBE certification:

  • Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal)
  • Asia Minor Region (Peninsula between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean)
  • Persian Gulf (Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia)
  • Europe
  • Northern Africa (Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria)


What qualifies a company to become MBE-certified by NMSDC/TSMSDC?

  • Your company must be at least 51% owned by an ethnic minority or a group of ethnic minorities and hold the highest titled position(s) in the company.
  • The minority owner(s) who make up the 51% or more ownership must be U.S. citizens. Green Card holders/resident aliens are not eligible for certification.
  • Your company must be headquartered in the TSMSDC’s service area – Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia.
  • You must be able to provide required documents as per NMSDC guidelines.
  • You must submit a non-refundable processing fee.


What is the process for certification?




What is the MBE Input Committee?
As the liaison between the Council’s Corporate Members and as the voice of the Council’s MBEs, the MBE Input Committee (MBEIC) is a standing committee of the Board of Directors. Elected into membership by TSMSDC-certified MBEs, its role is to provide Board members and the Council staff with constructive and solution-oriented input on issues affecting minority-owned businesses, promote Council programs and activities, and execute on its own initiatives to strengthen and support the certified MBE community as a whole.


Certification through TSMSDC provides access to:

  • A network of Corporate Members who care about Supplier Diversity and the value it can deliver to their companies.
  • A network of accomplished, talented and generous MBEs
  • The extensive business and professional development resources offered by the Council and NMSDC
  • Opportunities to give back to the business community you and your company are part of, through service as a member of the MBE Input Committee (MBEIC)