Business Certification: Joint Ventures

A joint venture is a commercial collaboration in which two or more separate businesses — one of whom must be certified already by either the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) program or the Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) program — legally join together for the purpose of obtaining a specific contract or undertaking a specific transaction, while at the same time remaining independent. Generally each member of a joint venture shares the risks of, has an interest in, and contributes assets to, the joint venture. Joint ventures can be formed in order to submit bids or proposals for a contract in any applicable procurement category (i.e., professional services, goods and services, or information technology services). An MBE-certified business cannot participate in a joint venture who submits bids or proposals for construction, architecture or engineering projects.

Joint Venture Eligibility

To have the joint venture certified either into the MBE or EDGE program, the joint venture must be controlled by the certified business owner. In addition, the certified business owner must have an interest in the capital, assets, and profits and losses of the joint venture at least proportionate to their capital in the venture, but the interest must be at least 51 percent for MBE or 30 percent for EDGE.

Steps for Certifying a Joint Venture

To obtain MBE or EDGE certification of a joint venture, the applicant must complete an online application through the Ohio Business Gateway. In addition, the applicant must submit a copy of the Joint Venture Agreement to . Among other things, the Joint Venture Agreement must include the following:

  • Name of project and contract number, in known;
  • Location, bid date and type of project;
  • Description of job to be performed by joint venture partners;
  • Percentage of the project to be subcontracted and of actual work being conducted by the subcontractor; and
  • Appropriate contract start and completion dates.

(For a comprehensive list of the items that the Joint Venture Agreement must contain, please click here for MBE and click here for EDGE.)

Upon receipt and review of the Joint Venture Agreement, EOD may require an on-site review by a state compliance officer.

Steps for Joint Venture

  1. Visit Ohio Business Gateway
  2. Log in using username and password (OH|ID)
  3. Ensure "Equal Opportunity Division" is among available service areas
  4. Select "Unified Application" and complete the form
  5. Click "Accept" button on the Summary page to see a confirmation page (and print completed application)
  6. Submit Joint Venture Agreement to


We at EOD are excited to partner with the Ohio Business Gateway Modernization Project in an effort to make doing business with the State of Ohio easier and more efficient. Whether completing a Unified Application for the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) or Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) program, applying for a new Certificate of Compliance or Affirmative Action Program Verification, or even completing your monthly Workhour Utilization Reports (I-29s), it is our hope that this improved process will be easy and drastically improve the way your business interacts with state government. 

The modernized Ohio Business Gateway is finally here! The State of Ohio is one step closer to making doing business in Ohio easier and more efficient. For more information and a look at the Gateway Modernization, check out the video below and visit


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