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Certifying as a Social Enterprise with LA County



In 2016, the LA County Board of Supervisors passed a 4-year utilization plan that created three Price Preference Entities (PPEs) consisting of small businesses, disabled veteran owned businesses, and social enterprises. As a PPE, these business get a considerable price preferences when competing for LA County contracts against non-certified businesses: PPEs now receive a price reduction of 15% in bidding processes, but still get paid their initial bid amount.

Being certified provides multiple benefits in the contracting process:

  • Department purchasers are incentivized to seek out certified organizations when soliciting bids for contracts under $10,000. In 2016, 54% of all contracts were under $10,000.
  • For larger contracts, certified organizations can receive up to a 15% bid preference when bidding against non-certified businesses for LA County contracts. This accounts for higher cost of production for social enterprises.
  • Certified organizations are earmarked in county contracting systems so that purchasers can easily discern that they are a social enterprise when searching for goods and service providers.

Part of the utilization plan included the nation’s first social enterprise certification. In order to obtain the benefits of a PPE, social enterprises must be certified as such with the county. REDF is encouraging all social enterprises in Los Angeles to obtain a certification from the county


Certification Process

You can begin to certify as a social enterprise by logging in to your account on the Los Angeles County Vendor Portal here. This is the same account you created when registering as vendor with the county.

Once in the portal, scroll to the LA County Solicitation Preference Programs Section. Here you can select “SE” as your preference program and upload the required documents to verify that you are a social enterprise:

  • Data indicating that your workforce is at least 51% transitional. This can be easily produced if you keep track of your transitional workforce in your employment records.
  • A mission statement indicating that your organization works to achieve a social good.
  • Your LA County vendor number, which you will have received by registering to be a vendor.

After uploading and inputting all of these materials, click ‘submit’ and it the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs will get back to you on your status or if they need any clarifying information.


Next Steps

Once you are certified, purchasers will be incentivized to solicit you for small contracts, and you will receive the bid preference for contracts when you are in bid competitions against non-certified businesses. The next step is to determine if you are ready to apply for master agreements.


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