A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Find and Do Business with a (CBE) in Washington, D.C.

If you’re an enterprise firm or company, a proven strategy to boost your chances of securing lucrative government contracts in Washington D.C. is to partner with a Certified Business Enterprise (CBE). This detailed guide is designed to navigate you through the CBE certification process, drawing on valuable knowledge from the DSLBD FAQ section.

The Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) manages a dynamic database encompassing all currently active CBEs. This database undergoes real-time updates whenever a business achieves certification through the Department. Each entry within the database comprises a comprehensive business profile for every CBE, encompassing contact details, business descriptions, and NIGP codes.

Accessing the CBE Database

  • Discovering Active CBEs: Visit the CBE Search site directly at or navigate through the DSLBD website On the DSLBD homepage, scroll to "Find Certified Companies" on the right side, and click on the link to search for a certified company.
  • Viewing CBE Listings: On the CBE Certified Contractors page, you will see the total number of active CBEs next to the "Last Page" button. Here, you can refine your search using various criteria such as Business Name, Certification Number, Bonding Limit, CBE Categories, Primary Business Services, Ward, or NIGP Codes.

Performing CBE Searches

  • Search Options: You can perform searches using a combination of filters including:some text
    • Partial or complete business names.
    • Exact certification numbers.
    • Specific bonding limit ranges.
    • A single CBE category.
    • A chosen primary business service.
    • A particular ward.
    • One or more NIGP Codes by clicking the "+ Select NIGP Code" button.
  • Executing a Search: After setting your search criteria, click the "Search" button (avoid using the ENTER key). To reset your search, use the "Clear" button. Results can be exported to Excel for further analysis using the "Export Selected" or "Export All" buttons. Navigate through the results using the page control buttons.
  • NIGP Code Specifics: To add NIGP Codes, click "+ Select NIGP Code." You can search by description or directly by code. Avoid hyphens when entering NIGP Codes. You can expand or collapse sub-categories within the search results and select or deselect codes as needed. Finalize your selection by clicking "Done," and the selected codes will be added to your main search criteria.

Troubleshooting Search Issues

  • No Results: If your search yields no results, clear your search criteria using the "Clear" button, re-enter your criteria, and try searching again. If searching by business name yields no results, attempt a search using the full CBE Number.

Contacting CBEs

  • Sending Emails to CBEs: After locating the desired CBEs using the search instructions above, export your results to an Excel file. Open the Excel file, and copy the email addresses (excluding the column title) into your preferred email tool to contact them directly.

For further assistance:

The DSLBD's CBE Directory is a dynamic tool designed to empower businesses within Washington, DC, to grow, diversify, and contribute positively to the local economy. By understanding how to navigate and leverage this resource effectively, businesses can uncover new partnership opportunities, meet procurement requirements, and engage in meaningful collaborations. 

Whether you're conducting your search or utilizing the assisted search service, the CBE Directory stands as a beacon for fostering a more interconnected and vibrant business community.