Nashville International Airport > Business Diversity Development > Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is certification?

A: Certification is the process through which Nashville International Airport (BNA) examines the ownership, control, management and independence of the businesses seeking certification designation as one of the following: 

  • SMWBE (Small, Minority or Woman-Owned Business Enterprise), BNA's local certification program);
  • DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise), a Statewide Federal Funded program; or 
  • ACDBE (Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise), a Statewide Federal Funded program

The certification process requires a thorough investigation of the company's owner including, but not limited to, financial statements, by-laws, charter, stock certificates, lease agreements, salaries of owners, number of employees, licenses/authorities, etc.

  • All businesses seeking certification must be already established and have a business license.
  • Businesses must be ready, willing and able to provide the product or service as described.
  • The firm must meet all ownership criteria.
  • The firm must be willing to participate in annual reviews and updates, as required.
  • An on-site visit with the firm's owner will be performed as part of all firms seeking certification.

Within BNA's SMWBE certification program, firms are certified in one of the following classifications:

  • SBE: Small Business Enterprise (owner must be a Caucasian Male)
  • MBE: Minority Business Enterprise (must be Minority-owned, Male or Female )
  • WBE: Women Business Enterprise (owner must be a Caucasian Female)

Business Size Determination: A firm (including its affiliates) must be a small business as defined by SBA standards. It must not have annual gross receipts over $23.98 million in the previous three fiscal years ($56.42 million for airport concessionaires, in general, with some exceptions)

Personal Net Worth: Only persons having a personal net worth of less than $1.32 million can be considered as a potential DBE/ACDBE or SMWBE. Items excluded from a person's net worth calculation include an individual's ownership interest in the applicant firm, and his or her equity in their primary residence.

Nashville International Airport (BNA) Certifications

Nashville International Airport (BNA)'s office of Business Diversity Development (BDD) has two options when seeking certification: 


Small, Minority and Woman-Owned Enterprise (SMWBE):

  • This option promotes, encourages and stimulates participation by local Small, Minority and Woman-Owned Business Enterprises (SMWBEs).
  • SMWBE firms must be for-profit businesses, as defined in 49 CFR, Part 26. 

Click here to obtain an SMWBE Certification Application.

OPTION 2                                                                                                                                                

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) or Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Statewide Certification:

  • BNA partners with the Tennessee Uniform Certification Program (TNUCP) to ensure economic participation in contracting opportunities created by FAA financial assistance programs for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) or Airport Concessionaire Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBEs).
  • DBE firms must be for-profit businesses, as defined in 49 CFR, Part 26

Click here to obtain a TNUCP-DBE/ACDBE Certification Application.                                     


Q: Is there a cost to become certified?
A: No. There is no cost.

Q: How long does it take to become certified?
A: BNA must make a final decision on applications for certification within 90 days of receiving the applicant's complete certification application. 

Q: Will the certification application be processed if incomplete?

A: No. An incomplete application will not be reviewed until a complete application is submitted. It is important to submit all required information and answer questions accurately and completely.  

Q: Is there a geographic location requirement for SMWBE certification?

A: Yes. Firms seeking SMWBE certification must be located in the State of Tennessee.

Q: Is there a geographical location requirement for DBE/ACDBE certification?
A: Yes. The firm must be located within the State of Tennessee. If your firm is located outside the state of Tennessee, you must be certified in your home state first, before seeking certification within the State of Tennessee. Once your firm is certified in your home state, you become eligible to apply for Interstate Certification with BNA or the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). 

Q: How long does certification last?

A: The certification is valid until the firm is deemed decertified by BNA. All certifications are required to be renewed annually on the anniversary date. Renewal reminders are sent by BNA within 45-days in advance of the annual certification/ expiration date.

Q: Does
Nashville International Airport accept reciprocity by other entities?                                                                                                

A: Yes. BNA accepts reciprocity from the TNUCP. Visit to apply for certification.

Q: Where can I verify or view a copy of the SMWBE Directory of Certified Businesses?

A: Visit Click on BNA SMWBE Certification Directory.

Q: Where can I verify or view a copy of the DBE/ACDBE Directory of Certified Businesses?

A: Visit TN Department of Transportation website at:
Click on TNUCP Listing.

Q: Do I have to be certified to do business with Nashville International Airport? 

A: No. A business is not required to be certified to do business with BNA. However, any work performed as a prime contractor or subcontractor will not be credited as meeting the established contract goal.

Who should I contact for assistance with certification questions?

A: Certification questions can be emailed to

What if my application/certification is denied or revoked?

A: The firm has one of the three options:

      1. Request an informal appeal hearing within 30-days of receipt of denial letter.
      2. Waive informal hearing and make a written appeal submission within fifteen (15) days of receipt of denial letter.
      3. Do not request a hearing or make further submissions and allow the determination decision to stand. The decision is good for one year and the firm is not eligible to apply for certification for one full year.