Government programs can help level the playing field for minority and women-owned businesses, experts say. The programs require certification, which ensures that a woman or a minority owns and controls the company. "If you're going to do business with the government or go after big commercial-type projects and you're a minority- or woman-owned business, you should go for your certification," says Gloria Glowacki, assistant director of the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook.

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