Female small business owners are doing better than they ever have in the past. From acquiring a range of small business loans to managing entire companies, more and more women are starting businesses and excelling at it. In fact, they are having greater long-term success than female small business owners from just a few decades ago. While it is true that women-owned small businesses (WOSB) are having more success, there is still a lot of competition. If you are a female entrepreneur, getting certified as a women-owned business can provide an edge.
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Many women who own businesses do not realize the benefits that come with certification. Furthermore, they may be unsure about the qualifications and the types of certifications that are available. In this post, you will learn about some of the benefits of getting certified and the different WOSB certifications that are available.
The Benefits of Being Certified
The exact benefits will depend on the organization that offers the certification program. Several organizations offer this type of certification, but one of the main benefits of these programs is that they provide better visibility for women-owned businesses. Along with that, many of them will offer networking opportunities and educational resources.
Depending on the type of certification you get, it can also help you land more contracts. Many of the world’s largest corporations have programs to encourage partnerships with women-owned businesses. Various government agencies also prioritize women-owned businesses for different types of contracts.
Requirements for a WOSB certification do vary from one organization to the next. With some, the process involves different applications and interviews to make sure the business meets the criteria. However, there are some that have a very simple self-certification process.
In general, there are some requirements that are the same across most of the organizations that offer this type of certification. One is that the business should be at least 51% owned by women. Another is that a woman should hold the highest officer position at the company. For the most part, men can be part owner and hold leadership roles in the company, but most of these programs want to ensure that the benefits go to businesses that really have women in control and are majority-owned by women.
When it comes to the different types of certifications that are available, you have to realize that some are better than others, and some may be worth more to your business. Before you start applying for a certification, you should investigate the organization, the types of benefits that come with the certification, and what you will have to do to obtain that certification.
Types of Woman-Owned Business Certification
While there are many different certifications available, there are two organizations that stand out based on the benefits that they offer women-owned businesses.
The Small Business Administration
The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program. The intention of this program is to level the playing field in areas of federal contracting where women are underrepresented.
The eligibility requirements are that the business is at least 51% controlled by women who are US citizens and that the day-to-day operations are managed by a woman. It has a fairly simple enrollment process and offers great opportunities for women who are interested in landing federal contracts.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is a non-profit that certifies women-owned businesses. They are the largest certifying organization for women-owned businesses in the US, and the certification is recognized by more than 1,000 corporations, as well as many state and local governments. They are also an approved third-party certifier for the SBA’s WOSB program.
Getting certified by the WBENC is a little more complex and time-consuming. To get certified, you will need to fill out an application and provide the WBENC with a broad array of documentation. Along with that, there may be an interview and site visit from a WBENC partner organization.
While the process can be difficult, the benefits are substantial. You have the chance at business opportunities with the many organizations that recognize WBENC certification. They also offer access to various conferences and networking opportunities. Furthermore, the WBENC provides access to different educational and mentoring programs for members.
Certification from organizations like the SBA and the WBENC can open up a lot of opportunities. It might require some effort to obtain the certification, but it can be a smart step toward helping your business grow.