Over the course of the last several decades, legislation and executive orders have been drafted to help level the playing field for women and minority owned businesses that compete for government contracts. Women owned businesses still remain underrepresented in the awarding of government and corporate procurement contracts, but getting your Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification can improve your business’ chances to successfully receive government contract awards.
Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) certification was created to help woman-owned businesses move up on the radar of government procurement agents and help the federal government achieve its goal of increasing the amount of contracts issued to women-owned businesses. Many corporations, especially those receiving government contracts themselves, also take WBE status into consideration when purchasing services or goods.
How Does it Work?
Essentially, businesses that receive WBE Certification become a part of a tracking system maintained by government and corporate purchasing agents who are encouraged to contract with more women-owned businesses. WBE certification is evidence that women have at least a majority ownership in the business and that the business therefore qualifies for special consideration in certain purchasing decisions. WBE Certification is open to any business, regardless of its size or age as long as it is owned or controlled by a woman or women.
WBE Certification has become an integral element in the strategic plan of women-owned businesses for its ability to establish instant legitimacy and recognition. A WBE Certification can help a business be “seen” in the sea of applicants for government and corporate contracts.
How Do You Get Certified?
The process for WBE Certification begins with the completion of an application. The application along with supporting documents is filed with a Small Business Administration (SBA) approved certifying agency at a local or regional level, and, if the criteria are met, the business usually receives its certification within two to three months. A critical part of the process is providing the necessary documentation to prove that the business is majority owned by a woman or a group of women.
Women-owned businesses represent one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. WBE Certification can be an excellent tool to improve your selection chances. The paperwork takes some time to complete, but it is definitely worth the trouble if your business solicits business from government or large corporate customers.