If the history of women in labor and business is any indication of past entrepreneurial challenges that have been overcome, 2017 should expect nothing less than remarkable advancements by women-owned firms offering additional prospects for themselves. Even though it is just the third month of the year, there is already an increase in demand from companies looking to register as WOSB because government contractors are aware of the benefits of being categorized as a small business.
Businesses that want to be classified as WOSB/EDWOSB must meet a number of requirements, including being 51% unconditionally and directly owned by women who are citizens of the United States, holding the position of chief executive officer, managing day-to-day operations, and making long-term business decisions. Make sure your company complies with the requirements; failure to do so could have serious repercussions. The SBA takes small business certifications very seriously. Once your company has registered at SAM.gov as a WOSB/EDWOSB, you will be eligible to win any contracts that are sole-sourced only to WOSBs or set aside for them.
Opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses are Growing
According to WOSB information, the government has recently taken steps to improve opportunities for WOSBs. However, how could WOSBs have more control over their own opportunities? How can WOSBs redirect a bigger portion of the $409.6 billion not allocated to WOSBs last year in order to gain a larger proportion of the $38.1 billion allotted for non-WOSBs?
The possibility that a contract will be set aside for award to a WOSB/EDWOSB increases with the number of businesses registered with the WOSB designation. This is so because a WOSB set aside contract's requirements heavily rely on the submission of offers from two or more WOSBs. One of the best contracting options for WOSBs is the GSA Schedules Program, which allows them to operate as contractors for the government.
Federal WOSB Contracting Program
Women-owned small companies continue to be underrepresented in many government contracting fields today, despite rules in place to increase federal expenditure to WOSBs and economically disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs).
The WOSB Federal Contracting Program, which also allows contracting officers to reserve specific contracts for these organizations (those valued at less than $4 million for all other contracts and less than $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts), provides WOSBs and EDWOSBs with equal access to federal contracting opportunities. Let's examine some information from the prior year regarding spending on federal contracts:
- The 2016 budget for WOSB/EDWOSB contracts is $453.9 million.
- 2016 saw a total of $38.6 billion made aside for small enterprises.
- 2016 federal contracts worth $409.6 billion that have no set asides
2017 has already shown to be a vocal year for women as we continue to see support from organizations celebrating Women's History Month through their distribution of the accomplishments and contributions made by women to our country. Make March a WOSB month by signing up throughout that month.
Perks of Running a Recognized Woman-Owned Company
When we last spoke, we talked about how WOSB certifications help companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry differentiate themselves. It is one of the WOSB certificates that is currently gaining the most ground because it is predicted that 13 million businesses in the United States have one of the numerous women-owned WOSB certifications.
You are in a fantastic position to grow your business thanks to the advantages and opportunities that come with being a recognized women-owned small business (WOSB) or women business enterprise (WBE). You should be conscious of the following three advantages:
1. Expanded access
Women-owned businesses have unmatched access to opportunities thanks to their status as WOSBs or WBEs. This can include grants or contracts from government or private agencies that are intended especially for WOSB or WBE. For instance, the government allots at least 5% of its contract financing to women-owned businesses each year. A WOSB certification as a woman-owned business, however, also grants you access to market information.
Businesses that are formally recognized as being woman-owned have access to large databases and WOSB information utilized by major firms and governmental bodies that support supplier diversity. Using WOSB information, businesses can find prospective customers and clients who can benefit from the product or service your company has to offer.
2. Promotion of supplier diversity
If they don't already have one, retailers today are actively working to elevate their game when it comes to creating a diverse supply chain. In order to accomplish this, many stores are turning to women-owned enterprises. For instance, Kroger connected 234 new WBE suppliers in 2019, an increase of 57% from the year before. Walmart collaborated with eight other businesses in 2017 to track and report sourcing from them over a five-year period in an effort to raise awareness of the benefits of doing so.
3. Enhanced brand recognition
Certified women-owned businesses typically stand out from the crowd. As was already mentioned, retailers want to broaden their supply base, and a certification from a WOSB certification can help a brand stand out inthe marketplace. (And in certain cases, supplemental advantages like free slotting). It has also been shown that the Women-Owned brand boosts sales for manufacturers and corporate members like Walmart and Kroger.
90% of female customers would go above and beyond to purchase goods from businesses operated by women, according to research conducted by the Council.
Taking action now
Becoming a woman-owned business is a labor-intensive process. It's an obligation that calls for labour, resources, and a significant number of paperwork. To become certified, however, has a number of benefits, including bringing in new customers, expanding one's possibilities through grants and programs, connecting with other women-owned businesses, and even recruiting staff.
However, you have to use your accreditation for women-owned enterprises after you've received it. Why put in all that work if you won't make full use of the certification? In order for clients to discover your business when they search for businesses that have the certifications, include a statement about being a women-owned business in your marketing materials, promote it whenever possible, and put it in your profile.
Women-owned businesses generated $1.7 trillion, with a capital T, in revenue overall in 2017. This number is likely to climb as well as supplier diversity and public awareness of the benefits of women-owned firms both continue to rise. Additionally, if your company is owned by a woman and you're a new supplier, don't pass up this opportunity to be accredited!
The Beginning of Much More: Why WBENC Certification Is Just the Start
Women-owned enterprises and other businesses still have significant financial discrepancies. According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Firms Report, there are over 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States, or 42% of all businesses. However, that amount has probably diminished considering the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy.
Because of this, obtaining WBOSB certification is more crucial than ever. It could be quite beneficial to be a WBENC-Certified women-owned business, especially if you take the time to take advantage of the numerous events and networking opportunities offered all year long.
The most prestigious and well-known accreditation for women-owned businesses in the US is WBOSB certification. Because they are aware that WBENC has thoroughly studied each business and ensured that it complies with the relevant requirements, more than 1,000 businesses and federal, state, and local governmental organizations view WBENC Certification as the gold standard. From that point forward, there are countless opportunities for official and informal interactions with WBENC National Corporate and Government Members and other WBENC-Certified Women's Business Enterprises (WBEs). Certified WBEs have year-round access to business, networking, and training opportunities thanks to WBENC and its partners.
Throughout the year, WBENC plans events and programs that are both online and in person. These events and activities include networking, grant and procurement opportunities, mentorship, executive education, numerous business enhancement training programs, and many other tools and services. Like-minded female company owners and other professionals collaborate to promote one another's growth and success, creating a huge network of support for WBEs.
What It Means to Be a WBE and WOSB Certified
When a business is awarded WBENC Certification, it signifies that it has through a rigorous evaluation that included a site inspection and a review of financial documents. The company is at least 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women, according to WBENC's findings. Certification demands unrestricted control over the business, proven management of day-to-day operations, and a commensurate investment of money or expertise.
Businesses that have gone through the process to become WBENC-Certified WBEs attest to the value of doing so in order to have access to the wide range of benefits and perks that can raise your company's profile and position you and your firm for success.
Additionally, WBENC is an approved third-party certifier for the Small Business Association's Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program (SBA). Women-owned businesses can apply for WOSB certification through WBENC in addition to WBENC certification. The WOSB certification enables a company to compete for federal contracts in industries where women-owned businesses are underrepresented, helping to level the playing field for female business owners.
Start Your Path to Certification
While the process to become WBENC-Certified is not difficult, it can take some time to gather the first papers. Don't worry, re-certification is a lot easier process and is required every year. Our WBEs commonly inform us that the effort companies put in to becoming certified is well worth it.
In order to become certified as a WBE, a women-owned business must go through a documentation procedure and a site inspection with one of 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) based on the location of the business's headquarters. The nation's 14 RPOs, which are spread out around the country, are WBENC partners and are able to manage WBENC Certification. All business records, including those pertaining to ownership, the financial structure, the workforce, management, and governance, are thoroughly examined as part of the documentation process. Not the owner, but the organization, is certified.
Study the WOSB information guide and WBENC Certification Process before you get started to evaluate if your company qualifies and if certification is right for you and your business. The company must meet the following requirements before it may submit an application for certification:
- At least five percent (51%) of the company is owned by one or more women.
- Evidence that female entrepreneurs run and control businesses
- Unlimited female influence over business decisions and legal documents
- The highest-ranking female employee according to the business's legal records
- Proof of the financial contributions and/or professional expertise of women
- Citizenship or legal standing in the US for any female business owners who own a majority stake in the company.
Once you've decided that your company is eligible (congrats! ), you should start compiling the necessary paperwork. The online application submission process will go more quickly if the necessary materials are prepared in advance.
After that, you'll finish an online application on our protected platform.
Each WBENC-Certified business is evaluated twice after submitting an online application to see if it complies with the criteria and guidelines.
- Close scrutiny of the supporting paperwork
- During the site visit, interview the female business owner.
Your regional partner organization (RPO) can help in this situation. Your application is handled by the RPO, who also organizes the site inspection and ensures that all the paperwork is in place before evaluating it with the Certification Committee. You may locate your RPO here: https://www.wbenc.org/regional-partner-organizations/
One frequent question we get is how long the certification procedure takes. We advise candidates that, if your dossier is declared complete, the RPO's review process normally takes 90 days. You might need to submit more details or reply to any initial questions before all of the documentation is ready for thorough examination. But as soon as you start working on your documents and application, the evaluation process can begin!
There is a non-refundable processing charge for new applications and recertification that is divided into five tiers based on annual gross revenue as reported on federal taxes.
- Under $1 million: $350
- $1M < $5M: $500
- $5M < $10M: $750
- $10M < $50M: $1,000
- $50M+: $1,250
Get in touch with us right away to find out how we can assist qualified entities with registering as WOSBs or EDWOSBs.