The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is one of four organisations authorised by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to offer Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification as part of the SBA's Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting programme, making it not only the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the United States.
In especially in sectors where WOSBs are underrepresented, the federal government sets an annual aim of awarding at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to certified WOSBs. Your company will be qualified to compete for federal contracts designated for this programme if you become a certified WOSB and enrol in the SBA's contracting programme.
The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. Founded in 1997, WBENC is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote women's business development and provide opportunities for corporate and government procurement. The WBENC certification is a rigorous process that verifies the company's ownership, control, and management by women, and opens doors to new business opportunities.
Your business must be at least 51 percent, unconditionally and directly, owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens in order to qualify for WOSB certification.
- Meet the SBA's size requirements for "small" businesses in its principal industry. To check your industry, use the Size Standards Tool from the SBA.
- Assign women to oversee daily operations and long-term choices
What Advantages Are There?
Your company's ability to compete for federal contracts against a smaller group of similarly qualified WOSBs increases with certification as a WOSB and participation in the SBA's WOSB contracting programme.
These contracts are for fields where there aren't many WOSBs. Observe the SBA's list of permitted industries and their NAICS codes.
Being WBENC-certified is necessary for women-owned businesses for several reasons. The certification offers numerous benefits that help businesses grow, develop, and succeed. Here are some reasons why being WBENC-certified is essential:
Access to New Business OpportunitiesWBENC certification provides access to new business opportunities through partnerships with corporate and government agencies. Many companies have supplier diversity programs that require a certain percentage of their contracts to be awarded to women-owned businesses. Being WBENC-certified gives companies a competitive edge in securing contracts with these organizations.
Increased VisibilityWBENC-certified companies are listed in the WBENC national database, which is accessible to corporate and government procurement professionals. This database is a valuable resource for businesses seeking new customers and partners. Additionally, WBENC-certified companies can use the WBENC logo on their marketing materials, websites, and social media platforms, which increases their visibility and credibility.
Networking OpportunitiesWBENC-certified businesses have access to networking opportunities with other certified companies, corporate representatives, and government agencies. WBENC hosts regional and national conferences, matchmaking events, and training sessions that provide opportunities for businesses to connect and build relationships. Networking is essential for any business, and the WBENC community offers a supportive environment for women-owned businesses to thrive.
Educational ResourcesWBENC offers educational resources, such as webinars, workshops, and mentoring programs, that help businesses improve their operations, increase efficiency, and stay up-to-date with industry trends. These resources are especially valuable for small businesses that may not have access to the same resources as larger companies.
Brand RecognitionThe WBENC certification is a highly respected designation that demonstrates a company's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and women's empowerment. Being WBENC-certified can enhance a company's brand recognition and reputation, and attract customers and partners who value these principles.
Support from the WBENC CommunityThe WBENC community offers support and resources for businesses at all stages of development. WBENC-certified businesses can connect with mentors, access funding opportunities, and receive guidance on business strategies and operations. The WBENC community is a valuable resource for businesses seeking to grow and succeed.
The WBENC certification process is rigorous and requires a significant investment of time and resources. To be eligible for certification, a company must be at least 51% owned, controlled, and operated by women who are U.S. citizens or legal residents. The company must also demonstrate that women hold the highest executive positions and are actively involved in day-to-day management.
The certification process includes an in-depth review of the company's financial and operational documents, as well as a site visit by a WBENC representative. The certification is valid for three years, after which the company must undergo a recertification process to maintain its status.
If your company is currently a WBENC-certified women's business enterprise (WBE), you may easily and at no extra cost apply for WOSB certification as part of the recertification process.
Please check the certification requirements before beginning the application process to make sure you satisfy the SBA's size requirements for your sector. Select "Yes" to the WOSB certification question when recertifying, and then upload the files marked "WOSB Applicants."
If your company is a women-owned one and you are not yet WBENC certified, take a time to read about the advantages of certification to determine if it is right for you. More than 1,000 corporations representing some of America's most prominent brands embrace the world-class certification standard set by WBENC, the country's leading certifier of women-owned businesses. You can apply for WOSB certification at the same time as WBENC certification if you so want.
In order to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting programme after receiving your WOSB certification, you must still take extra procedures, which include submitting information proving your qualification through certify.SBA.gov
- How does WBENC differ from my local/regional affiliate and what does it mean?
In the United States and U.S. territories, the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, also known as WBENC (pronounced WE-BANK), is the foremost authority on and certification body for WBEs. In addition to having 14 Regional Partner Organisations (RPOs) across the country, WBENC has its headquarters in Washington, DC.
To preserve the integrity of the WBENC Certification programme, each RPO processes certification applications on behalf of WBENC and follows strict Standards and Procedures.
- Are there any specifications regarding the size or duration of a company's operations for certification?
No. There are no minimum requirements for business size or tenure in order to qualify for or receive WBENC Certification.
- What is the fee for certification?
The non-refundable processing fee for new applications and recertification is based on annual gross revenue as reported on Federal Taxes and is divided into five tiers.
- Under $1 million: $350
- $1 million – $5 million: $500
- $5 million – $10 million: $750
- $10 million – $50 million: $1,000
- $50 million: $1,250
- How long does it take to process a certification?
The average processing period is 90 days from the moment the Regional Partner Organisation deems the application complete.
- Can a woman and a man jointly own the business?
Yes, a woman and a man can jointly own a business, but only if the woman holds at least 51% of the company's shares and can show that her management and control of the business, her contribution of capital and/or expertise, and her assumption of all profits and risks are proportionate to her ownership percentage. The company's governance documents stipulate that a woman must hold the highest position.
In conclusion, WBENC certification is necessary for women-owned businesses that want to grow, develop, and succeed. The certification provides access to new business opportunities, increases visibility, offers networking opportunities, provides educational resources, enhances brand recognition, and offers support from the WBENC community. WBENC certification is a highly respected designation that demonstrates a company's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and women's empowerment. While the certification process is rigorous, the benefits of being WBENC-certified are well worth the investment.