Did you know that being certified as a women-owned business can provide a wide range of benefits? From increased visibility and networking opportunities to exclusive government initiatives and programs, being recognized as a majority female-owned business can help you stand out from the competition.
Women-owned companies are a growing force in the business world, and achieving WBE or WOSB certifications can open doors to various opportunities and advantages. In this article, we will explore the benefits of women-owned businesses and how they can contribute to an organization’s overall success.
What is a WBE?
WBEs, or Women-Owned Businesses Enterprises, is a state-level certification for companies that women own, manage, and operate at least 51%. The business must be for-profit, located in the United States, and owned by women who are U.S. Citizens or legal residents. Additionally, when applicable, the company’s governing board must be controlled by a woman or a group of women, and the top executive officer must be a woman as well.
WBE vs. WOSB
WOSBs, or Women-Owned Small Businesses are similar to WBE in their requirements. The most significant difference is that WBE certifications are at a state level, while WOSB certifications are on a federal level. This certification is great for women-owned businesses that are interested in federal contracting programs.
When a business is certified as a WOSB, it gains exclusive access to contracts and funding opportunities for women-owned businesses. Additionally, before businesses can apply for their WOSB certification, they must be registered as a contractor with SAM (System for Award Management).
Women-Owned Business Benefits
Achieving certification as a female-owned business can open up doors to various programs, opportunities, and advantages. Overall, these businesses give a wealth of benefits to society, from promoting diversity and empowerment to fueling economic growth. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of women-owned businesses.
1. Government initiatives and programs to support women-owned businesses
Along with the federal government, many local and state governments have initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in business. This can lead to more opportunities for women-owned businesses, such as government contracts, supplier diversity programs, and grants specifically targeted at women entrepreneurs.
2. Increased visibility to compete with larger organizations
Getting certified as a WOSB and/or WBE will greatly increase your company’s visibility so you can better compete with larger organizations. Being a women-owned business can be a valuable marketing tool. It empowers you to set your organization apart from competitors and appeal to customers who prioritize supporting female-owned businesses as part of their purchasing decisions.
3. Networking and educational opportunities
Various women-owned business organizations and groups can provide access to networking events, conferences, and matchmaking sessions specifically designed for women, allowing you to connect with potential clients and partners. Many of these programs also include other business development resources to help women-owned businesses grow and succeed, including training, mentoring, and access to capital.
4. Access to women-owned business grants and loans
Many government agencies and private sector companies have set aside contracts for female-owned businesses. Certification can help you qualify for these contracts and expand your market reach.
5. Mentoring and support for women entrepreneurs
There are numerous women’s business organizations and networking groups that can provide support, mentorship, and connections. These networks can be valuable for learning, growth, and collaboration.
Other certifications for women-owned businesses
While WOSB and WBE certification is the biggest contracting advantage for a woman-owned business, there are other certifications that you may qualify for based on a variety of factors. These certifications all provide access to a range of benefits and opportunities, including access to government contracts and corporate supplier diversity programs, grants, networking, and educational opportunities, as well as additional access to capital and financial assistance.
Here are some of the primary certifications that women-owned businesses can pursue:
- WBENC Certification: This certification comes from WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council), a prominent organization in the United States that is dedicated to supporting and promoting women-owned businesses. WBENC is a leading advocate for women entrepreneurs and provides certification, business supplier opportunities (primarily with corporations), and resources to help women-owned businesses thrive.
- EDWOSB Certification: EDWOSB (Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business) is a certification also offered through the U.S. Small Business Administration. To qualify, a business must meet certain financial criteria in addition to the ownership, control, and operation requirements.
- NWBOC Certification: NWBOC (National Women Business Owners Corporation) is a national certification program for women-owned businesses (WBEs), minority-owned businesses (MBEs), and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB). NWBOC is an approved Third Party Certifier by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
- USWCC Certifications: The US Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) is a national organization that advocates for and supports female-owned businesses. National Women’s Business Enterprise (NWBE) is for women-owned businesses that are seeking supplier opportunities with large corporations, B2B companies, and supply chains.
- USWCC International Certification: The USWCC offers two certifications for women-owned businesses. Along with a National certification, they also offer an International Women’s Business Enterprise (IWBE) for women-owned businesses that are seeking to expand into global markets.
Boost revenue with government contracts
The benefits of being a certified woman-owned business are not only significant but also far-reaching. Women entrepreneurs bring a unique perspective, resilience, and innovative spirit to the business world. As we’ve explored in this article, these advantages encompass increased access to funding opportunities, improved diversity and inclusion, enhanced brand reputation, and a positive impact on the economy.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed navigating both state and federal government certification processes alone, let FAMR help. FAMR can help make things easy and take care of everything to maximize your benefits from these certification programs. If you’re interested in learning more or getting started, call our team or reach out to us today!