Supplier Diversity: How to Capitalize on Being a Woman-Owned Business

Many women business owners have heard the term “being certified” – in regards to their business, not their state of mind!  Yes, it does take a little lack of sanity to jump head first into starting a business, but this certification is referring to Women Business Enterprise certification, or more commonly known as WBE certification.  So what is it?

WBE certification is a small business designation for women-owned businesses.  What are the criteria?  The basic answer is the following:

  • Company must be at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned and controlled by one or more women
  • Company’s management and daily operation is controlled by one or more of the women owners.

There’s a bit more involved than these two requirements. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the leading third-party certifier of WBEs.  It administers this certification nationally through fourteen regional partner organizations, one of those being the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC).  The partner organizations are spread throughout the country, and you can see a complete list of locations .

The benefits of becoming WBE certified are numerous.  To name a few:

  • Access to a current list of supplier diversity and procurement executives at hundreds of major corporations
  • Capacity Development
    • Through access to mentoring, education, and capacity development
    • Eligibility to participate in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
    • Workshops and keynotes at WBENC national events.
  • Recognition
    • Becoming a WBE comes with eligibility to receive numerous national and local awards available to certified companies only
  • Community of Support
    • Eligibility to participate in WBENC Blog and Social Media profiles
    • Informal networking at WBENC national events
  • Advocacy
    • Representation of women business issues in key forums
    • Opportunity to participate in surveys so your voice is represented on key issues



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