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If you are one of the millions of female entrepreneurs in the United States, there are many things that you can do to help your small business succeed. These include hiring the best employees, providing excellent customer service, launching an on-target marketing campaign, and carefully watching your finances. Another way to grow your business is to promote it to private corporations and local, state, and government agencies that work with women-owned companies.
To do this, you need to get certified as a woman-owned business. If you are wondering how to get certified, please read on. This Balboa Capital blog post has information about the three main types of certification available, along with the eligibility requirements for each. Also included are ways you can benefit from being a certified woman-owned business.
Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the largest organization in the United States that certifies women-owned small businesses in the United States. The WBENC provides Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification for companies that meet minimum eligibility requirements. To get a WBE certification, you must complete and submit an application, which can be found online.
For your business to be eligible, a woman who is a United States citizen or a legal resident must own at least 51% of it. In addition, a woman must hold the highest position at your company. Once your application is submitted, a national review committee will review it. An on-site visit to your business office will also take place. Acquiring WBE certification takes time and effort, but it presents your company with some great benefits.
Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification.
This certification is part of the Small Business Administration’s Federal Contracting Program, which awards a certain percentage of our nation’s federal contracting budget to WOSB-certified businesses. Simply put, this certification enables businesses like yours to pitch and win government contracts so you can increase your revenues and help power the economy.
The SBA approved the WBENC as a third-party certifier for WOSB certification. You can learn more about the certification process on the WBENC website. Still, the main requirements are as follows: Your business must meet the SBA’s definition of a small business, and at least 51% of your business needs to be owned by a woman who is a United States citizen or a legal resident. In addition, women owners need to be the ones who make all the critical decisions for the business.
Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) certification.
EDWOSB certification is an extension of WOSB certification. It was created to help women business owners receive a certification if they are economically disadvantaged. This is described as having a personal net worth of less than $750,000, annual gross revenues of $350,000 or less over the past three years, and personal and business assets that do not exceed $6 million combined.
To qualify for EDWOSB certification, your business needs to meet the WOSB requirements and the criteria mentioned above. Then, you can register on the SBA website. The application requires a DUNS number and an EIN, so make sure you have them readily available.
More business opportunities.
Having a certified woman-owned business opens the door to many new business opportunities in both the private and government sectors. It is an excellent means of creating new business relationships and, potentially, generating more revenue for your company. Some of the largest brands in the country do business with women-owned companies that have achieved certification.
This is a win-win situation for all parties. By selecting woman-owned companies as suppliers, businesses in every industry are helping local communities and getting tremendous value in return. You can also promote your certification throughout National Women’s Small Business Month, which is in October.
In today’s business world, perception is reality. How your small business is perceived in the minds of your intended audience is very important. If your customers, prospects, and vendors positively perceive your business, it has a better chance of succeeding. Becoming a certified woman-owned business adds credibility to your business and can help set it apart in the cluttered marketplace.
This also translates into more credibility among job seekers. Your certified woman-owned business can help you land resumes from talented candidates who enjoy working for you.
More business funding options.
Obtaining growth capital such as a small business loan for women or a line of credit can be difficult for many female entrepreneurs. Thankfully, there are several options available for certified women-owned businesses. These include government loans and grants, SBA microloans, and private grants.
When you need to get a loan for your business, carefully look at each option and read the fine print before applying. For example, consider the interest rate, payback term length, and origination fees. Lastly, if you plan to partially or fully prepay your loan at any time, ensure there are no prepayment penalties.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Small Business Administration, or National Women’s Small Business Month. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.