If you are one of the millions of women entrepreneurs in the United States, there are a number of things that you can do to help your 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 company is to promote it to private corporations and local, state and government agencies that work with women-owned companies.
To do this, you simply 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 that are available, along with the eligibility requirements for each. Also included are some of the 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 will need to complete and submit application, which can be found online.
In order 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 needs to 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, but 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 key 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 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.
In order to qualify for EDWOSB certification, your business just needs to meet the WOSB requirements along with the aforementioned criteria. 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 a multitude of 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 women-owned companies as suppliers, businesses in every industry are helping local communities, and getting tremendous value in return. You can also promote you certification throughout National Women’s Small Business Month, which takes place each year 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 have a positive perception of your business, you have 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. Having a certified woman-owned business can help you land resumes from talented candidates who would enjoy working for a female entrepreneur.
More business funding options.
Obtaining growth capital such as a small business loan or line of credit can be difficult for many women-owned businesses. Thankfully, there are several options available for certified woman-owned businesses. These include government loans and grants, SBA micro loans, and private grants.
When you need to get a loan for your business, look at each option carefully and read the fine print before you submit an application. Things to consider include the interest rate, payback term length, and origination fees. Lastly, if you plan to partially or fully prepay your loan at any time, make sure there are no prepayment penalties.