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How to Obtain Certification for Your Women-Owned Business

More than 12 million firms in the United States are currently owned by women, collectively employing over 10 million people and generating an impressive $2.1 trillion in sales each year.

For female business owners seeking innovative strategies to foster growth, obtaining certification as a women-owned business from the SBA may be a powerful avenue. Beyond the intrinsic pride in this recognition, the certification may open doors to increased market visibility, expanded networking opportunities, and the potential for new sales possibilities.

What Qualifies as a Woman-Owned Business?

Because of their minority status, special opportunities and assistance are available for women-owned businesses. To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the women’s contracting program. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal government’s goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.

To be eligible for the women’s contracting program, your business must:

Advantages of Women-Owned Business Certification

There are multiple advantages and opportunities for women-owned business certification including:

WBE Certification

WBE certification is necessary if you wish to participate in programs that require tracking the amount of business done with women-owned enterprises. Most local, state, and federal government purchasing agencies have programs for woman-owned businesses. Here are 4 major ways to get awarded this certification:

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) designation.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification, or DBE, is a federal designation performed by the state and applies to contracts through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) offers certification accepted by many corporations and government entities.

Several state and local agencies offer certification.

How to Get Certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business

Getting certified as a woman-owned business takes time and patience. The first step you should take is to get organized. There is a comprehensive list of documents needed for an application, including financial structure, personnel, management information, and business debts. It’s a good strategy to have help when you start to pull financial information together. You can look to your bookkeeper, accountant, or another financial professional to assist.

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