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WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise: What The Certification Is and Why Your Woman-Owned Business Needs It

If your business is 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women, it’s time to consider pursuing your WBENC Certification.

When a company boasts the WBENC Certification (referred to as “We-bank”), or Women Business Enterprise National Council, the company has completed the formal documentation and a site visit process that certifies that the business is in fact woman-owned. With the WBENC Certification in hand, it can now compete for contracts with large, well-known corporations, and government agencies.


Why Become WBENC-Certified?

In 1994, President Clinton set a goal that five percent of government contracts should go to women-owned businesses. By 2012, just four percent of government contracts had been awarded to women-owned businesses.

The government and large corporations are the largest buyers of goods and services, awarding contracts that boast consistent, reliable sources of income.

In order to land these contracts, however, businesses have to be certified. While large companies and the federal government want to integrate these businesses into their supply chain, they have to be sure that these businesses are in fact owned and operated by women.

Let’s examine the benefits further.

WBENC Certification Benefits


Becoming a WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE), provides a business with access to a list of procurement decision-makers at hundreds of U.S. corporations and federal, state, and local government entities.

Capacity Development

WBENC-Certified WBE’s have access to mentoring and education opportunities, such as scholarships, workshops, webinars, and other valuable content.


WBENC-Certified WBE’s are eligible for regional and national recognition, through awards that affirm the value of the product or service they provide, in the eyes of their customers and prospects, while also validating their business’s impact.


Use of the WBENC seal on marketing materials.

Community of Support

The WBENC community includes opportunities to network with, and support, other WBENC companies through social media and in-person events and gatherings.


WBENC produces white papers and conducts research on topics of relevance to WBE leaders, ensuring representation of women business issues in key forums.

Intrigued? It’s important to verify that your business meets the certification criteria before moving forward.

Certification Criteria

The certification criteria are straightforward. It includes:


The applicant company must be 51 percent owned or controlled, by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents. If the business is publicly-owned, 51percent or more of the equity must be held by women who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents.


Management and daily operation must be controlled by one or more of the women.


The applicant’s business will undergo a review that includes a thorough review of the documentation provided and a site visit interview with the female owner(s).

It’s clear why a woman-owned business would pursue this certification. However, what’s in it for the partnering company?

Benefits of Partnering with a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise

Businesses choose to partner with WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise for a variety of reasons, including:

Tax Incentives

The federal government affords tax incentives to companies who conduct business with women-owned businesses. Some states even offer tax incentives.

Diversify Suppliers

Partnering with a WBENC-Certified business provides you with access to multiple channels for goods and services, and opportunities for value-added downstream relationships and alliances.

Promote Innovation and Creativity

Some WBENC-Certified businesses are small, necessitating innovation and creativity, in order to maintain a competitive edge. Small companies are typically more agile partners than large, bureaucratic suppliers.

Demonstrate Interest in Working in Diverse Markets

Working with a women-owned business shows your company’s commitment to working in diverse markets and furthering economic growth in local communities.

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) seeks to “foster diversity in the world of commerce. Diversity promotes innovation, opens new channels of revenue and creates partnerships which provide opportunities that fuel the economy.”

Visit WBENC.org to learn more about the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Visit SBA.gov to learn more about Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB).

Anne Shoemaker
  • Strategy and Consulting

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