Getting Certified as a Women Business Enterprise

Happy Business Woman

Many public corporations and government agencies earmark a percentage of business for WBEs (Women Business Enterprises). Getting WBE certification is a hassle—think lots and lots of paperwork and tax forms—but it could win you a lucrative contract. Here's how:

U.S. citizen with at least 51% ownership and control of your company. Ideally, you've also been operating for more than six months.

Where to Go
Find out the certification requirements of the entity you want to win business from—they vary. Some government agencies like the DOT or the EPA offer their own certification. For state certification, start with this SBA directory

For local, check with your local government. The WBENC and NWBOC offer private, third-party certification accepted by hundreds of corporations and many federal, state, and local government agencies. 

What to Expect
4-6 weeks to review your application, plus an in-person interview and visit to your business. 

Once You're Certified
Get on mailing lists of local, state, and/or national certification agencies like EBENC and NWBOC. That's how upcoming projects are often announced. Mention your WBE status on your website and marketing materials too. And, don’t forget to renew each year (or else go through the entire application process again!)

Women on top. How could a WBE certification help your business?

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