Business Certification to Improve Prospects for Women Entrepreneurs

Women have made much progress in the workplace. Only a few decades ago it was common for women to stay at home to raise children and be keepers of the home. Things have changed, but these changes have not come without issues. Women regularly face difficulties in the workplace, especially women entrepreneurs. They seek for ways to increase their visibility in the job market, and getting certified as a women-owned business is one way to do so. This certification allows for women to receive more business opportunities in several ways. One way is that many government agencies on all levels have programs that reserve a percentage of business that must go to women-owned businesses. A certification would allow for a clear designation as a women-owned business which is required. Some certifying organizations also allow their members to attend networking events and educational programs. Another huge advantage of being a part of the certifying organization is that companies and government agencies send their requests for proposals to these organizations that in turn disseminate this information to their members. This allows for an easy way for women to be informed of potential business opportunities.

Certification provides a clear advantage to those who are eligible. The basic criteria to receive certification is usually that a woman must control at least 51 percent of the business, hold the highest position at the company while being employed full-time, and be responsible for the daily operations of the company. Other requirements could be necessary depending on the certifying organization. Many certifying organizations exist that include state and local agencies as well as private organizations such as the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Many certifications can be obtained. However, most desire one of four types of certifications. One is the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification provided by the Small Business Administration for those desiring federal contracts. There’s the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certification geared towards several disadvantaged groups and is for receiving contracts through the U.S. Department of Transportation. Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) also provides certification that is accepted by over 1,000 companies as well as many government agencies. The National Woman Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC) certifies as well as mentors and trains women entrepreneurs. The road for women entrepreneurs can be a long and hard one. Certification as a women-owned business is providing women advantages among the various disadvantages many experience.

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