Tips From The Staff/Board

Alphabet Soup: A Guide to Acronyms and Terms You’ll Want to Know

So many unfamiliar terms, so little time. Let’s fill you in so you know how to better navigate our network and maximize your certification!


WBE (Women’s Business Enterprise) – The certified women-owned businesses.

WOSB (Women Owned Small Business) – Don’t be fooled by the name. This certification is granted by the SBA for those interested in federal contracting. You can apply for WOSB at no additional cost at the time of your WBE certification or recertification application.

Corporate/Government Members – These 325+ organizations pay dues to WBENC in order to have access to the directory and events where they can meet and do business with WBEs. If you’re looking to grow your corporate client base, these are great ones to look into.

Certification Committee – A group of anonymous, highly trained volunteers who review applications and conduct in-person site visits for applicants. These are all WBEs or employees of a corporate/gov’t member. They meet generally twice a month and review applications in a first-come order.

The Network

WBENC (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council) – The national organization that oversees all certifications in all states. There are over 15,000 certified businesses through WBENC!

RPO (Regional Partner Organization) – The 14 different territories that comprise the national WBENC network. Having local networks and offices all over the country help us serve you better. You’ll be assigned an RPO based on your headquarters when you apply, but you can be active in any RPO that you do business.

WBEC-East (Women’s Business Enterprise Center East) – Your local RPO serving Pennsylvania, Delaware and the 8 southern counties of New Jersey.

Events & Networking

NCBF (National Conference & Business Fair) – One of two national WBENC events, this event usually welcomes around 5,000 business owners, buyers, and supplier diversity partners for networking, learning, and the popular expo day. Usually occurs in June.

Summit & Salute – The other national WBENC event that brings in about 2,000 attendees for networking, pitching, and learning, but does not have the expo day like at NCBF. Usually occurs in March.

Matchmakers – A networking style where the corporate/gov’t representatives have control. In this style you create a profile for your business, and the corporates schedule meetings with you to discuss business.

Meet & Greets – A networking style where the business owners have control. In this style corporate/gov’t representatives are generally at marked tables and WBEs participate in “speed-dating” networking where you choose a new table every few minutes to pitch to the corporate of your choosing.

Envoy – Envoys serve as the welcome wagon and ensure our network thrives. WBEs may be invited to become an envoy after being particularly involved in events and committees for at least 3 years. If you’re new to WBEC-East, find an envoy at your next event!


Next up:

Checklist: The 9 Things to Do Your First Year Certified

4 Questions I Always Get About Recertification