The Basics Starting Your WBENC Application Now That Your Company is Certified How To Check The Status of Certification Recertification

The Basics

What does it mean to be “a WBENC-certified WBE”?

A WBENC certified WBE is a business that has gone through a rigorous and stringent certification process to confirm the business is owned, managed, and controlled by a woman or women. WBENC certified WBEs use their certification credentials to gain access to WBENC Corporate Members, as well as a number of federal, state, and local government agencies. In addition, WBENC certified WBEs also gain access to over 14,000 other WBENC certified WBEs in order to purchase products or services and to partner on joint venture opportunities. NOTE: The business is certified, not the individual.

 

How does WBENC certification differ from other certification programs?

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, commonly referred to as WBENC, is the leading authority on and certifying organization for women’s business enterprises (WBEs) in the U.S. and U.S. territories. WBENC provides a national standard of certification to women owned businesses through its 14 Regional Partnership Organizations and provides purchasing managers with access to over 14,000 WBENC-Certified WBEs through WBENCLink2.0, WBENC’s online database profiling WBENC certified WBEs.

What is a WBE?

A Women’s Business Enterprise, commonly referred to as a WBE, is an independent business company that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or Legal Resident Aliens; whose business formation and principal place of business are in the U.S. or its territories; and whose management and daily operation are controlled by a woman with industry expertise. NOTE: A WBE is the business, not the individual.

 

What territory does WBEC-East cover?

WBEC-East is the WBENC Regional Partnership Organization (RPO) processing WBENC certification applications for businesses located in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Southern New Jersey.

 

What counties in New Jersey are included in your RPOs territory?

The counties included in WBEC-East’s territory are Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, and Salem.

 

How am I assured of the confidentiality of my documents once I submit them?

Security of the WBENCLink2.0 system and your information is top priority. All submitted documents are treated with the utmost confidentiality. The WBENC Sworn Affidavit details WBENC’s commitment to confidentiality of your application materials. Once the application is submitted, RPO staff can view the application during their review only if they explicitly have the required level of user access. All actions to access, view, update and comment on your application are logged for auditing purposes. During the Certification Committee meetings, the file is reviewed by the Committee. Any Committee member in a competitive industry does not have access to the file, nor are they present during any discussion of your application. Additionally, staff and Committee members sign Confidentiality Disclosure statements agreeing to keep all information confidential and proprietary with the understanding that any disclosure could cause harm to the applicant. WBENC and the RPO take your privacy and the confidentiality of your information very seriously.

 

What is the difference between WBENC certification and my state’s certification?

A state certification, in most cases, is only good for doing business with that state’s government agencies. WBENC certification is primarily for companies that are targeting major corporations; however, WBENC certification is also recognized by some federal and local governments.

The following State and City Agencies in our region accept WBENC Certification in lieu
of going through a separate process:

• City of Philadelphia Office of Economic Opportunity: http://oeo.phila.gov

• Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Bureau of Minority & Women Business Opportunities: http://www.dgs.state.pa.us

• State of Delaware Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprise: http://gss.omb.delaware.gov/omwbe/

 

Starting Your WBENC Application

 

Are there size or length-of-time in business requirements for certifiable companies?

No. There are no size or length-of-time in business requirements to apply for or obtain WBENC certification.

 

Can a woman and a man own the company jointly?

A woman and a man can own the company jointly; however, the woman (or women) must
be the majority owner (at least 51% ownership) and must demonstrate that her management
and control of the company, her contribution of capital and/or expertise, and her assumption of all profits and risks are commensurate with her ownership percentage. A woman must also hold the highest office as outlined in the company’s governance documentation.

 

What is the processing fee for certification?

The processing fee is based on annual gross revenue as reported on Federal Taxes and is divided into five (5) tiers. Please identify which range your company’s revenues fall within to identify the required fee.

Under 1 Million $350
1 Million to 5 Million $500
5 Million to 10 Million $750
10 Million to 50 Million $1,000
50 Million and above $1,250

 

Is the processing fee reimbursed if I am not certified?

Once documents have been received, the fee is non-refundable. The “non-refundable policy” applies to all submitted applications, regardless of whether approved or denied, as well as applications that were not completed or withdrawn prior to final determination.

 

What is the processing time for certification?

Once an application is submitted and received by our office, the applicant will be notified within 15 business days if we need any additional information to complete their WBENC and WOSB applications. Once all requested documentation is received and an application is deemed complete, the timeline for the process is generally 90 days and includes a review by our Certification Committee and an on-site visit.

 

What is the Certification Committee?

The certification committee is a committee comprised of volunteers (corporate, government and business owner representatives) who render recommendations for certification or denial to the RPO Executive Director/President.

 

How do you define a company’s headquarters? Can this be a home office?

The business location where individuals who manage the business’s day-to-day operations spend most working hours and where top management business records are kept. This can be a residential or commercial property.

 

What is an on-site visit and are all applicants required to have one?

A site visit is a visit to the applicant’s physical place(s) of business for the verification of information submitted in the affidavit and accompanying documentation. An on-site visit is mandatory with each initial application and must be performed every three years thereafter as part of the recertification process (or more frequently at the Certification Committee’s discretion). The on-site visit will be conducted at the location identified as the company’s Headquarters on application. The site visit will be conducted with the woman (or women) holding at least 51% of the certifying company. NOTE: All site visits are scheduled with the owner in advance.

 

Why do I have to supply my company’s financial information?

Financial documents, such as the Profit & Loss Statement, provide evidence that the applicant is conducting the business as described in the application. Documents such as the Balance Sheet and tax returns are used collectively to verify the ownership, management, and control by the women owners. Please note that the certification process does not evaluate the company’s profitability or financial viability.

 

My business is less than 3 years old, what financial information should I supply?

For businesses less than three years old, you may substitute personal federal income tax returns for the appropriate number of years with all schedules and statements attached. When submitting personal tax returns, you may black out all social security numbers and all dependent names. If personal tax returns are being submitted, personal tax returns must be submitted by any individual that owns 10% or more of the company.
For a new business that has been in operation for less than one year, submit an opening balance sheet and a profit and loss statement from the time the business started through present.

 

If paying by check, to whom do I make check payable?

WBEC-East, 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 1116, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Attn: Stephanie Reid

 

What documents are considered as acceptable proof of gender and citizenship?

Acceptable documents include a birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers, or Permanent Legal Resident Alien Card (green card).

 

What if I do not have a document that is mandatory?

Submit a letter, along with the other required documentation, stating which documents do not apply and why. NOTE: There is a difference between a document that does not apply and a document that has not been created. If it can be created, it should be.

 

I did not submit my application within the 90 days allowed, what do I do?

If you are applying for certification for the first time, or you are submitting a recertification application within 90 days of your expiration date, you will have to restart an application.
For security reasons, the system purges all application data for applications not submitted within 90 days. Please note, you are able to extend the date of deletion by clicking “Extend” next to the Deletion Date on the main page of your application. If you experience difficulty, please contact mkelly@wbeceast.com

Please note, you will be unable to submit a recertification application 90 days past your expiration date. If your certification lapses, you will need to submit a “New” application for certification.

 

I submitted my application by mistake, what do I do?

You should contact Meaghan Kelly, Certification Coordinator at mkelly@wbeceast.com. She will be able to reset your application to a pending status.

 

Who will see the paperwork and documents I submit?

RPO staff members assigned to your application as well as WBEC-East’s Certification Committee.  The members of the Certification Review Committee have been trained WBENC’s Standards & Procedures. Upon signing a Confidentiality Agreement, Committee members review the information and make recommendations regarding the certifiability of each applicant. Committee member names are not disclosed to the public, and they are required to recuse themselves if they have knowledge of a given applicant, whether as a supplier, customer, or competitor.

 

Now That Your Company is Certified

How long is a company’s certification valid?

The certification lasts for one year from the date of issue. WBEs that wish to remain certified must recertify each year. However, WBEs are encouraged to begin the recertification process at least 90 days prior to the expiration date to avoid a lapse in certification.

 

How do I download my company’s certificate?

Log into your WBENCLink.org account. From the left menu, select “View” and select “My Certifications.” In the Current Certifications box, select “View” next to the certification you would like to view. At the top of the page, select “View Letters and Certificates” and click “View” next to the WBE/WOSB certificate. NOTE: A company must have a current status of “Certified” in order to print a certificate.

 

Now that I am certified, how can I get corporations to do business with me?

WBENC certification does not guarantee immediate business. WBENC and WBEC-East host educational programs and networking events focused on procurement opportunities both on a Regional and National level. Through these events, WBEC-East provides WBEs with access to supplier diversity programs and procurement officers throughout the region. Every event, program and tool WBEC-East provides certified WBEs has the purpose of increasing business done between WBEC-East members. People do business with people they know, so WBEC-East encourages its members to get involved in Council activities, committees, events and programs.

 

Is my certification transferable if I sell my business to another woman?

No, certification is not transferable. Certification is based on the representation of the business by the owner who applies for and successfully completes the full certification process.

 

How do I get the WBENC logo?

Log in to your WBENCLink profile at www.wbenclink.org. Select “Media and Brand Guidelines” under the Certification Center on your homepage dashboard.

 

How To Check The Status of Certification

Who do I call to check the status of my certification?

The owner and the person listed as the Company contact will receive automated e-mails informing them when each step of the process has been completed. Additionally, you can contact the RPO staff member assigned to your application.

 

For New Applicants

Meaghan Kelly, Certification Coordinator
mkelly@wbeceast.com
215-790-9234

For Recertification Applicants

Elizabeth Krumine, Certification Coordinator
ekrumine@wbeceast.com
215-790-5070

Jamie Anewalt, Certification Coordinator
janewalt@wbeceast.com
412-935-2545

For Site Visit Scheduling

Ashana DeSilva, Certification Coordinator
adesilva@wbeceast.com
215-790-5014

Colleen LaCoss, Education and Outreach Manager
clacoss@wbeceast.com
215-305-8780

 

Recertification

How do I recertify my business and will my company have to re-submit all of the same documentation?

The recertification process is much simpler, and all the initial documents are not required. However, WBENC requests a renewed Sworn Affidavit, WBENCLink2.0 User Agreement, updated financial information, board meeting minutes (if applicable) and any supporting documents to support changes that may have occurred in either ownership or management of the business. You can access further instructions for Recertification here: http://www.wbenc.org/wbenc-recertification-process/.

 

Is there a processing fee for recertification?

Yes, the processing fee for recertification uses the same fee schedule as for certification. Please consult fee chart above.

 

Is recertification automatic?

Recertification is not automatic. The owner is sent a courtesy reminder 120 days prior to the expiration date of the company’s certification. The reminder email will be sent to the primary owner’s email address on file, and will be generated from the WBENCLink2.0 system. However, WBENC does not guarantee receipt of the reminder e-mail and recommends the WBE marks its calendar as a reminder to begin the process at least 90 days prior to its expiration date.

 

For Recertification Applicants

Elizabeth Krumine, Certification Coordinator
ekrumine@wbeceast.com
215-790-5070

Jamie Anewalt, Certification Coordinator
janewalt@wbeceast.com
412-935-2545