Through the Women’s Business Enterprise Center-East (WBEC-East) a regional partner of the national WBENC organization, your business can apply for a certification that is accepted by over 700 major corporations, non-profit organizations, as well as many local, state, and Federal government agencies. WBENC certification is an important marketing tool for expanding your company’s visibility among and access to decision makers in supplier diversity and procurement offices. Many corporations require that you be WBENC-certified before providing access to their supplier diversity programs.
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Benefits to Your Business
As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, or WBE, you will be entitled to:
|A WBE certificate that can be used to pursue procurement opportunities posted by corporations and government agencies with supplier diversity programs*|
|List your business profile in WBENCLink, an internet database that is accessed by hundreds of corporations throughout the United States seeking to work with women-owned businesses|
|Have access to a national directory of corporations accepting WBENC certification|
|Use a special WBENC seal on your letterhead, business cards, and other marketing materials|
|Participate in national and local networking events, matchmaker meetings and trade shows with other WBEs and corporate and government buyers|
*What is supplier diversity?
Supplier diversity is a business practice in which corporations and government agencies set goals to work with diverse businesses that may be women-owned, minority-owned, LGBT-owned, veteran-owned, and disability-owned. While it does not guarantee business, it provides you a fair opportunity to compete for procurement contracts. Many corporations and government agencies maintain a supplier diversity office or officer who ensures diverse businesses are being considered for procurement opportunities. To participate, you will be asked to provide a diverse supplier certificate, such as the WBE certificate.
- At least fifty-one percent ownership by a woman or women
- Proof of effective management and control of the business
- Documented evidence of contribution of capital and/or expertise
- U.S. Citizenship or Legal Resident Alien status
- The female owner holds the highest title
- The business is for-profit and operates independently of any other business
WBEC-East maintains a stringent screening process under the guidelines of WBENC’s Standards & Procedures, which ensures that all firms are legitimately owned, managed, and controlled by women. All applicants are encouraged to read WBENC’s Standards & Procedures.
New Applicant Quick Facts
- To begin the application process, complete the WBENC online application.
- Expect the entire new application process to take at least 3-4 months.
- You will need to upload all required supporting documentation along with your application. All documents must be submitted online through our secure encrypted portal. No hard copy documents will be accepted.
- See below for fees to apply. Please note this is a non-refundable processing fee that guarantees a fair review.
- Your certification is valid for a period of 1 year, at which time you must submit a recertification application. Fear not, as recertification is must less arduous than the initial first-year application.
- Onsite visits are conducted with every new application and then generally every three years.
- The certification is valid on a national scale and may be used in any state that you do business.
You may review WBENC’s certification criteria, application instructions and apply online by visiting www.wbenc.org.
The Application Process Timeline
Expect the entire new application process to take at least 3-4 months, depending on the complexity of your business and your response time to questions from staff.
- Phase 1: Documentation & Q&A Period (30-60 days)
After submitting your application, staff will begin reviewing your documentation. You will generally hear back in approximately 2 weeks. Your certification officer will ask clarifying questions and may request additional documentation. The timing of this phase is largely dependent on the complexity of your business and your response time. Whitelist the email firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure you receive any messages from your certification officer.
- Phase 2: Staff and Committee Review (30-60 days)
Once we have received all additional documentation and questions have been answered, your application will go into review by our staff and volunteer committee. You will receive an email stating that your application is complete and the review period has begun. Our committee generally meets twice a month and reviews applications in the order that the previous step was complete. You will receive an email once this review period is complete.
- Phase 3: In-person Site Visit (30 days)
After your application has been reviewed, we will arrange for one of our staff or volunteer site visitors to visit you at your office for a 1-hour meeting. All female owners totaling 51% or more must be present at this meeting. Home offices are acceptable if you do not have a commercial space.
Once all three phases have been complete, you should generally hear back with a final decision in 1-2 weeks.
Please note that this fee does not guarantee certification and will not be refunded should you be denied or choose to withdraw. This fee pays for staff time in processing your application and guarantees a fair review.
The application fee for Certification and Recertification is determined by your company’s annual gross receipts:
|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|
Annual Re-certification Quick Facts
- The WBENC re-certification application and process can be found by clicking here.
- To remain a certified Women Business Enterprise of WBENC, annual recertification is a requirement.
- Your expiration date is 1 year after receiving the certification. Your annual renewal date will never change, regardless of when the recertification is complete.
- You have access to submit your recertification 120 days before you expire. You are encouraged to reapply early!
- A site visit to your business will be conducted every three years as part of the re-certification process.
- Recertification fees are the same as new application fees.
- Businesses who let their certification lapse for 6 months must reapply as a new applicant.
For questions about certification, please contact: