Beginner’s Guide to Earning Your Women’s Business Enterprise Certificate


Are you a woman business owner?

If so, Supplier Connection’s corporate and large organizational buyers are actively seeking you!*

Supplier Connection’s buying members believe supplier diversity promotes innovation and competition, generates economic and job growth, encourages customer loyalty, and creates new consumer markets.

As part of their process to add you to their supply chains, many corporate and large organizational buyers require that firms certify their diversity status.

What is certification

Certification is the formal process of authenticating that a business is owned, managed, and controlled by a qualifying diversity group — like women.

Supplier Connection allows registered suppliers to indicate up to 14 different diversity statuses and upload the applicable certification documents.

How to certify

To become certified as woman owned, a business must be 51 percent owned, controlled, and operated by one or more women.

Although a number of third-party certifiers of women’s business entities operate in the United States, the largest is the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

WBENC is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit that certifies women owned businesses in all fifty states, with the help of its 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs).

To achieve a WBENC certification, a woman owned business must first submit an application.

The application consists of a questionnaire, required documentation (including financials), and a notarized sworn affidavit.

Once a completed application is submitted, a review committee from the applicable WBENC RPO evaluates it to determine if it meets all of the eligibility requirements.

The RPO also conducts a predetermined on-site visit to the business to interview the female owner(s).

Following the site visit, the same RPO review committee makes a final eligibility determination.

The entire process — following the receipt of all required documentation — generally takes about 90 days.

The certification is valid for one year from the date of issue.

Other benefits of certification

WBENC also offers networking opportunities to certified firms. One of WBENC’s most prominent events is its annual diversity conference.

The 2017 WBENC National Conference and Business Fair is being held June 20-22 in Las Vegas, and Supplier Connection will be well represented.

The following Supplier Connection member companies are expected to attend: IBM, UPS, AT&T, Citi, Pfizer, Caterpillar, Dell, Kellogg Company, Office Depot, John Deere, JPMorgan Chase, Facebook, Merck, DuPont, Cummins Inc., ManpowerGroup, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Pitney Bowes, Sanofi, The Coca-Cola Company, and Nestle.

Other certifying entities

Although WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of women’s business entities in the United States, it is not the only one. Supplier Connection also accepts third-party certification from:

El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
National Women Business Owners Corporation
US Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Now that you’re certified and your certification is uploaded to your Supplier Connection profile, start searching for procurement opportunities.

Our buyers are looking for you!

* They’re looking for other diverse suppliers too, including firms owned by minorities, veterans, service-disabled veterans, and LGBT individuals.