Need a squad? Are you a woman-owned business looking to gain greater access to major corporations and government agencies?
Being a certified Woman Owned Business is a tool designed to increase opportunities for women. It’s not a charity program and it is not intended to give women special treatment. It’s designed to help level the playing field and increase visibility with major corporations and government agencies.
Certification can be received through WOSB (Woman Owned Small Business), which is overseen by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and/or through WBENC, The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. In the case of SBC Waste Solutions in Broadview, Illinois, the President, Karen Coley, said her business received both.
Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
To help level the playing field for women businesses owners, the federal government’s goal is to award 5 percent of all prime and subcontracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year. For the second time in the last seven years, women-owned small businesses exceeded the goal by achieving 5.19 percent, or $26.0 billion of eligible contracting dollars in 2019 – the highest amount ever, which could equate to over 134.5K jobs.
These contracts are for specific industries where women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The SBA maintains a list of those eligible industries and their NAICS codes.
Joining the WOSB Federal Contracting Program makes a business eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for the program. Firms can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.
To be eligible for the women’s contracting program, a business must:
- Be a small business
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens
- Have women manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions
Richard Parsons is quoted as saying, “It’s up to you to bring yourself to the attention of powerful people around you. They are not going to find you on their own.” Certification as a Woman Owned Business is a great tool for expanding networking opportunities.
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
WBENC is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. They work to accomplish this by focusing on a CORE platform:
- Certification: WBENC Certification validates that a business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated and managed by a woman or women. This world-class certification standard is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and government entities. Learn more about WBENC Certification.
- Opportunities: WBENC provides best-in-class programming, events and networking opportunities for women-owned businesses, supplier diversity experts, government and corporate procurement professionals, and other industry and thought leaders throughout the U.S.
- Resources: To address the challenges many women face in building and growing a business, WBENC provides support and resources through the full life cycle of entrepreneurship. Their goal is to ensure women business owners have access to the education, support and tools they need to grow and succeed. Learn more about the resources they provide.
- Engagement: WBENC’s theme is Join Forces. Succeed Together. because they know that success is only possible when they partner with their constituents toward a set of common goals. WBENC fosters healthy engagement through advisory councils, ambassador programs, and a robust recognition and awards program. Learn more about engagement programs.
Financing is Available To Help Your Woman-Owned Business
The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government entity that has a wide array of resources for female entrepreneurs. SBA itself does not make these loans. Banks and other direct lenders actually make the loans, and the SBA subsidizes a portion of the loan if the borrower defaults.
These small business loans for women come with a government guarantee, so lenders find them less risky. SBA loans are a great financing option too—with low interest rates (currently below 5%) and long loan terms (up to 25 years).
The SBA microloan program lends small amounts of money—up to $50,000 in capital—for startups and micro businesses. The SBA 7(a) loan program is for general purpose working capital for businesses that are already a few years old. And the SBA 504 loan program provides money for the purchase of commercial real estate or equipment.
SBA loans for women are perhaps the best types of women business loans out there, so it’s worthwhile to see if you qualify.
Other Resources for Your Woman-Owned Business
The Office of Women’s Business Ownership helps women entrepreneurs through programs coordinated by SBA district offices. Programs include business training, counseling, federal contracts, and access to credit and capital.
- The Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Federal Contracting program helps women-owned small businesses compete for federal contracts.
- The National Women’s Business Council is a non-partisan federal advisory council serving as an independent source of advice and counsel to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Council is the government’s only independent voice for women entrepreneurs, tackling important and relevant economic issues.
- Becoming a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) is another tool to add to your marketing kit that helps promote your company to major corporations that are actively seeking to conduct business with a woman/women owned business(es).
More resources for women-owned small business:
- Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC)
- National Association of Women in Construction
- National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB)
- National Association of Women’s Business Owners (NAWBO)
- S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC)
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
- Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
- Women’s Presidents’ Organization (WPO)
Growth Corp is a Non-Profit Created to Help Your Business Succeed
Whether we are fulfilling our critical role as a provider of quality capital to America’s growing businesses, working shoulder-to-shoulder with clients to help them overcome challenges and capitalize on opportunities, or contributing to the communities in which we live and work, our impact has never been greater. We’d love to sit down with you and discuss your challenges and opportunities. Contact any member of our Lending Team to get started.