Last month, a New York blog article discussed some of the issues associated with the various minority and women-owned businesses certifications. The article, which focuses on Jessica Johnson, a woman business-owner who was frustrated by some aspects of certification, should not be seen as representative of all companies’ certification experiences.
The Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO), a Regional Partner Organization, provides WBENC certification which is the most widely recognized and accepted third-party women-owned business certification in the United States. Over 10,000 women-owned enterprises currently have WBENC certification. WPEO has provided over 1,400 of these certifications and has a renewal rate of 93 percent, demonstrating its worth and efficacy.
WBENC certification ensures that a business is not only majority women-owned but that it is also majority women operated and controlled in all facets of the company such as financial, legal, and operational. A standardized process for all applicants requires one site visit (the blog article’s contact suggests that multiple visits are required for initial certification) and paperwork including tax returns and business licenses. There is no minimum number of years in business, as another of the article’s contacts suggests, and initial certification costs only $500.
The rigorous certification guidelines are such because they offer legitimacy and significance. Accepted by over 1,000 major corporations, WBENC certification is certainly a considerable advantage for any qualifying women-owned business.