Reliant Funding celebrates women business owners and while creating our Complete Resource Guide for Women Business Owners, access to government contracts revealed itself as an existing challenge. To ensure that women business owners have equal access to opportunity, we have uncovered how you can certify your business to participate in the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program.
What is the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program?
The Women Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program was developed to provide a “level-playing field” for women business owners. This program calls the government to limit competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the program. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses (WOSB) each year. These contracts are for industries that are underrepresented by women and some are restricted further to support economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB).
Certify your Business to Participate
Before you can participate in the program you must either be self-certified through the certify.SBA.gov website or third-party certified through one of these 4 organizations:
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
- US Women’s Chamber of Commerce
- National Women Business Owners Corporation
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
There are other benefits to certifying your business as women owned as well. Michelle Burchfield, co-founder of Blume Honey Water said, “It’s a grueling process, but we got through it just in time to put the logo on our label. And many companies, such as Target and Starbucks, have initiatives to work with WBENC-certified companies.”
Other Benefits of Certification
Another benefit of certification is access to grants for your business and specialized training and networking opportunities. LaKesha White, Director of Certification for the WBENC responded to a request from us for her own words on the importance of certification. She said, “WBE certification helps to level the playing field for women owned businesses in the marketplace. Getting certified does not guarantee business but provides access to a powerful network that offers a path to countless opportunities.”
After reading this guide, if you need more clarification regarding certification, the NWBC does a great job of explaining what each certification’s requirements are and documentation needed.