March 15, 2023

Being a woman in the business world can be challenging due to gender-related biases such as limited access to capital funds and networking opportunities, and gender-based discrimination, making it difficult for them to start and grow a successful business.

Nevertheless, women entrepreneurs have succeeded over these barriers and have shown significant contributions to the world economy. 

It is good to know that there is another way to further help women advance their business. And that is by being certified as a Woman-Owned Business (WOB). The certification is a way to build your company’s credibility and prove your trustworthiness.

Types of Certifications and Eligibility

To be certified, the business must undergo a verification process such as site visits, interviews, and submission of documents to prove that majority of your business is owned and managed by women. There are several types of certifications available for Women-Owned Business (WOB) and they may apply for them simultaneously if they qualify:

  • Women Business Enterprise (WBE) – a designation that is generally accepted by private companies and government agencies.
  • Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) – a designation that is more beneficial for federal programs and must meet a set of requirements as specified by the Small Business Association (SBA).
  • Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) – this is a subcategory of WOSB in which they meet the criteria for being financially challenged.

The eligibility requirements will vary per type, but the minimum certification eligibility requirements are the following: 

  • Majority (at least 51%) ownership by one or more women.
  • Must be a For-Profit company located in the U.S.
  • Owners must be U.S. citizens or legal residents.
  • The highest company title belongs to a woman with technical expertise in the company operation.

Benefits of Being Certified

Becoming certified as a WOB unlocks several benefits and market exposure for women entrepreneurs. You will gain access to a network of like-minded individuals who will provide support and encouragement to your business endeavor, networking programs and seminars designed to help and mentor women to nurture and grow their businesses, access to a diversified list of suppliers, and opportunities to land contracts that are exclusively given only to certified businesses. There are also organizations that offer capital financing to certified WOBs. The certification is definitely a great marketing tool as it gives visibility and makes your business stand out in a crowded market in which you will have to compete against large companies. 

Private companies and some government agencies usually accept the WBE certificates but if your goal is to participate in federal programs as a woman-owned business, then your business will need WOSB or EDWOSB certification. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to small and disadvantaged businesses each year. According to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), they have awarded over $183 million dollars to WOSB in the fiscal year 2020 which is over 8% their total dollars awarded, clearly exceeding SBA’s goal of 5%. And they continue to pursue reaching the 5% goal. This is simply showing an increased opportunity for WOSB and EDWOSB to secure government contracts.

Is the Certification Right for Your Business?

The certification has numerous benefits, but it may not be suitable for all kinds of businesses. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) has pointed out the following items and if you or your business agree to most of these, then the certification may be a good tool for you.

  • Your product/service are targeted at corporations, retail, and/or government agencies.
  • Your business has the capacity to provide quality service and/or products on large contracts.
  • You are willing to share the details of your business including capital investment, tax returns and compensation records.
  • You clearly understand that WBE certification is a marketing tool and DOES NOT entitle or guarantee your company will receive corporate, retail, or government contracts.

Overall, the certification is a valuable tool for women business owners thriving in the business world. You just have to weigh in the potential benefits against the costs and time commitment for the certification process to determine if it is right for your business.

At 1099 Accountant, we recognize the significant contribution of women in the business world and it has always been our pleasure and pride to work and collaborate with intelligent and brilliant women that continue to shape our future for the better.

You may want to consult and work with 1099 Accountant – We offer online bookkeeping, online advisory services and online tax and accounting services. We offer reasonable rates. We only work with independent contractors, freelancers, and one-person business. We work with locum tenens from California to New York City and everywhere in between. Yes, even Hawaii!

Contact us toll-free (855)529-1099 or make an appointment for a free consultation.


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