Mary Wasik, partner and Vice-Chair of the Corporate Practice Group at Levenfeld Pearlstein, wrote an article that was recently published in NAWBO Focus. In the article, "Should You Be Certified as a Woman-Owned Business?," Mary mentions how sometimes a key to differentiating your business from that of a competitor is representing that you are certified as a woman-owned business. Although the certification process can seem complicated, it can open doors to additional opportunities in both the public and private sectors.
From the article:
Who do you want to do business with?
Federal, state and local governments often have certification processes available to companies that want to do business in the public sector. Such agencies include the Small Business Administration (SBA) and various state and city governments. The SBA also has an Office of Women's Business Ownership.
If your preference is to do business in the private sector, then you will want to apply to private organizations like the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). WBENC and their regional affiliates throughout the United States not only certify women-owned businesses, but also provide training, networking and development resources.
How must your business be owned and operated to be certified?
To be certified as a woman-owned business, 51 percent or more of the ownership interests of the business must be owned and controlled by one or more women. In addition to ownership, day-to-day operational and managerial control must also reside with one or more women. This also means the board of directors or managers must be predominately female. Finally, the women owners must have an overall understanding of the business and the managerial and technical competence necessary to run the business. As a company grows, it is not unusual for a number of individuals to be delegated the authority to make day-to-day operating decisions, however, the ultimate decision maker must remain a woman.