Women’s Business Enterprise


Women’s Business Enterprise

The Federal Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification is provided by one of five approved SBA organizations. Obtaining WBE Certification is an important business development strategy for women business owners for two primary reasons:

First, most local and national government purchasing agencies track and/or have programs for doing business with women business owners. Having WBE Certification is the only way the purchasing agents have confidence that a business representing itself as woman-owned is, in fact, woman-owned and controlled. Whereas the WOSB guarantees you 5% of the Federal Set-aside funds it does not give you a Certificate. The WBE Certification on the other hand, gives you that Certificate to show proof you are certified and do business in the private sector.

Second, many publicly-held corporations, as well as larger private corporations, also track and have programs for doing business with women-owned vendor companies. They, too, rely on WBE Certification.

Currently, the 5% federal goal was established in 2000 with the Women’s Equity in Contracting Act that gave the contracting office the ability to restrict competition for women-owned firms that have WBE Certification — up to 5% of all contracts. The intent of this program is to encourage procurement officers to utilize women-owned firms at a higher level in both the number of firms awarded contracts and the dollar amounts awarded to them.

WBE Certification Criteria

  • Woman(en) must own and control at least 51.0% of the business
  • Woman owner must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Woman owner must serve as President or CEO (if both positions exist)
  • Woman owner must have ownership and officer position for at least six months
  • Woman owner must be active in daily management