Certification

Creating Opportunities for Women in Business

The Destination Success Event.

Congratulations on being a woman business owner, one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy. We at the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) understand that while owning your own business is an empowering and fulfilling experience, it is not without its challenges. Women business owners face unique hurdles, especially in procuring corporate and government contracts, areas in which women-owned businesses have historically been underrepresented.

Women's Business Enterprise National Council

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)  and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification works to break down these barriers and help women-owned businesses become vendors to leading corporations. Join over 11,000 women business owners who have already certified their companies and who are opening doors to new opportunities.

CWE is the New England Regional Partner Organization for WBENC National, managing the certification process for all New England women-owned businesses and offering exclusive programs and networking events to local members and corporations. 

Is Certification Right for Your Business?
Take this short self-assessment quiz to help determine if your business would benefit from certification.

Did you know that many corporations won’t even begin the relationship-building process with you if your business is not certified?

Bottom line: if your business is 51% owned and controlled by a woman or women, and you’re targeting corporate contracts, then WBENC certification may be for you. 

Apply Now

Certification Benefits

When you become a WBENC-certified business, you can take advantage of numerous services and programs offered both regionally and nationally, including:


Connections

  • Access to thousands of supplier diversity and purchasing professionals from leading corporations, including regional corporate members such as Staples, Comcast, Raytheon, Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPS, John Hancock, among others
  • Access to WBENCLink, WBENC’s password-protected, searchable online database of 1,000+ corporate contacts and 11,000+ certified women-owned businesses nationwide
  • CWE and WBENC Networking & MatchMaker opportunities
  • Regional & national networking events, expos, and conferences where you can explore business opportunities with corporate members and/or other WBENC-certified women-owned businesses

Coaching & Counsel

  •  Invitations to best practices webinars, workshops, and programs offered through CWE, WBENC National, and other WBENC Regional Partner Organizations
  • Opportunity to participate in Corporate Mentor Program, where you could be paired with a mentor from one of our New England Corporate Members
  • Two (2) complimentary consulting sessions, including legal and accounting consultants

Credentials

  • Automatic inclusion in WBENCLink, WBENC'S online database of certified women-owned businesses, searchable by corporate members
  • Use of "WBENC-Certified Women's Business Enterprise" logo in your marketing materials
  • Eligibility to promote your business through sponsorships or speaking opportunities at WBENC regional and national events

Certification Criteria, Process & Fees

As the Regional Partner Organization for WBENC, CWE certifies all women-owned businesses headquartered in New England.

Criteria for Consideration

  • 51% ownership by a woman or women
  • Proof of effective management and control of the business (operating position, legal & HR decisions, company strategy, signature role on loans and contracts)
  • Contribution of capital and/or expertise
  • Independence in decision-making

WBENC Certification Process

 

*Certification Committee is comprised of impartial supplier diversity professionals, community advocates, certified women-owned businesses

Annual Fee:

 

Prior Year Gross Revenue

Under $1 Million

$1 Million-$4.99 Million

$5 Million-$9.99 Million

Over $10 Million

Annual
Non-Refundable Application Fee

$350.00

$500.00

$750.00

$1,000.00

List of Required Documentation for WBENC Certification
Certification Application
WBENC National Standards & Procedures
WBENC Certification FAQs 

Corporate Members

One of the main benefits of certification is access to a current list of supplier diversity and purchasing professionals at hundreds of major U.S. corporations that accept WBENC certification.

Locally, dozens of leading corporations have partnered with CWE to support our mission, WBENC's mission, and certified women-owned businesses across New England.

CWE-WBENC Corporate Partners

Bank of America

Eastern Bank

Ocean Spray

Biogen-Idec

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Penn National Gaming

Blue Cross Blue Shield - MA

John Hancock

Raytheon

Boston Scientific

Keolis Commuter Services, LLC

RBSCitizens

Boston University

Mass Mutual

Saint Francis Care

Comcast

MBTA

Staples

Covidien

MGM Resorts

Stop & Shop

CT Lottery Corporation

Microsoft

TJX Companies

CVS Caremark

Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company

United Technologies Corporation
 Diversified Automotive Mohegan Sun UPS
  National Grid  

 

WBENC Events & Programs

All WBENC-certified businesses are eligible to participate in these and other events and programs offered through CWE, WBENC National, and other WBENC Regional Partner organizations:

Local WBENC Events/Programs (Through CWE)

WBENC National Events/Programs

WBENC Regional Partner Organizations' Events/Programs

Members Only

Access WBENCLink WBENCLink is WBENC National's Internet database of certified women-owned businesses and corporations with supplier diversity programs. When effectively used, WBENCLink can be an important marketing and networking tool.  Not only can you increase and manage your company's visibility among corporate supplier diversity and purchasing professionals through WBENCLink, but you can also quickly and easily identify corporations that purchase the goods and/or services your company provides.

Download or Print Your WBENC Certificate

Download the WBENC Logo  Maximize the value of your certification.  Use the "Certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise" seal in all your marketing materials (business cards, stationery, collateral, website, social media, etc.) to visually identify your business as certified according to WBENC's National Standards and Procedures.

Re-Certify Your Business Re-certification is not automatic.  You should begin the re-certification process 90 days prior to the expiration date of your current certificate. Failing to do so could result in your certification expiring before recertification approval. To re-certify your business, you will need to submit updated financial information, board meeting minutes (if applicable), and any supporting documents to illustrate changes that may have occurred in either ownership or management of your business. Re-certification fees are the same as certification fees. To begin the re-certification process, log in to your account at www.WBENCLink.org.

Questions?

Please direct any questions, comments, or concerns to Jessica Yamas, CWE-WBENC Program Coordinator, jyamas@cweonline.org or 617-532-0224.

Apply Now

Did you know the U.S. government is the world's largest buyer of products and services, and that federal agencies have a statutory goal of awarding 5% of federal contracting dollars to WOSB-certified women-owned businesses?

Bottom line: if your business is 51% owned and controlled by a woman or women, is deemed “small” according to SBA size standards, and you’re targeting federal government contracts, then WOSB certification may be for you. 

Certification Benefits
Certification Process & Fees
8(m) WOSB Set-Aside Program
Questions?

Certification Benefits

When you become a WOSB-certified business, you significantly improve your chances when competing for federal contracts. The WOSB Federal Contracting Program was created to level the playing ­field in the federal contract arena. Benefits include:

  • Set-aside Contracts, provided contracting officer believes two WOSBs are likely to bid
  • 5% Congressional Budget Target ($18.5 Billion Target)
  • Limited Competition (approximately 16,400 firms are certified)
  • Join Venture Opportunities, provided WOSB receives 51% of the profit (WOSB-WOSB joint ventures do not have to be approved by the SBA

Certification Process & Fees

As a Regional Partner Organization for WBENC, CWE also offers WOSB certification for all women-owned small businesses headquartered in New England. 

Please Note:  In order to receive WOSB certification through CWE, you must either already be, or successfully apply to be WBENC-certified.

Pre-application requirements for WOSB certification include the following:

If you are applying for WBENC certification or re-certification, you will be prompted (upon completing the online WBENC application) to apply for WOSB certification. Please Note: If your Primary NAICS Code is deemed as "EDWOSB" (see "Other Certifications"), the WOSB certification tab will NOT appear in your online application, and you will be unable to apply for WOSB certification through CWE-WBENC, as we do not offer EDWOSB certification services.  If you wish to pursue EDWOSB certification, you may self-certify directly through www.sba.gov/wosb.

If you are already WBENC-certified and not in the recertification process, complete the online WOSB Application located in the menu of your WBENCLink profile.  Please Note: If your Primary NAICS Code is deemed as "EDWOSB" (see "Other Certifications"), the WOSB certification tab will NOT appear in your online application, and you will be unable to apply for WOSB certification through CWE-WBENC, as we do not offer EDWOSB certification services. If you wish to pursue EDWOSB certification, you may self-certify directly through www.sba.gov/wosb.

There is no additional fee for WOSB certification.

List of Supplemental Required Documentation for WOSB Certification
WOSB Certification Application
Compliance Guide for the WOSB Program
WOSB Certification FAQs

8(m) WOSB Set-Aside Program

Does your business function primarily in an industry in which women-owned small businesses are “substantially underrepresented” in federal contracting (pdf)?

If so, you may be eligible for the SBA Woman-Owned Small Business 8(m) Set-Aside Program.  The intent of the program is to provide more chances for women to compete for federal contracts, while also helping agencies reach the statutory goal of awarding 5% of federal contracting dollars to WOSBs.

To qualify for an 8(m) set-aside contract:

  1. Your business must be WOSB-certified
  2. The product/service to be procured must fall under one of the 83 eligible NAICS codes of “substantially underrepresented” industries (pdf)
  3. The anticipated award price of the contract must not exceed $5 million for manufacturing contracts or $3 million for all other contracts

Questions?

Please direct any questions, comments, or concerns to Jessica Yamas, CWE-WBENC Program Coordinator, jyamas@cweonline.org or 617-532-0224


You may be interested in exploring other supplemental certification options besides WBENC and WOSB for your business to increase your chances of landing contracts. Note: CWE does not provide certification services for the following; this is being provided for information purposes only and should not be considered a complete list.

Minority-Owned Certification (NMSDC)
Disabled-Owned Certification (USBLN)
LGBT-Owned Certification (NGLCC)
Special Federal Programs
State Government Programs

Minority-Owned Certification (through the NMSDC)

National, race-based certification for minority business enterprises ("MBE").  It can be beneficial to have this and WBENC certification if you qualify. 

More Information on MBE Certification

Disabled-Owned Certification (through the USBLN)

The USBLN's Disability Supplier Diversity Program® ("DSDP") is a national certification for disabled-owned businesses, including businesses owned by service-disabled veterans.  It can be beneficial to have this and WBENC certification if you qualify.

More information on DSDP Certification 

LGBT-Owned Certification (through the NGLCC)

National certification for LGBT business enterprises ("LGBTBE"). It can be beneficial to have this and WBENC certification if you qualify.

More information on LGBTBE Certification

Special Federal Programs

EDWOSB Certification:
Certification for economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses ("EDWOSB") interested in federal government contracts.  Eligibility is the same as WOSB, plus personal net worth, income, and total assets restrictions.  A firm holding an EDWOSB certification can bid on both WOSB and EDWOSB set-aside contracts.

More information on EDWOSB Certification

8(a) Program:
Nine-year business assistance program for small socially/economically disadvantaged-owned businesses interested in federal government contracts. 

More Information on 8(a) Program 

Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone):
Self-certification for small businesses in urban and rural communities interested in federal government contracts.   It can be beneficial to have this and WOSB if you qualify. 

More Information on HUBZone Certification 

Veteran Certification:
Self-certification for veteran-owned small businesses ("VOSB") interested in federal government contracts.  It can be beneficial to have this and WOSB if you qualify.

More information on Veteran Certification

Service-Disabled Veteran Certification
Self-certification for service-disable veteran-owned small businesses ("SDVOSB") interested in federal government contracts.  It can be beneficial to have this and WOSB if you qualify.

More information on Disabled Veteran Certification

State Government Programs

Connecticut:

Maine:

Massachusetts:

New Hampshire:

Rhode Island:

Vermont:

 

Questions?

Please direct any questions, comments, or concerns to Jessica Yamas, CWE-WBENC Program Coordinator, jyamas@cweonline.org or 617-532-0224.