WBE Certification FAQ

1. What is WBENC?

The Women’s Business Entrepreneurial National Council (WBENC) is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, operated and controlled by women in the United States. WBENC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations, of which the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is one, to provide Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. WBE certification through the WBDC is one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications in the nation. Accepted by thousands of corporations within the country and a number of federal and government agencies, your WBE certification will be an important marketing tool for expanding your company's visibility among decision makers in corporate supply chain diversity and procurement.

2. What is a WBE?

A WBE (Women's Business Enterprise) is an independent business concern that is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or Legal Resident Aliens; whose business formation and principal place of business are in the US or its territories; and whose management and daily operation is controlled by one or more of the women owners.

3. How can I find out more about WBENC's criteria?

Before starting the process, please be sure to read WBENC's Standards and Procedures. Reading this document first will ensure that you are aware of all criteria.

4. What is the fee for certification?

The fee for certification is based on a company’s revenues:

  • Gross annual revenues under $2 million: $350 (non-refundable)
  • Gross annual revenues from $2 million to $8 Million: $650 (non-refundable)
  • Gross annual revenues over $8 million: $950 (non-refundable)

5. What is the fee for re-certification?

The fee for re-certification is based on a company’s revenues in the most recent 12 month tax return:

  • Gross annual revenues under $2 million: $275 (non-refundable)
  • Gross annual revenues from $2 million to $8 million: $575 (non-refundable)
  • Gross annual revenues over $8 million: $875 (non-refundable)

6. How long does the certification process take?

Up to 90 days from the point where the WBDC has all of the information and documents needed for review.

7. Can I drop off my application?

Yes, you can drop off your application during office business hours at WBDC, 8 S. Michigan Ave, 4th Floor, Chicago, IL 60603.

8. Can someone help me fill out the application?

Unfortunately our certification team cannot help with the application process, however we do offer a workshop called Is Certification Right for You?, where local, state and federal certifications will be covered, along with the WBE certification offered by the WBDC.  Please check the current Calendar of Events for upcoming workshop dates.  You can also submit your question via e-mail to certification@wbdc.org, or call 312.853.3477 x 0 and ask to speak to a certification specialist.

9. How do I download my certificate?

Log onto www.wbenclink.org with your username and password. Once you're signed in, download your WBE certificate via HR (high-resolution) or LR (low-resolution) under the “WBE” tab on the left-hand side.

10. How long does my certification last?

WBE Certification is awarded for one year and must be renewed on a yearly basis.


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