Mission & History

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is a 501 (c)(3) and a nationally recognized leader in the field of women’s economic development.

The organization was founded in 1986 to provide services and programs to support and accelerate women’s business ownership and strengthen the impact of women on the economy by creating jobs, fueling economic growth, and building strong communities. The WBDC carries out these activities through its two (2) Women’s Business Centers (WBC), Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC),  and ScaleUp Aurora Initiative.

The mission of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is to support and accelerate business development and growth, targeting women and serving all diverse business owners, in order to strengthen their participation in, and impact on, the economy.

The Women’s Business Development Center aims to:

  • Increase awareness of entrepreneurship as a viable means of economic self-sufficiency
  • Accelerate the growth rate of enterprises owned by women and other diverse business owners
  • Stimulate public policy and system changes that support and strengthen economic empowerment of women and other diverse business owners
  • Increase the economic impact on individuals, families, and communities of women and other diverse business owners

The Women’s Business Development Center serves clients from all walks of life with a focus on women, minorities, and veterans with the majority from low-to-moderate income areas. The WBDC is headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Aurora, IL, Governors State University in University Park, IL, Minneapolis, MN, Milwaukee, WI, Kansas City, MO and will soon open an office in St. Louis, MO. The WBDC currently serves a nine-state Midwest region (Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota).

In Illinois, the WBDC offers:

  • Capacity building to scale businesses to compete in the marketplace
  • Technical assistance, financial support, direct lending and debt equity placement
  • Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) certification
  • Corporate and public sector procurement opportunities
  • Veterans’ business development services

Beyond Illinois, the WBDC focuses on procurement, capacity building and certification services. Its veterans support is currently limited to Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota


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Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

Learn more about WBENC opportunities and certification

Regional Partner Organizations

A list of the 14 certifying partners throughout the United States

WBDC WBE Certification Brochure

Learn more about WBENC WBE Certification and the WBDC's partnership

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