The WBDC certification team is here to help you navigate the application process and provide education and opportunities to make your certification work for you. Click here to watch a brief video about the certification process.
– Invitation to networking events with supplier diversity representatives
– Contact information for Supplier Diversity representatives
– Attend corporate panels and procurement events, and education sessions
What is WBENC?
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the nation’s largest third-party certifier of women-owned, operated, and controlled businesses. WBENC, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations to provide Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification.
WHAT IS A WBE?
A Women Business Enterprise (WBE) is an independent business concern that is legally controlled by and at least 51% owned and operated by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or Legal Resident Aliens. The business formation and principal place of business must be in the U.S. or its territories.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WBENC'S CRITERIA?
WHAT ARE THE FEES FOR CERTIFICATION AND RE-CERTIFICATION?
The non-refundable application fees for certification and re-certification are the same and based on a company’s revenues:
Gross annual revenues under $1 million (0 – $999,999): $350
Gross annual revenues of 1 million but under 5 million ($1,000,000 – $4, 999, 999): $500
Gross annual revenues of 5 million but under 10 million ($5,000,000 – $9,999,999): $750
Gross annual revenues of 10 million but under 50,000,000 ($10,000,000 – $49,999,999): $1,000
Gross annual revenues of 50 million and over ($50,000,000 and up): $1,250
Thanks to the generosity of our larger WBEs, the WBDC has a scholarship fund to pay half the application fee for first-time applicants with under $500,000 in revenue. If you’d like an application or have questions, please contact Karen Goldner at email@example.com.
WHAT IS THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS?
a. A business entity applies, along with the necessary supporting documentation, notarized affidavit, and non-refundable processing fee using the WBENCLink application portal.
b. A trained Certification Review Committee meets each month. Once the applicant’s file is complete (pertinent business and legal structure documentation received and reviewed by staff), the Certification Review Committee reviews the application.
c. An on-site visit is conducted with the woman business owner at a pre-determined time.
d. At a subsequent Certification Review Committee meeting, a final determination is made regarding the applicant’s eligibility following the site visit. If certification is granted, the company’s owner and assigned contact will receive an automated email telling them they have been certified and can access their certificate online. A formal letter is mailed to the owner if certification is denied.
HOW LONG DOES THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS TAKE?
After the WBDC has the necessary information and documents, the review process can take up to 90 days.
CAN SOMEONE HELP ME FILL OUT THE APPLICATION?
Unfortunately, our certification team cannot help with the application process. However, once the file is received, our team will work with you to ensure all the required documents have been submitted and the file is complete. In addition, WBDC offers a workshop entitled Is Certification Right for You about WBENC and local, state, and federal certifications. Please check the current Calendar of Events for upcoming workshop dates. You can also submit questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 853-3477, ext. 100, and ask to speak to a certification specialist.
Please pay close attention to the ownership and legal control requirements in the WBENC Standards and Procedures and summarized in our Pro Tips. Once your application has been submitted, changes cannot be accepted.
HOW DO I DOWNLOAD MY CERTIFICATE?
To download your certificate, log onto wbdc.wbenclink.org with your username and password. Once signed in, select View on the left navigation menu, then My Certifications. Next, under the Current Certifications section, click View by Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification. Then click View as PDF at the bottom of the page under the Letters and Certificates section.
HOW LONG DOES MY CERTIFICATION LAST?
WBE Certification is awarded for one year and must be renewed annually. Since your renewal application is reviewed by staff and committee to ensure continued compliance, you must submit your renewal application no less than 60 days before expiration. For more questions, please click here. If you have questions, please make an appointment to speak with Karen Goldner, Managing Director of Established Business Services.
Leveraging Your Certification
Getting your WBENC WBE Certification is just the first step.
- Watch our WBE Onboarding webinar. You can also participate in this webinar live if you prefer by registering through our Events Calendar.
- Follow the steps on this handy infographic to leverage your certification.
- Watch your inbox for emails from the WBDC and WBENC, which provide you information about upcoming events. This is sent to the email address that you entered into WBENCLink as the owner’s email.
- Reach out to regional staff near you! We have a lot of activities going on throughout the Midwest, and our regional team is ready to help you connect.
If your business is interested in working with certified Women Business Enterprises throughout the Midwest, click here to learn about becoming a WBDC Corporate Partner.
Director, Certification Program and Services
Director, Established Business Program and Services
Director, Established Business Program and Services
Sign up for Updates
Get news from the Women’s Business Development Center in your inbox.
Educational training available in webinars has been essential in strategically pivoting my business and finding efficiencies I can make in my business practices. You do incredible work, and I so appreciate all of your help!
Natalie Linville-Mass - MediaLink, Rock Island, IL, Ceritified WBE