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Distinguishing your company as a certified WBE (Woman Business Enterprise) or MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) is a great way to receive valuable insight into the procurement landscape and set your business apart in the marketplace. Companies both large and small, as well as federal, state and local government entities are actively seeking M/WBE- certified businesses to work with business leaders with varying backgrounds and who can connect with of all segments of the population.
Obtaining certification from a reputable third-party certifying organization like WBENC or NMSDC is the first step, opening the door to further your company’s growth. But there’s more to it than just increased access to new contracts.
The following are 4 additional benefits of becoming a certified W/MBE:
1. Access to loans: If you’re just starting out as a small business, obtaining a WBE or MBE certification is an effective way to receive assistance for securing loans. For example if you are the owner of a certified WBE, you can utilize third-party intermediaries such as a Women’s Business Development Center or Small Business Development Company to help you prepare and submit loan applications to the Small Business Administration. Initial funding will provide you with capital to get your business up and running. Existing small businesses also benefit from obtaining loans in order to acquire additional equipment, expand their employee base, or open another location.
2. Access to databases: After completing the W/MBE certification process, you are granted access to large databases utilized by major corporations, other W/MBEs and government entities that support supplier diversity. These databases allow you to search for prospective customers and clients who will benefit from the product or service your business provides. Likewise, your company’s information will be available so that purchasers who are looking for your particular product or service can connect with you.
3. Access to networking opportunities: Another important way to connect with corporations, government entities, and other W/MBEs is by attending conferences and events held by the major certifying organizations. Such conferences include WBENC’s National Conferences & Business Fair and NMSDC’s Conference and Business Opportunity Fair. Events and conferences enable you to gain valuable face time with potential purchasers in order to increase awareness of your brand, develop relationships, and increase the likelihood of establishing contracts with purchasers. In addition, certifying-organization sponsored events are an excellent venue to connect with other W/MBEs to share insight, compare experiences, and discuss future business opportunities or partnerships.
4. Access to educational opportunities and training: Certified W/MBEs have access to training programs, educational workshops, and mentorship programs. NWBOC holds an annual event called Decades of Excellence where certified woman-owned businesses partake in a series of educational workshops. These workshops include strategies for selling to large corporations, ways to establish supplier diversity programs within your company, and best practices for obtaining government contracts. WBENC offers training via webinars to aid women-owned business in the supplier diversity sector. NMSDC also offers an advanced management training program to certified companies.
Becoming a certified W/MBE is a wonderful asset to your business because it adds credibility to your business, all while setting your unique product or service apart from the rest. Simply obtaining certification aids the growth of your business, but taking advantage of these included perks is a sure way to success.
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