How To Become a Certified Women Business Enterprise

By Jean Criss

As a certified member of the Metro NY Regional Chapter of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, I am happy to share membership, certification, and conference details with our NYWIFT member community. 


If you are a woman-owned business seeking certification to expand your network and reach, as a 51% women-owned business owner, consider joining WBENC and getting certified.

WBENC offers multiple programs and professional development opportunities designed to support business development and growth, from pitch competitions to executive education programs. Through certification, women-owned businesses gain access to a vast network of support, including targeted business opportunities for certified women-owned firms, increased visibility in corporate and government supply chains, education and development programs to spur growth and increase capacity, and networking and mentorship opportunities with thousands of women entrepreneurs and those who support them.


Women Owned, an initiative from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and WEConnect International, creates a movement of support for Women Owned businesses. Learn more here https://wbenc.org. WBENC is also an approved third-party certifier for the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program.


Once certified, women-owned businesses are designated as WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises, or commonly referred to as WBEs.



  • Access to supplier diversity and procurement executives at hundreds of major U.S. corporations and federal, state, and local government entities that accept WBENC Certification.
  • Formal and informal opportunities to pursue business with Corporate and Government Members, as well as with other WBENC-Certified WBEs.
  • Access to networking events, procurement opportunities, mentoring, executive education, capacity development programs, and other business tools and resources.
  • Eligibility for regional and national recognition and awards.
  • Use of Women Owned Logo and Women’s Business Enterprise Seal as a marketing tool to promote your business and expand your company’s visibility.
  • Community of support from other female business owners and like-minded professionals all dedicated to the growth and success of women-owned businesses.



WBENC Certification validates that a business is at least 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. This means one or more women must have unrestricted control of the business, a demonstrated management of day-to-day operations, and a proportionate investment of capital or expertise. To become certified, business owners undergo a thorough vetting process, including review of business documentation and a site visit. Because of this thorough process, WBENC Certification is considered the gold standard for women-owned business certification and is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations, in addition to many states, cities and other entities.

  • Majority (at least 51%) ownership by one or more women
  • Demonstrated proof of female management and control of business
  • Unrestricted female control of the business in legal documents and day-to-day operations
  • A woman holding the highest defined title in the company’s legal documents.
  • Documented evidence of female contribution of capital and/or industry expertise
  • Status of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Resident for woman owner(s) constituting majority ownership

Before applying for certification, WBENC highly recommends you review the list of required documentation,  and the guidelines outlined in their Standards & Procedures.



Required Documentation

How to Apply

Once WBENC/WOSB Certified




Since many NYWIFT members are women-owned businesses, women-owned small businesses, minority women-owned businesses, and women business enterprises, you may be interested to get involved.  You are welcome to attend their  conferences, as a member or non-member. The latest was the WBENC 2023 National Conference, March 20 – 23, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.  Details here: https://www.wbenc.org/conference/.



The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) provides the gold standard certification for women-owned businesses, and the professional development, tools, and resources to help them succeed.

Each year, our dynamic and diverse network comes together to fuel opportunities for women entrepreneurs. The WBENC National Conference is the largest event of its kind for women business owners, welcoming thousands of women entrepreneurs, and corporate executives ready to make connections and do business. The 2023 National Conference website: https://www.wbenc.org/conference/

 To learn more about WBENC and the certification process, feel free to contact Jean Criss, NYWIFT Communications Committee Member and WBENC Member (Metro NY Chapter) at info@jeancrissmedia.com or (908) 917-7969.  Jean Criss is an author, writer, media-preneur, fashion designer and tech innovator. Learn more about Jean at JeanCrissMedia.com and CRISSCROSSIntimates.com and follow her NYWIFT published articles.


Jean Criss Author, Writer, Blogger, Entrepreneur

Jean Criss Author, Writer, Blogger, Entrepreneur Jean Criss is Contributing Writer for NYWIFT Communications Committee where she thrives on bringing engaging community and communications in writing, blogs and at LIVE events. Jean is an author, writer, columnist, digital media-preneur, tech innovator, and fashion designer. NYWIFT published articles and other press and weblinks are found here: https://linktr.ee/jeancriss.

View all posts by Jean Criss Author, Writer, Blogger, Entrepreneur

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