Thanks to multiple generations of women’s hard work, women in business and the workplace today are on a much equal footing with men. From getting equal pay to being promoted for executive positions, plenty of workplaces provide equal opportunities for their employees.
Despite all of these, it cannot be denied that there’s still more work to be done.
Women in Business and the Workplace in 2020
According to McKinsey’s 2020 Women in the Workplace study, women—especially women of color—have been more severely impacted by the pandemic. Working mothers who already had a full day of work followed by childcare upon coming home before now have to juggle both at the same time without the reprieve of school or daycare.
As a result, one in four women is contemplating leaving the workforce, which, the report states, is “an emergency for corporate America.” When women leave the workforce, there are fewer women who could become future leaders, undoing the progress we mentioned earlier.
This is why now, more than ever, support for female entrepreneurs and employees is crucial for the gender equality movement. Thankfully, the Small Business Administration (SBA) introduced the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification program. And with recent improvements to the certification process, it’s now easier for female entrepreneurs to apply.
What is the Women-Owned Small Business Certification Program?
The WOSB certification program is an SBA initiative that helps women-owned businesses get more access to the resources they need.
In particular, this certification program was established to give female entrepreneurs a fairer chance to compete for federal contracts in industries where they are underrepresented. With this, women’s visibility in these industries increases, putting them on an even playing field with their male counterparts.
Why Should You Apply for a WOSB Certification?
Being certified as a WOSB presents plenty of growth opportunities for your business, whether it’s a restaurant franchise or a construction firm. Some benefits you can enjoy from this certification include:
Limited competition for federal contracts
Providing services for government or government-adjacent programs can bring a huge boost to your business. Apart from getting your name out there, you also get steady monthly revenue for as long as your contract is in place.
This is why small businesses compete for federal contracts all the time. But with the SBA setting aside federal contracts specific to certified WOSBs, you have less competition and more chances of getting it.
Opportunity to work with larger companies
Apart from federal agencies, plenty of public and private corporations have programs that ensure they work with WOSBs.
As a certified WOSB, you get a higher chance of working with big corporations. And, like working on a federal contract, you can see growth for your business from this partnership.
Access to SBA resources
Apart from the federal contracting program, other resources for WOSBs include the National Women’s Business Council and online training with DreamBuilder.
The former is a non-partisan federal advisory council that gives a voice to female entrepreneurs when it comes to discussing relevant economic issues. DreamBuilder, meanwhile, helps women start or develop their business plans.
How to Get Certified as a WOSB
Before getting certified, a business must first meet the eligibility requirements. The requirements are as follows:
- The business must be a small business
- The business must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizen women
- The business’ day-to-day operations and long-term decisions are managed by women
If you qualify, you may apply for the certification through the following methods:
- Self-certification at beta.certify.sba.gov
- Third-party certification through:
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- National Women Business Owners Corporation
- S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
Getting certified as a WOSB can open plenty of doors for your company and expand your reach. And in a competitive world still filled with unequal opportunities for different genders, it’s a great move to take advantage of as many opportunities as you can.