Despite the modernization of our world nowadays, it is still undeniably true that minority women owned business are still doubted and frowned at.
In the past, businesswomen who have tried to establish their network found it hard and difficult to be a part of the business world simply because they are women and minority!
However, everything is slowly facing change. We have come to an era where everyone is able and welcome to do whatever they wish to do!
In the world of business, women have slowly emerged in the face of the economy. Long lists of minority women-owned businesses have emerged in our society nowadays.
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The United States of America encourages minority women to build their businesses and have them certified according to the type of corporation they establish.
Minority Owned Business certification is designed for small businesses that are unconditionally owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.
Generally, a minority, who has less than $4 million in total assets, less than $250,000 in adjusted net and is earning less than $250,00 a year in average personal income.
These numbers do vary from state to state and will have to be looked up for your specific state.
It is fun to be in a minority woman owned business and some take it for granted because some women have never thought about it.
WBE or Women owned business is personal, which means, a lot is being raised in a time where men always have a better job and better pay while women were to stay home, raising their children.
Women’s business enterprise certification is for minority businesses and it is an application process that is very lengthy and very complicated wherein there’s an on-site interview and has to be approved.
Women owned businesses mean more businesses in the future. Women are now able to be bid on and close different kinds of transactions and other business deals.
How to register as a woman owned small business?
When it comes to getting your new business into state contracting, you must understand that you can’t go and get it straight away.
There are long lists of requirements and steps to be able to be certified.
This means that when applying, you must establish that the company has the potential for success.
That is generally done by establishing that your business has been performing in its primary industry for more than one year.
If you are a woman who belongs in the minority and has established a company or business for quite some time, it might be right that you get your company certified.
There are corporations, federal agencies as well as state agencies, that allocate a certain amount of their business to minority women owned businesses as well as women owned businesses.
It could be anything from marketing to being a supplier and so these companies and agencies look at directories that provide service providers and companies that have certifications to reach out to and to invite to participate in opportunities.
So, if you have not thought about it and you think that you might qualify then you are highly encouraged to do it.
Here are the criteria to be qualified in a woman-owned small business:
1. Owner of at least 51% of the business
The minority person leading the company must own at least 51% of the company share.
This means that she has major control over the company’s finances and shares.
This is the number 1 requirement in establishing a minority women owned business to verify that a woman is, indeed, the one who receives the highest share of the company.
2. Highest level of the position
The person leading the company must also possess the highest position in the company such as CEO or COO.
Having this highest position in the company means that you, indeed, lead the company in its success.
There are documents needed to certify that you have the highest level of position which may vary from state to state.
3. Proof of Origin of Ethnicity
It is also a must that you fall into one of those minority groups which is currently Asian, black, Hispanic, and Native Americans.
So, you have to illustrate and prove that you, yourself, are born in a country of the minority.
If not, you may prove that you are a son or daughter of someone who was a member of such a country of the minority.
Documents like your birth certificate can be of great support for your claim of being a member of such a minority group.
4. Financial Documentation
There is a very long list of financial documents that you need to prepare in applying for this certification.
To name a few, you need to prepare:
- Tax returns for at least a year
- Proof of your capital
- Complete list of your employees and staff
- Employee payroll
- Brief record of your business history and founding
That are just a few of the documentary requirement. Again, these requirements may vary depending on what is required by your state and the type of business you are applying for.
5. Business License
You have to show the location of your business, to prove that the business is actually active and is owned by you, personally.
For those who are housewives and prefer working at home, a home-based business does qualify.
You only need to get a license with your home location or address of your business.
6. Notarized information
There are some forms that you need to fill out with so many questions that you need to answer.
These pieces of information relating to yourself as a minority owner of the company.
You have to provide a biodata, for example. You also have to provide a profit and loss statement and your company.
This can be a very rigorous process but is a very worthwhile one once you have finished and achieved all of them.
After such, you have to notarize your application and you may check with your business chamber as to which you belong to in going further n the certification process.
7. Submission and Fees
After submitting your form, you pay a fee which may be a couple of hundred dollars or maybe a little bit more, depending on the state where you belong.
The process usually takes about 1 – 2 months of application since your form has to undergo a series of checking and verification by some authorized people and organizations.
However, if you want to expedite the process, you may pay an additional fee to have it processed quicker than usual.
It is at least a month in advance if you want to expedite the process
8. Scheduled site visit
Once the certifying agency has verified all the necessary documents and that you passed all of the requirements, the next step is a site visit.
Once the authorized person visits the place of your business which could be an office or at home, you have to prove that you can run your business.
This means that you have all the needed equipment, staff, and other necessities that you may need in running the company. It is always a requirement that you are present during the site visit.
Representatives are not allowed since you are the applicant and the certifying body is there to verify your engagement and your role in the business you own.
In case of absence and unavailability during the schedule site visit, you may always opt to change the schedule for another date.
However, it is highly suggested that you don’t do any rescheduling and follow the schedule as it is.
This would equate with your eagerness and great desire to have that certification.
9. Official certification
Once you already have the official certification and have entered into the directory that companies, corporations, and federal and state agencies look at and be designated as a minority-owned business.
All the steps could be a lot of work, but it is worth it and some entrepreneurs have created an entire business simply by being a minority-owned certified supplier or service provider to corporations and federal and state agencies. So, you may consider this if you feel that you qualify!
Minority Owned Business Benefits
The certification process it’s that easy but the feeling of fulfillment after going through all those successfully is unfathomable.
There are so many benefits that you can get from having a minority women owned business. A few of them are the following:
1. Having a sense of community
Having a minority-owned business means having your new set of network of people whom you can be with and share your successes with.
It is part of our personal need to have a sense of belongingness and having this community allows you to extend your connections.
Not only will you be able to make friends and family, but you are also likely to be able to inspire people with your notable successes.
2. Landing contracts that once seemed unlikely
Most of the minority-owned companies have won contracts that they thought they would not be able to have in their lifetime.
In the world of businesses, many companies would choose to approve contracts with minority owned businesses to further their scope of transactions.
International companies have also reportedly tie-up with minority women owned businesses to be able to extend and learn from different cultures which may also further their businesses and corporations.
3. Opening up marketing opportunities
Your business can be an opportunity, most especially if your business is located in a place of minority as well.
Paying it forward to your people is also one way to improve your business. You allow people who also belong in the minorities to excel in their field.
You would be able to give them employment and job opportunities which would be a great help in improving their lifestyle.
As owner, you may also be a source of inspiration for others, especially for the aspiring women who plan to build their empire as well.
With this, not only are you able to gain profit, but you also gain people’s trust while inspiring and making their lives a whole lot better.
4. Getting access to government contracts
There are some policies mandating government at the federal states and local levels that at least a percentage of business goes to women and minorities.
Since this is a requirement in every state, a lot of government will be lining up for you to accept their offers.
This is a good deal for you to be able to expand and make your networks even wider.
It would mean a lot if you would be able to offer this to women and minorities as well.
Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
This is a type of certification designed for small businesses that are unconditionally owned by a woman who is also economically disadvantaged.
Again, these numbers vary from one state to another but are generally less than $4 million in total assets.
For you to be a certified women’s business enterprise, there are some requirements that you have to meet as discussed above.
For further details, here are few of the most commonly asked questions:
Is it okay to have a man jointly own the company with the minority woman?
Yes. However, one has to see to it that 51% of the company’s share is owned by the woman and that the woman has a higher company position and that she also has the overall control of the company.
Is the site visit mandatory?
Yes. On-site visitation is a requirement in every application for minority women-owned businesses. This a scheduled visit and in cases that you will not be able to attend the schedule, you may always opt for a reschedule as long as you do it ahead of time, of course.
Who is required to attend the site visit?
The presence of the female owner with 51% of the company’s share is a requirement. This is to also verify the presence of the applicant and her capabilities of running the business.