What better time to discuss the importance of Women-Owned Business Enterprise’ (WBE) than Women’s History Month? The purpose of WBE certifications is to enable women-owned businesses to thrive in markets that they historically wouldn’t. Increasing diversity promotes innovation in the spaces that these businesses exist in.
How Do You Become Certified?
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC*) and individual state governments provide certification for women-owned businesses. There is a strict review process that every business must go through to be certified as a WBE. They must be at least 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. To avoid anyone taking advantage of the opportunities offered after being certified, each business and their majority owners are put through background checks and intense reviews.
What Does It Mean to be a WBE?
As stated previously, any WBE must be at least 51% owned and operated by a woman or women. Once reviewed and certified, being a WBE opens options that might have otherwise been inaccessible.
The WBENC program provides networking opportunities for women-owned businesses, supplier diversity experts, government and corporate procurement professionals, and other industry and thought leaders throughout the U.S. Being a WBE also gives you access to resources within the WBE space to provide support, education, and tools they need to succeed. WBENC also fosters healthy engagement through advisory councils, ambassador programs, and a robust recognition and awards program.
Government MWBE (Minority/Women-Owned Business Enterprise) certifications are very similar but are specific to whichever state you get certified in. Attaining government certifications means that any entity within that state can contract your business as an MWBE.
Is DiRAD a WBE?
Yes! Our very own Maria Massa is the President and COO of DiRAD. She has been with DiRAD for over 28 years. “DiRAD was my first ‘real’ job after college,” Maria said. “I was hired as a Sales Assistant and have held a few different positions since then, ranging from Technical Support Coordinator to Project Manager. Somewhere along the line, I discovered I really like performing business analysis and designing solutions to help our clients be more efficient and successful.”
“As far as being a business owner – Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted to own my own business,” she continued. “I grew up in my parents’ pizza parlor and thought it was so special they owned their own business. They worked very hard, long hours and we didn’t take many family vacations. But it was rewarding to have such a presence in our town and see familiar faces walk through the door and greet my parents like they were part of our family. I am truly grateful for the work ethic my parents instilled in me, and for the opportunities I was given at DiRAD.”
In addition to WBENC certification, DiRAD has also been awarded state certifications for NY, MA, PA, MO, RI, and DE.