In 2020, my company officially became certified as a woman-owned business. It was a lengthy process — but, after reviewing the benefits of it, I sprinted to earn the credentials. If you’re a business owner, you may want to consider obtaining certification as well.
Woman-owned businesses contribute significantly to the economy. According to the 2019 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, companies owned by women grew two times faster that year, on average, than all businesses across the nation. Women-owned close to 13 million businesses, nearly 42% of the total number of businesses, generating $1.9 trillion and employing 9.4 million workers. However, by 2020, poll data released by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicated that businesses with women at the helm were disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic and corresponding economic crisis than their male counterparts. As a result, they were less likely to expect future revenue, investment and staffing growth.
Given women’s potential to positively impact the economy and people’s lives through their businesses — and the grim toll the pandemic has taken on their livelihoods — I believe that becoming a certified woman-owned business is a mark of distinction that helps a company stand out. And it is a way to foster diversity, which I’m proud to have as a foundational component of my company. We offer clients enhanced value because of that diversity.
Additional benefits of becoming certified include:
- Gaining increased visibility with corporations, states, cities and government entities that seek to work with certified woman-owned businesses
- Being included in a listing of woman-owned suppliers of services, which enables corporations and government agencies to demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs
- Becoming eligible for state-sponsored grant and loan programs specifically for woman-owned businesses, which may be dependent on the state in which the business was established
- Having access to networking opportunities and growth resources through organizations that help to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs
- Being supported by other woman-owned businesses, and proactively supporting similar businesses to invest in mutual future growth and success
- Promoting diversity to help open doors and create partnerships that fuel the economy
- Attracting new talent who appreciate diversity
My team and I began the certification process with research, and then we reached out to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Certification, which was implemented through the Greater Women’s Business Council (a WBENC regional partner organization), involved both an in-depth review of our business and an on-site inspection. To be certified as a woman-owned business, it must be at least 51% owned or controlled by women.
The company’s certification caught the eye of my most recent hire, Monica Bogar of Dallas. We found a match with her skill set through LinkedIn, and she has become one of our recruiters.
“I fell in love with the TrainingPros concept right away, because my big picture of diversity aligns with the company’s,” Monica said. “I am fortunate to be among women who get that I have put sweat equity into multiple businesses I’ve started on my own, and can relate to being part of a group that understands the strengths and challenges of businesswomen. I’m happy to be part of this work family that appreciates all of who I am.”
Woman-owned businesses need our support.You may decide that engaging in the certification process is right for your business. Whether you go that route or not, I hope you will support women-owned businesses. Together, we not only can assist with economic recovery, but we also can help create a sustainable economy.
Leigh Anne Lankford is president at TrainingPros. Her expertise is in learning and development (L&D) with a background in instructional design, project management, eLearning and facilitation in the health care, software development, finance and service industries. Prior to TrainingPros, she founded an eLearning tool company and worked in various corporate training positions. Lankford received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of West Georgia and a master’s degree in human resource development from Georgia State University. She also earned an Information Mapping® Professional™ Certification and a Six Sigma Green Belt certification, and she is an active member of the Association for Talent Development. When learning leaders have more projects than they have people, TrainingPros can provide the right L&D consultants so they can start their projects with confidence. TrainingPros is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise. Visit TrainingPros for more information.