If you are a woman who owns and manages a business in the United States, you may be interested in applying for Women Business Enterprise (WBE) certification. WBE certification is a nationally recognized credential that validates your business as at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents. WBE certification can help you access new opportunities, resources, and networks in the corporate marketplace, as well as enhance your credibility and visibility among potential customers and partners. Many large corporations have supplier diversity programs to assist women and diverse-owned businesses in doing business with them.

WBE certification is administered by organizations such as the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a nonprofit organization that is committed to removing barriers and promoting the growth of women-owned businesses. https://www.wbenc.org/ WBENC works with 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) across the country to implement the certification standards and procedures, conduct the eligibility reviews, and issue the certificates.

To apply for WBE certification, you need to submit a certification affidavit and supporting documentation to the RPO that serves your region. The affidavit and documentation must demonstrate that you meet the WBE eligibility standards, which include criteria for ownership, control, and independence of your business. The RPO will then conduct a documentation review and an on-site (or virtual) review to verify the information you provided and assess your business operations and management.

The certification process may take up to 90 days from the date of receipt of a complete application. If your application is approved, you will receive a certificate that is valid for one year and that indicates the industry codes of your business. You will also be listed on WBENCLink, a proprietary online database that connects certified WBEs with WBENC's corporate and government members.

If your application is denied, you will receive a written notification with the reasons for the denial. You may request a meeting with the RPO's Executive Director or President to discuss the denial or file an appeal to the RPO's Board of Directors or the WBENC Board of Directors, following the procedures outlined in the WBENC Standards and Procedures document.

If you have any questions about WBE certification, the application process, or the appeal process, please contact Danielle Dietrich, Esq. at ddietrich@potomaclaw.com or 412-449-9141.

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