what is wbe certification

The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), founded in 1997, is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled, and operated by women in the United States. WBENC, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, partners with 14 Regional Partner Organizations to provide its world class standard of certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. Outside of the United States, certification is provided by our alliance partner, WEConnect International .

WBENC is thriving because of the strong commitment of our Corporate and Government Members, Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs), Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs), our Alliance relationships, and the leadership provided by our WBENC staff.

We foster diversity in the world of commerce. Diversity promotes innovation, opens new channels of revenue and creates partnerships which provide opportunities that fuel the economy.

While reinforcing our important vision and mission, we will broaden our reach and focus on GROWTH AND SUSTAINABILITY throughout our network by delivering our products and services through our certification, opportunities, resources, and engagement and recognition (CORE) platform.

While maintaining our superior branded reputation, we are prepared to adapt to the evolving needs of our constituents. We are poised to evaluate and identify additional ways to contribute to our members’ competitive supply chains and to evaluate future opportunities that become available to advance WBEs and breakdown barriers to WBE growth. Further supporting these efforts, WBENC President & CEO, Pamela Prince-Eason was appointed to the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) as one of the six national business organizations chosen to participate in this council which advises the President, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues of importance to women business owners.

WBENC’s Vision

To be the leader in women’s business development.

WBENC's Mission

To fuel economic growth globally through access to opportunities, by identifying, certifying and facilitating development of women-owned businesses.

WBENC’s Constituents

WBENC’s constituent groups consist of our Corporate and Government Members, 14 Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs), and WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs). Our theme, “Join Forces - Succeed Together,” reinforces that our success is only possible when we partner with these constituents toward a set of common goals. This commitment and collaboration will result in the realization of our mission and vision. By concentrating on our CORE values, we will have a significant role in fueling the economy and creating job growth.

WBENC’s CORE Platform

WBENC's core competencies are Certification, Opportunities, Resources and Engagement.


Certification is the cornerstone of WBENC’s value proposition. The WBENC certification standard is the most relied upon certification of women-owned businesses. Certification is administered throughout the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands by our 14 Regional Partner Organizations. Internationally, certification is administered by our MOU partner, WEConnect International.The ongoing goal for WBENC certification is to be the most valued certification of women-owned, operated, and controlled businesses, which is recognized by public, private, non-profit and government entities


Opportunities deliver the programming and networking needs of our constituents. WBENC is committed to connecting both our corporate and government members and our WBEs with women’s business enterprises in the most effective ways. We are focused on accelerating opportunities and creating a superior resource pool

for all constituents. We deliver world-class programming that enhances business development and growth by maximizing relevant knowledge programs and capitalizing on the wealth of industry expertise in our community.


Resources are provided through our network to address the challenges women face in building and growing a business, providing support throughout the full lifecycle of their business. Our goal is to ensure we provide WBEs access the needed education, support and tools. A few examples of these include:

  • Capacity building programs, focused on growth and development throughout all phases of the business lifecycle; offered at both the National and RPO level.
  • WBENCLink, our database that connects corporate and government members to WBEs (and WBEs to other WBEs.)
  • Insights – industry research, webinars, interviews and toolkits, skills-based reference library
  • Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, brought to you by IBM – an intensive week long program focused primarily on increasing the competitive advantage and robustness of each participant’s business.
  • Dorothy B. Brother Executive Scholarship Program – provides WBEs access to high caliber management education at the executive level.


Engagement of our constituents is key to success throughout the WBENC network. Involvement strengthens existing relationships and fosters new ones. Recognition that promotes the success of key constituents creates a better awareness of leading practices required to create success for women entrepreneurs and inspires all to reach higher standards of performance.

WBENC’s Governance Structure

WBENC is a diverse coalition, which is governed by the four constituent groups of the organization.

  1. Corporate or government members hold two-thirds of the seats on the Board of Directors and provide insight into the needs of America’s top corporations and government entities;
  2. The Leadership Council hold one-sixth of the seats on the Board of Directors, represents the Regional Partner Organizations, which implement WBENC certification to women-owned businesses and submit annual reviews of their procedures and results;
  3. The Women's Enterprise Forum hold one-sixth of the seats on the Board of Directors, represents the interests of WBENC-Certified WBEs.
  4. The WBENC Staff who satisfy and execute the needs of Corporate Members, Regional Partner Organizations, and Certified WBEs.

Additionally three expert seats are allotted to the board to meet organizational needs and two ex-officio roles include the WBENC President & CEO and legal counsel.

WBENC’s Funding

WBENC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks and accepts donations from corporations, foundations and individuals to support its mission and programs. WBENC's primary operating funds are obtained through the receipt of Corporate Membership fees and net revenue from annual events, programs and services. WBENC seeks additional funding to advance women owned businesses by applying for grants with a targeted focus on WBEs, girls, STEM, breaking down barriers for WBEs, and skills advancement at all levels of the business lifecycle.

WBENC provides allocation payments to its Regional Partner Organizations for services rendered in administering certification and recertification to women-owned businesses. RPOs receive a designate percentage of Corporate Membership dues and net revenues from WBENC's annual events, programs, and services. NOTE: WBENC does not receive any portion of the certification or recertification fees paid to its RPOs.

Source: www.wbenc.org

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