Criteria to Become a Certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)

A women-owned business is defined as being owned, capitalized, operated and controlled by a woman or group of women. The business must be a "for-profit" business which physically resides in the United States or one of it territories. Some applications require US Citizenship and some will accept legal residency. Note: Non-For-Profit companies DO NOT qualify for any certifications.

Ownership by women means the business is at least 51% owned a woman or group of women. In the case of a publicly-owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more women. Further, the management and daily operations are controlled by those women.

  1. Fifty-one percent (51%) established ownership by a woman or a group of women.
  2. Evidence of proof of 51% majority control and effective management of the business as evidence by the governing documents such as by-laws, hire-fire authority and other decision-making roles.
  3. Ownership of women must establish their expertise in area they are seeking certification.
  4. Percentage of ownership equity and capitalization is commensurate with ownership percentage.
  5. Control of the business as evidenced by signature role on debt or financial instruments, legally binding documents such as leases and contracts.
  6. Must be a U.S. Citizen or be a legal resident.

Disclaimer: The following are the MINIMUM basic requirements for certification, and in no way guarantee your company will be a successful candidate for certification. Additionally each certifying agency may have different criteria standards and eligibility rules. Other criteria and standards exist for each industry, annual sales, number of employees, etc., etc. If you are applying to a local government entity, we have found on occasion, that the length of time it takes to acquire certification can be inconsistent and that the final status of an application can be offset by other determining factors.

As seen in Inc., Entrepreneur and Crain's Business Magazines