Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)
Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) is a designation used by the US government and certain other organizations, including industry agencies, to encourage and support female business ownership. A women-owned business must meet these criteria to be certified as a WBE:
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women. Also, it must be primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be US citizens.
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
The federal government must give at least 5% of its contract dollars to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). In addition to the criteria described above for a WBE, a WOSB must meet these criteria to be certified:
- Be “small” for its industry according to the Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards
- Be of a certain type of industry. (See WOSB Qualifying North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes.)
What Are the Benefits of Being a Certified Women-Owned Business?
WBE certification affords a network of support, education, and mentoring opportunities. It increases a business’s visibility in programs designed to support a business growth. Some of the advantages offered through local, state, and federal government for WBEs or WOBs are certain:
- Tax incentives
- Loan guarantees
- Grants – For the NIH, businesses can self-identify as “women-owned small businesses” and receive support in submitting grants via outreach by NIH staff and programs and corporate-sponsored grants. For example, women-owned businesses potentially qualify for. . .
- Applicant Assistance Program (NIH) – A 10-week program to support first-time SBIR applicants in preparing their grant proposals.
- NIH administrative supplements to grants from some institutes or programs.
- Corporate-sponsored grants for women-owned businesses sponsored by several large corporations.
- Contracts – The federal government has a goal of giving at least 5% of contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses (SBA, 2023). (See “Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program” in Resources below.)
- Tax advantages for their investors
- Other benefits provided by some businesses
- Training, education, and development programs to
- Develop business and leadership skills
- Support capacity development
State, regional, and local business bureaus can provide information on what advantages are available.
SBA. WOSB Federal Contract Program Administration. 2023.
Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program – Includes information on how to get certified as a women-owned small business.
Top 10 Benefits Available for Women-Owned Businesses in the US – Describes the definition and status of US women-owned small businesses of all types and ten advantages available to them. Blog by Samir Sampat for Smith, a virtual receptionist company.
Non-profit supporting full participation of women and achieving equity in all disciplines and across all employment sectors of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Find an AWBC center near you to get training, mentoring, free to low-cost counseling, business development support, and financing opportunities to start, grow, and expand small businesses. Part of the Small Business Administration. See their Innovation and Entrepreneurship advocacy program. Part of the Small Business Administration.
Accelerating Innovation: Funding for Women Entrepreneurs in Biotechnology and Healthcare – Webinar co-hosted by three NIH agencies (NCATS, NHLBI, NCI) and the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Describes programs and funding opportunities, and provides advice to support women-owned small businesses and women in research and technology transfer. Video length: 1:19 hours (*Starts at the 6-minute mark.)