Becoming a Certified Women’s Business Enterprise
After years of work, Display Sales is now officially a Certified Woman-Owned Business. The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Certification is a lengthy process and completing it stands as a major milestone in the history of our business. When Nancy and her mother shared ownership, they often talked about applying for the certification. The WBENC certification can establish major partnerships and elevate any business to a higher level, but it’s an intensive process. WBENC refers to it as “a rigorous and stringent certification process.” Previously, each time Nancy and her mother started the application, they ran into a new barrier that drew all progress to a halt. The time investment needed to apply just made the benefits of the certification dwindle. After receiving full ownership in 2014, however, Nancy decided she would just dig in and do it.
That was two years ago.
Applying for WBENC Certification
From 2014 to 2016, Nancy stuck to her commitment. As business owners know, it’s all too easy to put off working on the future of the business when day-to-day operations consume nearly all of your time. Regardless, Nancy made time. Setting aside her Saturday evenings, she sat in her office with a laptop and heaps of paperwork covering her long conference desk. Over the next two years, her journey led to 67 business, financial, and application documents gathered all together. With a final email sent this past April, Nancy submitted the application. Everything was complete, except for the last daunting part of the application—the interview.
Interview day came with the team on high nerves. After a brief tour of the office, the interviewers and Nancy sat down for one final test. With sweaty palms, Nancy answered each question as though a polygraph watched her every move. If the interviewers thought she failed to answer a question, the application was for nothing. A full grueling hour later, the interviewers left without any clear sign how it went. Weeks later, we received an official letter of acceptance to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
Why the investment?
WBENC intentionally places this hefty barrier to entry because they want to maintain exclusivity. Through extensive vetting of each business, they ensure every WBENC-Certified business is actually woman owned. Many businesses attempt to place a female figurehead in an ownership position and claim the rewards of being “woman-owned.” Other certifiers that don’t thoroughly vet their applicants fail to offer paralleled benefits because their certifications go out to faux women-owned businesses.
In exchange for our investment, a plethora of new opportunities arise. Through the many WBENC events hosted, we can capitalize on developing our business network to completely new sectors. WBENC gives us access to connect with their corporate partners, over 300 major U.S. corporations that want to work with WBENC-Certified businesses. Furthermore, we can now promote ourselves with our certification for any organization that fulfills diversity supplier requirements. Our certification could potentially lead to federal and state government partnership opportunities. And on top of all this new potential, we’re finally given the recognition we deserve. As a woman business owner for over two decades, Nancy has endured hardships that have only made our climb to success more difficult. This certification acknowledges all of the hard work gone into making Display Sales. We hope to continue making strides as a women-owned business to prove that gender does not determine success.
Thank you to the team and WBENC for providing us with this amazing opportunity.
Display Sales is an experience creation company. We deliver custom flags, banners, holiday decor, and premium promotional products to help personalize and convey brand messages. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or contact us at displaysales.com/contact.
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