Please review all three tabs to receive a complete overview of the WBE Certification. Should you have any questions, please contact Lance Mitchell at 504.830.0149 or via email at lmitchell@wbecsouth.org.

Benefits of WBE Certification



  • Access to a current list of supplier diversity and procurement executives at hundreds of major U.S. corporations and federal, state and local government entities that accept WBENC certification. WBENC is also an approved Third Party Certifier for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program.
  • National recognition of WBENC-Certified WBEs by thousands of major U.S. corporations and federal, state and local government entities.
  • Formal and informal opportunities to pursue business deals with National Corporate Members and/or WBENC-Certified WBEs:
  • WBENC’s National Conference & Business Fair including; Eligibility to participate in face-to-face MatchMaking Sessions; Eligibility to exhibit at WBENC’s annual National Conference & Business Fair & Informal networking and targeted marketing.
  • WBENC Summit & Salute
  • Informal networking and targeted marketing.
  • Automatic inclusion in WBENCLink, WBENC’s Internet database of certified WBEs, which is accessible by WBENC’s Corporate Members and other certified WBEs across the country.
  • Opportunities to partner with other WBENC-Certified WBEs to pursue other business opportunities.

Capacity Development

  • Access to mentoring, education, and capacity development.
  • Eligibility to receive a Dorothy B. Brothers Scholarship.
  • Eligibility to participate in the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth through the Tuck-WBENC Executive Program, brought to you by IBM.
  • Workshops and keynotes at WBENC national events.
  • Webinars including, WBENCLink Training and Conference Prep Webinar Series.
  • Access to community of support among WBENC-Certified WBEs.
  • Articles in WBENC and WBEC South blog, newsletter and website.


Promote Your Business

  • Use of the WBENC certified WBE seal on your marketing materials, which identifies your women’s business enterprise as certified through WBENC’s national Standards and Procedures.
  • Use of the Women Owned Logo on retail product packaging
  • Use of WBENC Press Release template to announcing your business as newly WBENC certified. WBEs are responsible for submitting press release to local media.
  • Eligibility to promote your business through sponsorship of WBENC national events. A number of promotional opportunities are provided in sponsorship packages. WBE Chair opportunities are available and open to every WBENC-Certified WBE. Although only two WBE Co-Chairs are selected for each national event, this sponsorship opportunity includes year-long promotional and exposure benefits. For more information, contact mdelano@wbenc.org.

Community of Support

  • Eligibility to participate in WBENC Social Media profiles, including FacebookYouTube and Twitter.
  • Informal networking at WBENC national events.


  • White papers and research developed on key women business issues.
  • Opportunity to participate in surveys so your voice is represented on key issues.
  • Representation of women business issues in key forums.

Criteria for Certification:

Click here for a printable version of this page (in PDF format)

  • Applicant company must be at least fifty-one percent (51%) owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents, or in the case of any publicly-owned business, at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the equity of which is owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents
  • Management and daily operation is controlled by one or more of the women.
  • WBENC uses a two part process to ensure that the applicant company meets the WBENC Standards.   This will include a thorough review of the documentation presented and a site visit interview with the female owner(s).
  • Click here for a copy of the Standards and Procedures used to determine certification (recommended reading).

Application Instructions:

To expedite the efficient handling of your application, please read all of these instructions before you begin the online application.

  1. Gather all of the required documents. For documents that do not apply to your company, please provide a written explanation stating which documents do not apply and why. Ensure each document is available electronically for uploading. Click here for Required Documentation.
  2. Review your legal and financial information to ensure that your documents support woman/women ownership and control.
  3. VERY IMPORTANT!  Have the owner and contact add wbenclink@wbenclink.org to their safe sender list.  The owner and/or the application contact will be made aware of the status of their application for certification via notifications from wbenclink@wbenclink.org.  Receipt of these emails is critical to the process.
  4. Register and complete the online application.  NOTE:  This application will become your company’s resume once certification is granted.  Please type in upper and lower case letters and be as thorough as possible.
    • Register using the female owner’s email address.
    • The owner’s complete e-mail address will be automatically assigned as the username for the application.
    • Create a password. Save your username and password, it will be needed once certification is granted to access your application record(s) and certificate.
    • Before the application is accessible, you must answer pre-qualifying questions in order to determine if the minimum requirements for certification are met.
    • The application processing page will open.
    • You may complete the processing section in any order; however, ALL must be completed before you are able to sign and submit the application.
    • To prevent loss of data entered, please click Save Draft if you need to exit the system.
    • The status bar at the top of the page will indicate what percentage of the application has been completed.
    • As each section is completed, a green check mark will be visible and the status will be updated from Incomplete to Complete.
    • Before the application can be submitted, the system will ask if the nonrefundable processing fee will be paid using a credit card or check. Upon answering the questions, you will be allowed to submit the application. NOTE: If your company elects to mail in a check, processing will not begin until the payment has been received by your assigned Regional Partner Organization.
    • DO NOT SIGN/SUBMIT the application until it has been reviewed for accuracy by the female owner. Once the application is submitted, edits to data will not be permitted.

As a reminder, please save the username and password, as both will be needed once certification is granted.

Go to www.wbenclink.org to begin the online application!

Documentation Required for WBE Certification

Click here for a printable version of this page (PDF format)

All documentation must be uploaded in WBENCLink2.0.  The document list is divided into two (2) sections: Mandatory Documents and Required Documents. If a document is listed as ‘Mandatory’, you must upload the actual document or a written statement detailing the reason(s) it is being omitted and/or not applicable to the applicant company. Documents listed as ‘Required’ that apply to the company must be uploaded or the Not Applicable box must be checked. Failure to provide the necessary documentation required to ascertain the company’s eligibility is reason for a denial.

Note: Your assigned Regional Partner Organization (RPO) and/or WBENC reserves the right to request additional documentation, if necessary, to determine the eligibility of your firm for certification as a WBE and WOSB (if applying for WOSB certification).  In addition, if you have questions regarding the required documents or the nonrefundable processing fee, please contact the assigned Regional Partner Organization for your state.

If applying for WOSB certification in addition to WBE certification, please refer to the end of this document for additional WOSB documentation requirements.

Please do not upload password protected documents.

GENERAL INFORMATION – Requirements are the same for all business structures.

  • Signed Sworn Affidavit
    • Signed by the majority female business owner and notarized by an authorized notary of the U.S. or one of its territories.
  • WBENCLink2.0 User Agreement
    • Must be signed by majority female owner
  • Non-Refundable Processing Fee
    • Paid by credit card or by mailed check
    • NOTE: If your company elects to mail in a check, processing will not begin until the payment has been received by your assigned Regional Partner Organization.
  • History of Business
    • Explain the start and history of your business, including when, where, why, with whom, and how the business was started/acquired, as well as an explanation of the primary business of the company.
  • Professional and business license(s) (if applicable)
  • Resumes of all owners, board of directors, and key management team
    • Biographies are not an acceptable substitute.
    • Resumes should cover related professional experience.

OWNER ELIGIBILITY – Requirements are the same for all business structures.  One of the documents requested below must be a photo identification for identify verification purposes.

  • Evidence of gender for female owner(s)
    • Copy of current U.S. Passport, U.S. Birth Certificate, or Driver’s License
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship or Permanent Legal Resident Alien status for female owner(s)
    • Copy of current U.S. Passport, U.S. Birth Certificate, naturalization papers, or Permanent Legal Resident Alien Card (green card)
    • U.S. Passports in color are preferred

FINANCIAL STRUCTURE – Requirements are the same for all business structures

  • Financial statements for the business
    • Profit and loss statement that aligns with the most recent tax return submitted
    • Balance sheet that aligns with the most recent tax return submitted
    • For a new business that has been in operation for less than one year, submit an opening balance sheet only
  • Three years’ Federal Income Tax returns, as filed with the IRS
    • Includes current and prior two years’ federal income tax returns for the business with all schedules and statements attached
    • For businesses less than three years old, substitute personal federal income tax returns for the appropriate number of years with all schedules and statements attached. When submitting personal tax returns, you may black out all social security numbers and all dependent names
    • If personal tax returns are being submitted, personal tax returns must be submitted by any individual that owns 10% or more of the company
    • If your company has applied for an extension to file for the most recent tax year, submit extension paperwork
    • Submitting state returns will delay the processing of your file
  • Please submit copies of the following documents that are currently active (listed under the Liabilities section of the the company’s Balance Sheet):
    • Debt instruments
      • Loan Agreements
      • Note Payables
      • Promissory Notes
      • Surety Agreements
      • Security Agreements
    • Equipment rental and purchase agreements or proof of equipment purchase
    • Real estate leases
  • Copy of bank signature authorization card or corporate resolution
    • This document should be provided by your financial institution
    • If the item does not exist or your financial institution does not release this information, please have your financial institution write a letter on its letterhead indicating the company name, type of accounts held, date account was opened, who has signature authority for those accounts, as well as any stipulations/restrictions pertaining to signatory authority (e.g. two signatures required for amounts greater than $10,000)
  • Proof of capital and/or equity investment by female owner(s)
    • Any document or written statement indicating the method by which the female owner(s) obtained her ownership interest (e.g. cancelled checks, opening bank statement, proof of stock purchase, written statement by owner, list of contributed equipment/expertise, etc.)

PERSONNEL – Requirements are the same for all business structures

  • List of all full and part time employees by name, position and length of service or date of hire, including all owners
  • Employee payroll for the month prior to submitting the application
    • Indicate time span of the pay period on the document
    • For each employee, list his/her name, title/position, hours worked for the pay period indicated, gross pay for the pay period indicated, hourly pay rate and/or commission earned in period (if applicable)
    • Information is required for internal employees, not those who are leased to/from other companies
  • W-2s and/or 1099 forms from every officer, director, or owner receiving compensation from the company for the most recent year

MANAGEMENT INFORMATION – Requirements are the same for all business structures

  • Trust agreement(s) that involve the majority female owner(s)
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan Agreements (ESOPs)
  • Submit copies of the following documents that are currently active:
    • Management/consulting agreements
      • Any agreements with individuals and/or vendors who are providing management/consulting services to the applicant company
      • These are agreements that influence the management and/or operations of the applicant company
      • DO NOT submit client agreements between the applicant company and its customers
    • Service agreements
      • These are agreements that influence the day-to-day operations, including the production and/or distribution of the applicant company’s product or service
    • Affiliate/subsidiary agreements
      • An affiliation is a relationship where 5% or more of a company’s stock is held by a parent company
      • A subsidiary relationship is one where 50% or more of a company’s stock is held by a parent company
      • If the affiliate/subsidiary company is a certified WBE, please include a copy of the WBE certificate; otherwise, include only the agreement
    • Franchise Agreements (if applicable)
    • Union Agreement (if applicable)

GOVERNANCE INFORMATION – Requirements DIFFER by business structure

Sole Proprietorships

  • Assumed Name Documents


  • Partnership Agreements
  • Limited Partnership Certificate
    • If Applicant is a limited partnership, submit a certificate of existence and a copy of the certificate of limited partnership issued by the state of formation
  • Buy-Out Rights Agreement
  • Profit Sharing Agreements

Corporations Note:  Owning the company 100% does not exempt the owner from providing stock certificates.  Also, if 100% owned and minutes are not available, please state so in writing.

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Articles/Charter of Incorporation
  • Current corporate bylaws with all amendments
  • Minutes from shareholders’ first organizational meeting*
  • Minutes from first meeting of board of directors*
  • Minutes from shareholders’ meeting establishing current ownership*
  • Minutes from board of directors’ meeting establishing current ownership*
  • Minutes from most recent meeting of shareholders*
  • Minutes from most recent meeting of board of directors*
  • Statement from the Board Secretary certifying the names, titles, and gender of all current members of the board of directors
  • Both sides of ALL stock certificates issued, including voided and/or cancelled
  • Stock Transfer Ledger (Record of stock certificates issued and transferred)
  • Voting agreements and other equity interests including stock options, warrants, buy/sell agreements, and right of first refusal
  • Schedule of advances made to corporation by shareholders for the preceding three years
  • If an out-of-state corporation, proof of authority to do business in state where corporation is headquartered

*Must be signed and dated

Limited Liability Company

  • Certificate of Organization/Existence/Formation (for businesses in states that issue certificates)
  • Articles of Organization or Articles of Formation and any amendments
  • LLC Regulations, Operating Agreement and/or Member Agreement
  • Member List with Titles and gender
  • Schedule of Advances made to LLC by members for the preceding three years
  • If an out-of-state LLC, proof of authority to do business in state where LLC is headquartered

Additional Documentation Required ONLY if applying for Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification

All businesses seeking WOSB Certification in addition to WBENC WBE certification must also submit:

  • Printout of 1st page of System Award Management (SAM) Registration showing an “Active” status.  Direct Link: www.sam.gov

Partnerships, Corporations, and LLCs must submit one of the following:

  • 1st page of IRS Form 941 (Quarterly Tax Return) for preceding 12 months OR
  • W-3 (Transmittal of Wage & Tax Statements) for past year OR
  • List of all employees, if Forms 941 or W3 are not available for the past year