WBEA BUSINESS EXPO – May 28-29, 2014 – G.R. BROWN CONVENTION CENTER
Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance answers some key questions that women business owners or potential business owners may have about WBEA and the certification process.
- Tell us about the WBEA? The Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to increasing business opportunities for women-owned businesses and corporate members through education, programs, and professional networking. Within our 94 county service area, WBEA is the third party certification agency that provides nationally recognized certification for women owned business interested in pursuing corporate and government contracting opportunities. WBENC is the national organization that certifies women owned businesses.
- What is certification? Being certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise means that a business is confirmed as 51% owned, managed, and controlled by a woman or women. This is especially important for corporations who desire to ensure they are awarding contracts to small businesses owned by women in various industries. The WBENC certification for women-owned businesses is one of the most widely recognized and respected certifications in the nation. Accepted by thousands of corporations within the country and a number of federal and government agencies, your WBENC certification will be an important marketing tool for expanding your company’s visibility among decision makers in corporate supply chain, diversity, and procurement.
- How will certification help a business grow? WBEA supports WBEs with scholarships for professional development and educational sessions to help grow their business and their teams. Being certified affords access to corporate and government entities as well as other women owned businesses to pursue future business opportunities and mentoring. Certification provides 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. Certified WBEs are able to promote their business to a vast marketplace and promote services and products through sponsorship of WBEA events.
- When is the right time for certification? Certification is right when as a business owner, you are ready to grow your network, increase your capacity, and develop and expand your brand. Being a part of WBEA means you have a ready source of women business owners to call on and connect with through the course of your business. Currently, WBEA encompasses over 760 women owned businesses locally and over 12,000 nationally. Today, WBEs in our marketplace represent $8.9 billion dollars in revenue and over 48, 000 jobs created.
- How does a business owner manage growth or start-up phase? We are happy to house our Small Business Administration funded resource center. The WBEA Women’s Business Center is tasked with assisting business owners with their start up and growth phases. The WBC’s staff provides free one-on-one consulting and free and reduced training. Managing the growth phase is integral to the sustainability of a business. Through the WBC, WBEA works with business owners to determine what is limiting growth and potential, and how turn warning signs into opportunities.
- What are effective ways for me, as a business owner, to change my usual habits and add new management skills that grow my company? The best way is to look at your growth plan and/or take your business plan off the shelf and assess your core competencies, strengths and weaknesses. In working with business owners to determine their strategy for growth, we recommend addressing staffing needs for growth beyond the $4 million revenue mark, evaluating access to funding and ensuring your company has the insurance and scope required for growth and or contract procurement. For companies reaching beyond $10 million in revenue, we start looking at market opportunities for expansion, valuation, acquiring new ventures and diversification. The biggest part is allocating time and resources that really open the lens and start working on the business instead of being on the inside.
- What is the critical element for a small business wishing to launch or grow? I would say there are three critical elements: funding, staffing, and marketing. The next step would be to define your leadership strategy and find a mentor. Women business owners are innovative and resourceful, yet we often forget to reach for the support and mentorship known to increase capacity and create sustainable success. WBEA forges support from within and at every level. Here you can mentor based on your expertise and leadership skills as well tap a higher level of leadership knowledge base for continued success. We don’t just want to level the playing field for women business owners, we want to create the playing field.
“Bolder Ideas and Actions” is the theme of the 2014 Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance EXPO and Christine R. Spray personifies bolder ideas and is definitely a woman of action. The best-selling author and founder of the National Business Development Association will speak at the Expo’s annual luncheon, which will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 29, 2014 at the Hilton Americas Hotel. The signature fundraiser of the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance, the WBEA Business EXPO has been an outlet for women-owned companies and corporate members that are the “best of the best” in Women Business Enterprise (WBE) growth and supplier diversity. The luncheon is an intricate component of the WBEA Business EXPO and provides the opportunity for a dynamic model of its mission to encourage, educate and challenge attendees to become fearless and grow in their respective industries. For more information, go to www.wbea-texas.org.
Phyllis J. Bailey