If you’re a woman business owner who’s looking to get larger contracts, there’s a tool you might be missing. Certifying your company as woman-owned can open doors by introducing you to some of the largest buyers in South Florida and in the nation.
The Women’s Business Enterprise Council of Florida (WBEC Florida) is a Miami-based nonprofit that certifies companies as women-owned so they meet supplier diversity requirements of the largest corporations as well as federal government agencies and some state and local government entities. To qualify, companies have to be at least 51% owned by a woman or a team of women. Other organizations certify companies 51% owned by minority, veteran and LGBTQ owners. WBEC Florida is the regional partner organization for WBENC, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Our WBEC South Florida Regional Program Director is Carmen Perez.
“Gaining certification can be life-changing for small business owners by helping their companies grow into larger enterprises,” said Carmen Perez, WBEC Florida’s Regional Program Director in South Florida. “For you, this could mean more income, a larger sphere of influence and the ability to provide jobs. The key is to use all the tools in your toolbox — and use them wisely.”
As a regional partner organization of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), WBEC Florida is part of a national network of 14 regional nonprofits that certify women-owned companies, which means certification is valid on a national level. National events including conferences, trade shows and pitch competitions to help you meet and work with other members like you as well as corporate and government representatives.
” Specially now, during these difficult times, it so important to make sure you use all the resources available to ensure you and you business have the best tools and opportunities to succeed.“
Perhaps the best benefit of becoming certified through WBEC Florida is the local and statewide programming the organization offers. Its Wednesday Window virtual meetings offer weekly opportunities for education, connection with corporate supplier diversity representatives and networking with other women-owned businesses statewide. Monthly meet-and-greet events with smaller groups of women business owners give owners a chance to compare experiences and share best practices. Currently, all of the meetings are held on Zoom because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the meet-and-greets typically are held at local restaurants and other businesses.
“In all of these meetings, we share the most current information and facts to help your growth as a woman-owned business,” Carmen Perez said. “Our mission is to promote women in business and women business owners — not only to certify women business owners, but also to champion and collaborate with other professional partners. For that reason, we are constantly creating new content.”
In 2021 launching a new program called The Growth Shift, it’s designed to help women who don’t yet own businesses, own less than 51% of their companies or franchises that don’t qualify for certification. The Growth Shift helps them navigate transitions to reach similar goals that can be obtained through certification, growth is out there.
“The regional directors have local insights on opportunities, we host matchmaking events for members to connect and establish business relationships and provide mini workshops to help you elevate your business expertise”, Carmen Perez added. “We have contacts throughout the state eager to support you and your business. In the South Florida region which consist of Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, we currently have 231 WBEC members who employ more than 10,000 workers, and they have an average of 15 years in business.”
Webinars presented by Regional Program Director Carmen Perez and her colleagues at WBEC Florida are available at www.wbecflorida.org. Topics fall into three categories of development: personal, business and company. They range from “Organization 101 for the Mompreneur” to “Three Tips to Get You Noticed by Corporate Buyers” to “Sharing Your Story in the Media.”
Join our Free Online community!
We are on a mission to help business owners throughout the state of Florida. Our Facebook community is FREE and a great place to learn more about the benefits of certification and all that we offer.