Apple Growth Partners

Women Business Owners: Take Advantage of Unique Certifications

By AGP’s Women Business Owner Initiative 

AGP’s Women Business Owner Leaders

One of the shared values of Apple Growth Partners is “Commitment to Excellence”. We strive to improve ourselves by playing to our strengths continually. Apple Growth Partners is proud to work with women business owners in Northeast Ohio and beyond, supported by a well-qualified team of nearly 30 female accountants and business advisors. Our team is excited to launch a new initiative to empower, educate and advance women-owned businesses.

Women business owners have unique advantages that are frequently underutilized. In addition to grant programs, there are two types of certifications that every woman-owned business should consider for the growth of her company.

Women-Owned Small Business certification (WOSB)

The first is federally recognized and allows governments and corporations to actively seek out women-owned businesses as part of their objectives and goals as it relates to social and economic funding. The certification must be renewed every year and takes 60-90 days to certify.

Certification criteria include:

  • At least 51% owned by a woman or women
  • Primarily managed by women
  • The female owner must be a U.S. citizen
  • The company must be considered “small” within the industry (as defined by the SBA)

Economically disadvantaged women-owned businesses (EDWOSB)

Certification criteria include:

  • All items above plus:
    • Personal net worth must be less than $750,000
    • Average annual income under $350,000 for the prior three (3) years
    • Value of personal and business assets cannot exceed $6 million

To become certified, you can work with National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), or El Paso Chamber of Commerce. These agencies have vast experience in helping women-owned businesses in a myriad of areas.

Documentation required for WOSB certification includes completed application, proof of active registration in System for Award Management (SAM), 1st page of IRS Form 941, W-3 from the previous year, or current list of employees if first two items don’t apply. If you’re a current Apple Growth Partners client, we are happy to help gather and submit this documentation for you.

Women Business Enterprise (WBE)

The second certification is used by state, local and other government agencies such as authorities, airlines, and the private sector. Generally, you can be certified within 90 days, and it’s an annual certification.

Certification criteria include:

  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by women
  • Owner(s) must be a U.S. citizen
  • Principal place of business is within the U.S.
  • Have the experience to succeed and the required licenses if necessary in your field

You can self-certify through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or work with WBENC, NWBOC, and other national, state and local agencies.

Documentation for WBE certification is more extensive, including certificates, articles of organization, proof of identification, financial statements, income tax returns, contractual agreements, personnel records, background information of the company, resumes of key personnel, and more.

All agencies listed above have ample resources to help women business owners learn about the two certifications and gather the information necessary to apply. In addition, our team works with several banks and organizations with experience in this field and would be happy to help point them in the right direction or connect them with the right resources. If you’re a woman business owner, we’d love to talk to you – contact us today and we can help grow your business.