Why become certified as a women-owned business?


I am working with a client who has the opportunity to become certified as a women-owned business. She is interested in better understanding the tangible benefits associated with becoming certified as a women's owned business. There seems to be a general thought that it helps with marketing (opening doors) -- but finding information on the real and tangible benefits is very difficult. Is it just a feel good thing?

What have you experienced to be the advantages of being certified as a women-owned business?

The question is intentionally industry-neutral -- but if your experience is in a specific area, like technology or service industry -- that would be helpful to understand.

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asked Sep 15 '11 at 02:14
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points
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  • To the person that downvoted this -- I honor your anonymous vote -- but I am very curious why? Is this not a legitimate question? Is it not clear enough? – Joseph Barisonzi 12 years ago
  • Walmart just announced a significant initiative ($20B) to source from women-owned businesses: http://goo.gl/oi3thJoseph Barisonzi 12 years ago

2 Answers


In my experience working with women-certified start-up business there were several good reasons to become certified as a women-owned business:

  1. Business Development: Many major companies (and the government) have programs to encourage women-owned businesses. Some are quotes, others simply prvode invaluable access to critical decision makers. This allows you to build the relationship necessary for your company to be considered. Getting a chance to bid on a contract is often half the game. Being a women owned business will never guarantee you the contract, but it will increase the times you will “get to bat”
  2. Marketing: I experience that there were lots of vendors, and customers – that showed an affinity for our company because we were a women owned business. It made a difference in their pricing (vendor) and their decision to work with us (customer). We didn’t lead with the fact in our marketing—but it was part of communicating who we were.
  3. Community: All start-ups need a community for support. Through the network of women-owned businesses, our owner was able to find support and encouragement that traditional business networking groups simply didn’t provide. Of course you didn’t need to be certified to access these communities—but it was part of it.

There can be a wide range of individual perspectives about the role gender (and race or ethnicity) should play in the development of a start-up. But the reality is that women remain significantly under represent in board rooms, leadership, and ownership in companies around the world. This under representation has implications of political power and access, civil liberties, human rights, violence against women and girls and move

answered Dec 1 '11 at 16:48
66 points


My limited experience with this has been that being certified as women-owned (or minority-owned, etc) is only an advantage if you do business with the US Government. Other than that it is pretty much useless. From what I have seen the Government is the only entity that takes that into consideration when making business decisions.

If your client wants to do business with the US Government, then it is a must have. However, if she won't be doing business with the Government, then it's not going to help her.

answered Sep 15 '11 at 06:40
Zuly Gonzalez
9,194 points
  • Most governmental entities have quotas (thought they call them something else) to meet for doing business with companies owned by protected classes of people. The Feds talk about it a lot but they exist at virtually all levels of government. – Jim Blizard 12 years ago

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