WOMEN BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (WBE) PROGRAM
The State of Ohio’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) program is designed to assist women-owned businesses in obtaining contracts for goods and services, construction, architecture, engineering, information technology, and professional services. The WBE program does not apply a procurement goal or set-aside target for state government contracts. The State of Ohio developed the program because it recognized the need to encourage, nurture and support the growth of women businesses to foster their development and increase the number of qualified competitors in the marketplace.
A WBE certified business must be owned and controlled by a woman who is a U.S. citizen and has an established residency in the state of Ohio or a reciprocal state (if certified pursuant to section 123.154(D) of the Revised Code). In addition, the following criteria must be met:
- The business must
- have been in business for at least one year prior to applying; and
- be at least 51 percent women-owned; and
- The business owner must
- possess requisite knowledge of the business and industry in which she is applying;
- have day-to-day control over the business, exercising final authority over all aspects of daily operations, including but not limited to, operations, financial and business management, human resources and policy decisions; and
- possess all licenses and permits required by law to perform the scope of work within classifications requested.
Benefits of WBE Certification
Ohio WBE-certified program participants are eligible for contract assistance, management, and technical assistance.
Reciprocal State Certification
- Ability to utilize Ohio WBE-certification to apply for certification with reciprocal states, doing business in those states as a WBE-certified business
Eligibility for Open-Market Contracts
- Certified businesses are listed in a searchable database (located in Quick Links)
Management and Technical Assistance
- Access to Minority Business Assistance Centers and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which assist business with identifying federal, state and local contracting and subcontracting opportunities
- Access to free accounting assistance, structuring internal accounting systems, auditing management records, business plan development, technical advisory services, marketing plans and evaluation of company operations/management processes
- Access to business development organizations that facilitate training, strategic management, networking and mentoring opportunities with major corporations
Steps for WBE Certification
The applicant must complete an application (available here) and provide supporting documentation as required. (A list of the supporting documents can be found here. Please note that only complete applications, which must include all required supporting documentation, will be reviewed.) Applications are subject to an interview and possible onsite review by state compliance officers. Upon application approval, the company receives its WBE-certification by email. Reviews take an average of 60 to 90 business days from the time a completed application is submitted.
For certain applications, however, an “expedited” application reduces processing time due to agreements with partnering states and agencies. To qualify for “expedited” processing, the applicant must (a) submit the expedited application; and (b) provide a valid certificate with an approved program issued by a reciprocal state or partnering agency. Please note: This will be a growing list as we work to develop reciprocal agreements with additional states.
In addition to the requirement for WBE certification, any WBE-certified business bidding on a contract awarded by any state agency must meet all applicable pre-qualification requirements.
Steps to Certification