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Certification Resources for Women-Owned Businesses

Deciding whether or not to become certified should be carefully considered.  Certifications may depend upon who your target customer is and if being certified makes a difference in this effort.  The process can be time consuming.

The Women's Business Center offers periodic educational sessions regarding WBE/MBE certifications that may help you in determining if certification is the right fit for your business.

Certification programs can help you market your business to both large business and governments. Many large corporations and governmental entities set-aside a percentage of their purchasing contracts for small businesses, minority and/or women owned businesses. Becoming “certified” as one or more of these types of businesses enables a company to bid on contracting opportunities.

Many large corporations accept certification through third parties, such as the Mid America Minority Business Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

Most government entities will require a company to at least go through a streamlined or shortened verification process that is specific to that agency. Certification can take from 30-90 days.

City and State Certification

City of Kansas City, Missouri

Certifies women and minority owned businesses to meet supplier diversity goals on designated projects.  
Contact: (816) 513-1810

State of Kansas

Certifies women and minority owned businesses to supply goods and services to the state or to companies in Kansas.  Business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual or individuals, who have a net worth of less than $750,000 (excluding the equity of the business and primary residence).
Contact Rhonda Harris at (785) 296-3425

State of Missouri

Certifies women and minority owned businesses and offers business development programs.
Contact: Janet Carter or Nancy Heyer at (573) 751-8130


Federal Certification

Department of Transportation

Certifies qualified women and minority owned businesses.
Kansas businesses contact (785) 296-7940 (ask about DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program and its certifiers)
Missouri businesses contact (573) 751-2859 (ask about DOT’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program and its certifiers)

Small Business Administration

Contact Rhonda Hardin, (816) 426-4911

8(a) – intended for business development purposes to help socially and economically disadvantaged business owners.  This program can only be applied for once.
    
HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program -  allows businesses in historically underutilized business zones to receive contract bidding benefits.  Business must have its principal office located within a HUBZone, be owned and controlled by one or more US citizen and have at least 35% of its employees residing in a HUBZone.

Small Disadvantaged Business – is required for businesses seeking disadvantaged status to receive bidding benefits.  Business must be at least 51% owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual or individuals, who have a net worth of less than $750,000 (excluding the equity of the business and primary residence).

Women-Owned Small Business – is for businesses at least 51% owned by one or more women and with management and daily business operations controlled by one or more women.


Other Certifications

MidAmerica Minority Supplier Development Council

Certifies businesses that are 51% owned by an ethnic minority.  
Contact Maggie Riley at (816) 221-4200 x225

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

The WBENC offers a certification for women owned businesses administered through 14 regional affiliates.  Business must be 51% women owned, show proof of effective management of the business (operating position, by-laws, hire-fire and other decision-making role.), demonstrate control of the business as evidenced by signature role on loans, leases and contracts and have US Citizenship or US Resident Alien Status.


Procurement

Just because you are certified, doesn’t mean you are eligible to bid on government contracts or contracts set aside for disadvantaged businesses.    

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) assists business - including small, disadvantaged and woman-owned - in obtaining federal, state and local government grants.   

Missouri businesses contact Shelly Cunningham at the Missouri PTAC - (816) 235-2891

Kansas businesses contact Jason Porch at the Heartland PTAC - (913) 469-2313