Category Archives: Certification

Women’s Business Development Center Announces Panelists for Women’s Forum Breakfast at Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference in Chicago

The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is pleased to announce the panelists for the Women’s Forum Breakfast at the 26th Annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference (EWC) taking place September 20, 2012 at Chicago’s McCormick Place – West.  Register now to take advantage of the early bird rates!

Sue Bhatia, Chief Executive Officer
Rose International, Inc.

Ranked 13th on Fast Company’s list of the Top 25 Women Business Builders in North America, Bhatia founded Rose International in the spring of 1993.  Under her leadership, Rose emerged as a force in the IT and Business Services arena, and is a leader in providing innovative end-to-end technology services to both commercial organizations and government agencies from branch offices, Centralized Recruiting Centers and development centers in 21 U.S. cities and India.  With 6,000+ associates and steady revenue growth, Rose International is recognized as one of the country’s fastest-growing and most successful companies, and the largest woman-owned business in St. Louis, MO.

Christie Hefner, Former CEO, Playboy Enterprises, Inc.
Executive Chairman, Canyon Ranch Enterprises

Christie Hefner serves as Executive Chairman of Canyon Ranch Enterprises, a new company leveraging the brand and knowledge of Canyon Ranch via media and business partnerships.  From 1988-2008 she served as Chairman and CEO of Playboy Enterprises, Inc. overseeing global expansion of Playboy’s legendary brand to a wide array of new platforms and markets, transforming a domestic publishing-based business into a global multi-media and lifestyle company.  She was the longest serving female CEO ever of a public company, and she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World by Forbes magazine for three consecutive years.

Laura Ricketts, Director of Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball
Chairman of the Board, Chicago Cubs

Laura Ricketts is a Director and part owner of the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball club as well as Chairman of the Board for Chicago Cubs Charities.  Much of her work with the Cubs is focused on community relations, government relations and philanthropy.  Ricketts is involved with several organizations in the Chicago area community and beyond, currently including serving as the Co-Chair of the Democratic National Committee’s LGBT Leadership Council, and serving on the National Leadership Council for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a national non-profit organization that litigates, educates and engages in public policy work on behalf of LGBT civil rights.

Richelle Shaw, Chief Executive Officer
RTS Publishing, LLC

As the only female African-American public utility owner in the nation, Richelle Shaw’s story of entrepreneurial success is one of true tenacity, hardship and hard work.  A featured expert and leading authority on building successful million dollar businesses, Richelle’s expertise comes from building her first business to $36 million, losing it after the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedies, then, successfully rebuilding the company in five months.  Since 2007, Richelle has been committed to helping entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes she made in her business, and has successfully mentored over 12,000 men and women, in 98 different industries, through her international coaching programs, and currently serves as the featured Money Expert on FOX5 local affiliate, The MORE Show.



Filed under Business, Business Leaders, Certification, Entrepreneur, Small Business, Uncategorized, WBDC, WBDC News, Women in Business

Leveraging the Woman-Owned Small Business Contracting Program

As you probably know by now, in February 2011, the federal government enacted the Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting Program. Despite the fact that women have always been able to do business with the government, and the government has a goal to spend 5% with woman-owned businesses, historically only about 3.5% of the almost $500 billion in federal spending has been with woman-owned small businesses. But now, with the new WOSB Contracting Program, contracting officers can set aside contract opportunities specifically for woman-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged woman-owned small businesses (EDWOSB).

This is great news, and last month, the Women Business Development Center (WBDC) hit the road and presented dynamic workshop events in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Chicago about the WOSB Contracting Program and strategies for leveraging the program to get government and corporate contracts.

These events were valuable and timely for two reasons:

  1. The federal government is in its fourth quarter, and agencies are required to spend their budgets before September 30, 2011. Many agencies are setting aside opportunities for women to assist them in meeting the 5% goal, with the extra benefits of streamlining the competitive pool and minimizing the timeline to meet the September 30 deadline.
  2. On September 14, 2011, the WBDC will hold its 25th Anniversary Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference, where the Women’s Business & Buyers Mart will feature representatives from corporations and government agencies interested in purchasing from women-owned businesses. Business owners who are armed with the strategies and tools presented at the WBDC pre-conference events can present their businesses in a way that enhances their perceived benefits to these government and corporate representatives.

Here are some of the key strategies and actions needed in order to take advantage of the new WOSB Contracting Program that were discussed at the recent workshops.

Answer these key questions to build your contracting strategy:

  • What is your business strategy? Are you a prime contractor? Sub-contractor? Teaming partner?
  • Are you crystal clear on your target’s needs and the solutions you provide?
  • Can you present your value proposition clearly, succinctly and with a solutions-provided focus?
  • Do you have a capability statement? A capability statement is a one page document that identifies your core competencies, past performance and differentiators. You’ll want to create a targeted capability statement once you’ve identified your target organization. Click here for a capability statement template.
  • Do you understand your target’s procurement process?
  • Do you know who the decision makers are? Contact the decision maker via email to request a Capability Briefing and include your capability statement as a PDF. Follow-up via phone.

Find opportunities for your business:
To search the Federal Business Opportunities website to see what contracts have currently been set aside for WOSBs and EDWOSBs:

  1. Visit and click on “Opportunities” on the top of the page
  2. On the Opportunities page, click on the “Advanced Search” tab, and under Set-Aside Code, check the boxes for “Woman Owned Small Business” and “Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business”
  3. You can then further limit the search by selecting NAICS and Classification codes specific to your business
  4. Click “Search” to review list of opportunities

The WOSB Contracting Program is in place…now it’s up to you to take advantage of it! For more information, contact the WBDC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Freida Curry is Director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center at the WBDC.


Filed under Certification, Established Business, Procurement

Small Business Certification

Many small business owners are somewhat familiar with certification, but aren’t sure if it is a tool that will benefit them.  In short, certification of a small business is a review process that gives formal acknowledgment that a business venture is owned and operated by a qualifying person or people, who are underrepresented in an industry.  In general, to become certified a business must be independently owned and operated, must be organized for profit, and cannot be dominate in its field or industry.

The most common business certifications include: Minority Business Enterprise (MBE); Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE); Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE); 8(a) Designation; HUBZone Business Enterprise (HUB); and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE).

Certification is sought by qualified businesses to help leverage contracts within the private and public sectors.  Certification can be an important marketing tool for expanding a company’s visibility with procurement decision-makers.

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Filed under Certification, Marketing