29 Jun Certifying Your Company for Diversity Opportunities
Diversity certification is a powerful tool to have in your pocket when you go to market to bid on projects.
If you’re a woman business owner with a go big or go home philosophy, then pursuing diversity certification may be for you.
However, diversity certification isn’t for everyone. Your company needs to be large enough, or quickly scalable, to meet the needs of large corporations or government. Diversity certification also isn’t a guarantee that more business will come your way, but it is a powerful marketing and branding tool to have in your pocket when you go to market to bid on projects.
As a certified business, we often get questions about the process and what is involved. Plus the big question, “Is it worth it?”
Let me first talk about the process. In Canada there are two options for obtaining certifications – WBE Canada (WBE) or WEConnect International.
Before you begin the process you need to determine if you are eligible. The WBE website has a quick check list to help you. It boils down to answering yes to six key questions:
- Are you a legal and a for-profit business headquartered and operating in Canada?
- Are you at least 51 per cent women owned?
- Is the company’s top position held by a woman?
- Is your company currently established?
- Is your company looking to grow?
- Does your company have the capacity (or can it easily scale up) to sell to large corporations?
If you can’t answer yes to all these questions, but you are interested in becoming a diversity supplier, then your first step is to make sure you can change your negative responses to positive responses.
If you did answer yes, then your next step is to register on the WBE website. You’ll be asked whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership or incorporation – each type of business has a specific application.
There are some general requirements regardless of the business structure. You will have to provide documentation about your business, including proof of identification and gender to demonstrate the business is 51 per cent women owned. Resumes of the key women involved are required, as are financial statements and tax returns. From here, the criteria changes based on the ownership structure; you’ll find all the details on the WBE website.
Once the initial application is received, WBE will schedule a site visit to verify information and get to know you and your business.
Certification underlines our key philosophies: empowering women, wherever they want to work.
Is it Worth it?
Now the second question. Is it worth it?
For us it was. It gave us access to the diversity managers of Fortune 1000 companies and governments. As a member, our company profile is included on the WBE Canada website and we can participate in supplier diversity event hosted by WBE Canada, WBENC, and WeConnect International.
Additionally, being Diversity Certified is a powerful marketing tool. But, what makes it work for us is this certification underlines our key philosophies and goals as a company. We believe in empowering women, where ever they want to work. If you have a similar philosophy, then certification may be a goal for which you want to strive as well.
Sales Beacon is passionate about empowering women and developing opportunities in rural communities across Canada. Sales Beacon is proud to hold diversity certification with WBE Canada and WEConnect International and was recently chosen as second runner up in the video category at the WeConnect International Gala 2017.