New Certification Process

WPEO maintains a stringent screening process under the guidelines of WBENC’s Standards and Procedures.
This ensures that all companies who are certified are legitimately majority owned, operated and controlled by women. All applicants are encouraged to review and understand WBENC’s Standards and Procedures before applying.
Certification Criteria
  1. Majority (at least 51%) ownership by one or more women
  2. Demonstrated female management
  3. Unrestricted female control of the business in legal documents and day-to-day operations
  4. A woman holding the highest defined title in the company’s legal documents
  5. Female contribution of capital and/or industry expertise
  6. Ability to operate independently from non-WBENC certified companies
  7. Status of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Resident Alien for woman owner(s) constituting majority ownership
Apply now
Good to Know: Before You Apply
  • Payments can be made by credit card when submitting the application on WBENCLink or via check or money order payable to WPEO and mailed to the appropriate office. All new certification and recertification applications have a nonrefundable processing fee based on the company’s revenue according to the most recent available tax return or financial statements:

Fees

Revenue Category

Nonrefundable Processing Fee

Under $1 million

$350

$1 M< $5 M

$500

$5M< $10 M

$625

$10M< $50M

$750

$50M+

$875

  • Since you will be required to submit documentation, make sure you have access to the required documents. Even one omission will delay your application
  • Once your application is confirmed as completed by your Regional Partner Organization, it takes up to 90 days to process
  • WPEO can provide limited status updates during this 90-day period—please contact your region’s office directly to request this information
 
The first step is to review WBENC’s Standards and Procedures and gather all required documentation.
To apply for certification, you will need to register and complete an application online at WBENCLink . Since the application window is 90 days, and gathering the required documents may be time-consuming, we advise that you gather and review all documentation prior to registering.
  1. Review WBENC’s Standards and Procedures.
  2. Gather all required documentation.  All documentation must be uploaded in WBENCLink.  The document list is divided into two (2) sections:  Mandatory Documents and Required Documents.  If a document is listed as “Mandatory”, you must upload the actual document or a written statement detailing the reason(s) it is being omitted and/or not applicable to the company.  Documents listed as “Required” that apply to the company must be uploaded or the Not Applicable box must be checked.  Failure to provide the necessary documentation required to ascertain the company’s eligibility is reason for denial.  The following documents must be provided as part of the application: Sworn Affidavit signed by the female owner and notarized by a third party, and the WBENCLink 2.0 Data Access Agreement signed by the female owner.
  3. Register at WBENCLink to start your online application.
  4. Ensure the application is filled out completely and accurately, as it will form the basis of your company’s searchable online profile once you’re certified.
  Apply now
Good to Know
  • To make sure that you can receive emails from WBENCLink 2.0, enter your email address for an email test. You may also add the following email addresses to your Address Book: wpeo-ny@wbenclink.org for companies in the WPEO-NY region or wpeo-dc@wbenclink.org for companies in the WPEO-DC region.
  • Your online application will be deleted from WBENCLink 2.0 after 90 days of non-use, so ensure you have access to all the documents you need for the certification process.
  1. Review your application carefully before submitting. Once you submit, you will not be able to make changes.
  2. Sign your application by selecting “Sign” at the bottom of the application, or by selecting the “Signature” tab at the top of the page.
  3. Pay the nonrefundable processing fee on the Submit tab. You may either opt to pay by credit card or by check.  If you opt to pay by credit card, you will be prompted to enter your credit card information.
  4. Please be sure to submit your application on the next page by selecting “SUBMIT APPLICATION.”
  5. You will receive an email notification from the database if any documents are missing or the Certification Review Committee requires additional information. Once we receive all of the required documentation, your file will await review by committee and a site visit.  The 90-day processing period starts from the day we receive your complete file.
Good to Know
  • All of your documents will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
  • All documents are kept securely, and are only accessible by WPEO staff members.
 
The Certification Committee will complete a thorough Documentation Review of your submitted application, ensuring your business meets WBENC's criteria for certification.
You can be assured that every aspect of your application, along with all required supporting documentation, will be carefully considered. Once the committee has reviewed this information, it will make a preliminary recommendation based on WBENC Standards and Procedures. The WPEO Certification Committees are trained and confidential groups comprised of certified WBEs, Corporate Members and community advocates. In the interest of fairness, certification committee members:
  • With conflicts of interest do not review applicant files
  • In a competing industry do not review applicant files
Good to Know
  • The review process takes approximately 90 days from receipt of your documentation and application fee.
  • WPEO can provide limited status updates during this 90-day period - please contact us directly for this information.
  • Your documents are treated with the utmost confidentiality.
Site visits are an important and required portion of the WBENC certification process to substantiate that your business is operating as per your documented statements.
Once the WPEO Certification Committee has completed its Documentation Review and made an initial recommendation, WPEO staff or members of the Certification Committee will schedule and conduct an on-site visit at your primary place of business with the women owner(s). The purpose of this visit is to ensure that the findings of the Documentation Review are substantiated by the way your business actually operates. The next steps
  • If the on-site review corroborates the Documentation Review, a final recommendation is made.
  • If there is any conflicting information or observation, this information will be documented and resubmitted for review at the next Certification Committee meeting.
Good to Know
  • A minimum of 51% ownership made up of female owners must be present at the site visit.
  • If your business is home-based, the site visit is conducted at your home office.
 
Your business will either be granted or denied certification based on both the documentation and site visit within 90 days of receiving your complete file.
Once the Certification Committee has completed its visit to your business and met with the owner(s), the findings from the visit will be evaluated against the findings from the Documentation Review in order to make a final recommendation. WPEO will notify you via email and letter when a determination has been made. Apply now
The objective, in gathering and reviewing this information, is to investigate and verify each applicant company's compliance with the required Standards and Procedures. The integrity of WBENC certification depends on compliance with these guidelines.

1 Application

The first step is to review WBENC's Standards and Procedures and gather all required documentation.
To apply for certification, you will need to register and complete an application online at WBENCLink . Since the application window is 90 days, and gathering the required documents may be time-consuming, we advise that you gather and review all documentation prior to registering.
  1. Review WBENC’s Standards and Procedures.
  2. Gather all required documentation.  All documentation must be uploaded in WBENCLink.  The document list is divided into two (2) sections:  Mandatory Documents and Required Documents.  If a document is listed as “Mandatory”, you must upload the actual document or a written statement detailing the reason(s) it is being omitted and/or not applicable to the company.  Documents listed as “Required” that apply to the company must be uploaded or the Not Applicable box must be checked.  Failure to provide the necessary documentation required to ascertain the company’s eligibility is reason for denial.  The following documents must be provided as part of the application: Sworn Affidavit signed by the female owner and notarized by a third party, and the WBENCLink 2.0 Data Access Agreement signed by the female owner.
  3. Register at WBENCLink to start your online application.
  4. Ensure the application is filled out completely and accurately, as it will form the basis of your company’s searchable online profile once you’re certified.
Apply now
Good to Know
  • Payments can be made by credit card when submitting the application on WBENCLink or via check or money order payable to WPEO and mailed to the appropriate office. All new certification and recertification applications have a nonrefundable processing fee based on the company’s revenue according to the most recent available tax return or financial statements:

Fees

Revenue Category

Nonrefundable Processing Fee

Under $1 million

$350

$1 M< $5 M

$500

$5M< $10 M

$625

$10M< $50M

$750

$50M+

$875

2 Submission

  1. Review your application carefully before submitting. Once you submit, you will not be able to make changes.
  2. Sign your application by selecting “Sign” at the bottom of the application, or by selecting the “Signature” tab at the top of the page.
  3. Pay the nonrefundable processing fee on the Submit tab. You may either opt to pay by credit card or by check.  If you opt to pay by credit card, you will be prompted to enter your credit card information.
  4. Please be sure to submit your application on the next page by selecting “SUBMIT APPLICATION.”
  5. You will receive an email notification from the database if any documents are missing or the Certification Review Committee requires additional information. Once we receive all of the required documentation, your file will await review by committee and a site visit.  The 90-day processing period starts from the day we receive your complete file.
Good to Know
  • All of your documents will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.
  • All documents are kept securely, and are only accessible by WPEO staff members.

3 Review

The Certification Committee will complete a thorough Documentation Review of your submitted application, ensuring your business meets WBENC's criteria for certification.
You can be assured that every aspect of your application, along with all required supporting documentation, will be carefully considered. Once the committee has reviewed this information, it will make a preliminary recommendation based on WBENC Standards and Procedures. The WPEO Certification Committees are trained and confidential groups comprised of certified WBEs, Corporate Members and community advocates. In the interest of fairness, certification committee members:
  • With conflicts of interest do not review applicant files
  • In a competing industry do not review applicant files
Good to Know
  • The review process takes approximately 90 days from the date on which your application is confirmed as completed by your Regional Partner Organization.
  • WPEO can provide limited status updates during this 90-day period – please contact us directly for this information.
  • Your documents are treated with the utmost confidentiality.

4 Site visit

Site visits are an important and required portion of the WBENC certification process to substantiate that your business is operating as per your documented statements.
Once the WPEO Certification Committee has completed its Documentation Review and made an initial recommendation, WPEO staff or members of the Certification Committee will schedule and conduct an on-site visit at your primary place of business with the women owner(s). The purpose of this visit is to ensure that the findings of the Documentation Review are substantiated by the way your business actually operates. The next steps
  • If the on-site review corroborates the Documentation Review, a final recommendation is made.
  • If there is any conflicting information or observation, this information will be documented and resubmitted for review at the next Certification Committee meeting.
Good to Know
  • A minimum of 51% ownership made up of female owners must be present at the site visit.
  • If your business is home-based, the site visit is conducted at your home office.

5 Determination

Your business will either be granted or denied certification based on both the documentation and site visit within 90 days of receiving your complete file.
Once the Certification Committee has completed its visit to your business and met with the owner(s), the findings from the visit will be evaluated against the findings from the Documentation Review in order to make a final recommendation. WPEO will notify you via email and letter when a determination has been made. The objective, in gathering and reviewing this information, is to investigate and verify each applicant company’s compliance with the required Standards and Procedures. The integrity of WBENC certification depends on compliance with these guidelines.