USWCC | Certification FAQ's
USWCC | Women's Business Certifications
“Opening doors around the globe for women business owners"
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Frequently Asked Questions:
- How do I obtain a USWCC Certification?
To get started, click on the "Get Started Now" tab and complete our certification interest form.
Once we have your complete application, your certification process takes approximately 45-90 days. The only exceptions to this time frame are for files where our review panel requests additional documentation (and we must wait for your response), or if a Facilities and Management Onsite Review is scheduled. We also offer expedited certification for an additional fee. If you have a specific business reason that requires a quick turn around, we can work with you. It is our desire to help you maximize your opportunities. You may also read our Certification Process guide.
- Why do I need a USWCC Federal | Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification?
The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce is an approved 3rd Party Certifier for the federal government's Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program as authorized by section 811 of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000, Public Law 106-554 (15 U.S. C. 637(m)). If your firm seeks to take part in the federal WOSB set-aside program, you may elect to secure this certification. View additional details at the Small Business Administration website. [View eligible industries here. Substantially underrepresented industries (eligible for WOSB Certification) are shown on pages 11-18.]
- Why do I need a USWCC Federal | Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) Certification?
The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce is an approved 3rd Party Certifier for the federal government's Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program as authorized by section 811 of the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 2000, Public Law 106-554 (15 U.S. C. 637(m)). If your firm seeks to take part in the federal EDWOSB set-aside program, you may elect to secure this certification. View additional details at the Small Business Administration website. [View eligible industries here. Underrepresented industries (eligible for the EDWOSB Certification) are shown on pages 1-10.]
- Why do I need a USWCC | National Women’s Business Enterprise™ (NWBE) Certification?
Many women-owned firms seek access to opportunities with government, B2B, and supply chain opportunities. The USWCC | NWBE certification provides clear and trusted authentication of your firm's women-owned status.
- Why do I need a USWCC | International Women’s Business Enterprise™ (IWBE) Certification?
The USWCC | International Women’s Business Enterprise™ Certification may assist your business in leveraging opportunities through the assistance of supplier diversity organizations within large corporations. The IWBE designation certifies that you are women-owned, and shows your international preparedness status. Through the USWCC | IWBE designation, you signify your desire and capabilities to work in global markets.
- Why do I need a USWCC | Federal Women's Business Enterprise Certification™ (FWBE)?
Your firm is not required to hold any women-owned business certification to perform federal or local government work. However, many firms have asked the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce to provide a certification that can be used to help authenticate a firm's women-owned small business status. (Note: This certification option was added June 2011. Many firms now leverage the NWBE certification for their government and prime contractor credentials. With the addition of new standards in the federal contracting system, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce has added the FWBE certification.)
- What if I want more than one of the USWCC Certifications?
Many firms do seek multiple USWCC Certifications. When you apply for more than one certification at a time, you pay just one fee. However, if you complete one certification and then seek a second type of USWCC Certification, additional fees are charged. Please click on the "Get Started" tab at the top of this page to select the correct path for your certification needs.
- I already have a state or local women-owned certification. What are my options?
Businesses secure women-owned certifications for a variety of reasons including specific requirements of government entities, access to corporate supplier diversity programs, assurance of women-owned status in B2B purchasing, and (more generally) to promote one's business authentication and status.
If your firm already holds a certification from a state, local or third-party certifier, you may not need to secure a USWCC certification. Many business owners have expressed that securing a certification from the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce is a benefit to their firm. We recommend you make the best determination for your firm. We regularly hold webcasts to provide insights into certification needs and answer any questions you might have regarding the specific needs of your firm. And, you may always contact our support team for additional assistance.
- What are your standards for certification?
- At least fifty-one percent ownership by a woman or women
- Proof of effective management and control of the business
- Documented evidence of contribution of capital and/or expertise
- U.S. Citizenship or Legal Resident Alien status (for FWBE certifications)
PLEASE NOTE: Our WOSB and EDWOSB certifications strictly follow federal guidelines as detailed by the Small Business Administration. We recommend you peruse the SBA website for additional details.
- Do you require a site visit?
The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce Certification Team makes a determination regarding the need for a Facilities and Management Onsite Review. You will be notified if your firm has been selected for this review.
- How much does it cost to obtain a USWCC certification?
All USWCC certifications and renewals are $275 for USWCC Business and Business Plus Members; $350 for non-members. If you are not a USWCC Business or Business Plus member, please consider joining the USWCC -- we're good for your business!
- My company is not based in the U.S. Can I obtain a USWCC International Women’s Business Enterprise™ certification?
Yes, absolutely. Firms based outside of the U.S. are very important to this process. In addition to providing a USWCC | IWBE™ certification, we can help you find business partners in the U.S. to better position you for large corporate opportunities.
- What happens if I am denied certification?
If you are denied certification, you will be informed of the reason for denial and provided an opportunity to appeal.
- I have additional questions. How do I contact you?
Please go here.
Important: Due to the detailed nature of the certification process and our obligation to document communications, we ask that you understand most of our communications with you will be in writing. Generally, we are able to answer basic questions about the certification forms and tools used to submit your application, signatures and uploaded documents and direct you to the federal rules for the WOSB/EDWOSB program. However, we cannot advise you regarding your specific answers to application questions.