Becoming a Certified Woman Owned Business – The Application Process

Becoming a Certified Woman Owned Business – The Application Process

You are well on the road to becoming a woman owned business! By now you’ve resolved yourself to being patient and knowing that slow and steady wins the race, right? Good. Let’s continue with the application process.


Organization is your key to success. Once you have all of your documents, it will help to put them in a binder with tabs separating each category so that the people reviewing your case can easily find what they need.

Two things to live by:

  • Read the instructions thoroughly that your agency provides to make sure you don’t miss anything.
  • Keep copies of everything. In most cases, you will submit photocopies of the documents and keep the originals for yourself. File those away in a special designated spot in your office for application documents.

Once you hand in your paperwork, your request will go to a review committee that is comprised of attorneys, CPA’s and business professionals. Confidentiality is taken very seriously, so you don’t need to worry about any of your information being compromised. If nothing is missing, the review process should take an average of three weeks. If documents are missing, expect that amount of time to double.


Next will be the in-person interview which is held at your place of business. The review board wants to see the day to day activities of the company and verify that a woman is actually in charge. The best way to prepare for the interview and site visit is simply to be yourself. Have confidence. If you have met all of the criteria, there is nothing to hide and the process will go smoothly.


After the site visit, the review team meets one more time to discuss the results, and your site visit report will be added to your application. If they decide to award you certification, you will receive a certificate in the mail stating that you are a woman owned business enterprise. Then you can open a bottle of champagne and celebrate!

On the flip side, being denied certification means that you have to wait 30 days after being notified to appeal the decision. Note that you will always be given the reasons for your denial so that you are able to contest if necessary. However, you do have to wait a full year before you can apply again, so it is crucial to make sure you have covered all your bases to avoid that lengthy wait period.

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