Felipe Wityk Sanchez
I AM M/WBE CERTIFIED; NOW WHAT?
Many small business owners believe obtaining their M/WBE certification is enough to succeed. Nothing could be more wrong. This article will teach you some little tricks to get more out of your certification.
The benefits of M/WBE certification boil down to one word: ACCESS. Certification gives M/WBEs exclusive access to the best government and private business contracts. Plus, access to exclusive networking events, searchable supplier databases, affordable consulting services, technology programs, and programs designed explicitly for M/WBEs.
But to access all these benefits, you have to work, and for that, I will give you six tips that will allow you to get the most out of your M/WBE certification:
1. Become a member of your city's chamber of commerce that offers services for M/WBE businesses. In New York, you can connect with the New York Women's Chamber of Commerce, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, or The Bronx Chamber of Commerce, which provide free legal advice, financing, contracting and training, and application assistance for minority- and women-owned businesses (M/WBEs). Of these, the New York Women's Chamber of Commerce offers a successful program for M/WBE women called ContractHER. In addition, these chambers provide ongoing training for certified businesses, which will keep you connected to new business opportunities.
2. Save to your computer browser the link to the SBS (Small Business Services), ESD (Empire State Development), and SBA (Small Business Administration) websites, which offer support for certified small businesses. New York continues to lead the nation in economic empowerment and contracting opportunities for MWBEs. In fact, at 30.51% in 2021, New York State officially surpassed the national goal of 30% MWBE utilization. Here are the links to access:
Empire State Division.
Small Business Services
Small Business Administration
3. Check your mail. You will constantly receive emails from the city inviting you to participate in business proposals. Apply to all those that may interest you.
4. Show that you are a M/WBE. Large corporations and non-profit organizations are constantly looking for M/WBE companies to work with because they have supplier diversity programs. Any contract with a certified company counts towards that corporation's supplier diversity goal. So, on your website, your vehicles, your employees' uniforms, your business cards, everywhere, write that your company is M/WBE certified. The motto is "Everyone needs to know that I am M/WBE."
5. Attend all Business Networking events. I know sometimes we don't have enough time, but it is an effort you must make to get the most out of your M/WBE certification.
6. Find out which companies and non-profit organizations have M/WBE firms among their priorities and contact them to offer their services.
If you have your M/WBE Certification, you are fortunate, but now you must keep growing your business; this robust certification will help you achieve it.