There are a lot of things I’m proud of as the co-founder of Brand825. Specifically, it pleases me to no end that Brand825 is a women-owned business certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
What Is the WBENC?
The WBENC is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled and operated by women in the United States. The council partners with 14 regional partner organizations to provide its renowned certification to women-owned businesses throughout the country. And let me tell you, the certification process is incredibly thorough.
Why Do I Think WBENC Certification Is a Big Deal?
According to the 2020 annual report from the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC), women-owned businesses represent an estimated 42 percent of all U.S. businesses (nearly 13 million), employ 9.4 million workers, and generate $1.9 trillion in revenue. And the number of women-owned businesses grew by 21 percent between 2014 and 2019.
I believe the world benefits from having a large array of women-owned businesses, and it’s important to support them. Not to mention, working with a women-owned business comes with many advantages and benefits. Here are just a few of them:
You Can Save Money
Let’s start with a little history: As part of the Small Business Act of 1953, Congress created the Small Business Administration, whose charter specifies the administration ensures small businesses a “fair proportion” of government contracts and sales of surplus property. Then in 1969, President Nixon signed an executive order that led to the creation of the Minority Business Development Agency.
Such actions paved the way for the federal government to provide opportunities, grants and loans to women- and minority-owned businesses. Saving a little money at the top enables these businesses to offer competitive pricing and put together aggressive bids for business opportunities, both of which benefit consumers financially.
In many cases, there are also incentives for companies to use businesses owned by minorities and women. There are tax breaks granted by the federal government for businesses that purchase their materials and supplies from a minority-owned business. Tax liabilities are also reduced for any company that uses services or labor provided by minorities.
Also, if there is a minority- or women-owned business in which you want to invest, then you’re in luck. Federal and state agencies also provide tax credit and capital gains tax waiver inducements to investors buying into minority-owned businesses.
You’ll Tap into a Diverse Network of Clients and Vendors
The community of women-owned businesses is tightly knit, because many such businesses band together to help each other learn, sharpen skills, share customer referrals and diversify client portfolios. Brand825 has friendships and partnerships with several women-owned businesses in and around Nashville, and they benefit us greatly.
When you partner with a women-owned business, you are tapping into a vibrant and diverse network of vendors that you may not know you needed. In addition, the women-owned business you use could recommend you to other women-owned companies who may need your services, growing your pipeline and creating new revenue opportunities.
You’re Supporting a Deserving Business
There is a big discrepancy in this country when it comes to venture capital support of women-owned businesses. In 2018, female founders received only 2.2 percent of $130 billion in venture capital funding. On top of that, Hispanic and Black women make up 50 percent of all women-owned firms, but they raised only 0.32 percent and 0.0006 percent, respectively, of venture capital funding in the past decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic was especially tough on female-owned businesses. From February to April 2020, the number of active, female business owners plummeted by 25 percent.
When you support a women-owned business, you’re helping a business that has traditionally received less support and attention compared to its counterparts in the majority. You’re also creating essential competition that bolsters the market and levels the playing field.
Women Are More Collaborative … and Creative
The findings of a study from music researchers at Columbia Business School, INSEAD, UC Irvine and Northwestern recently caught my attention. The study dug into “structural and cultural differences in the work context of creative producers,” exploring how people come to conclusions through divergent thinking.
The study found that women are engaged in creative fields like art, music and literature at higher rates than men, while also making the case that women are generally more creative than men.
Researchers pointed out that in business settings, “men’s independent entrepreneurial behavior is usually celebrated — while women get negatively referred to as bossy or disruptive.” But, they said women have a certain creative advantage in music because they’re more collaborative and open to working with others.
Ready to Open Some Doors?
The WBENC believes “diversity promotes innovation, opens doors, and creates partnerships that fuel the economy.” If you’ve never worked with a women-owned business before, there has never been a better time to give one a shot.