MADISON – The Department of Commerce (Commerce) chose the 20th anniversary of the Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WIBC) to officially announce the state’s newest initiative for women-owned businesses.

“In today’s competitive market, it’s imperative that businesses find ways in which to stand out from the rest,” said Secretary Mary P. Burke. “The Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) designation is a great marketing tool that can help open doors for qualified women- owned businesses.”


This much-anticipated new program, about which Commerce has had several hundred inquiries, provides women-owned (51 percent majority) businesses the opportunity to expand their markets to government and corporations that recognize the value of doing business with women-owned firms.


Designation as a certified business enterprise owned by a woman may provide additional procurement opportunities. Certification on its own does not guarantee additional contracts, but when combined with strategic marketing it can be a useful tool in business expansion. There are no preference set-asides for state contracting opportunities awarded to WBEs.


However, many corporations and government agencies have diversity goals and need to buy services and supplies from certified women-owned businesses. The certification can help open doors for WBEs if they actively research those businesses.


One way to find out more about the types of businesses that have diversity goals is to attend events such as business and buyers’ markets.


The website also provides instructions on how to apply for status as a Wisconsin WBE. Visit: http://commerce.wi.gov/BD/BD-WomensResourceIndex.html