You have undoubtedly heard of Women, Minority or Veteran-owned certifications, yet you may be wondering, “Why bother?” Clients and prospects come to me to prepare certifications for several reasons; I decided to share a few of these with you so that if you recognize yourself in one of these scenarios, you can get additional information.
One of my current clients is going through the certification process because they have the opportunity to perform more work for a general contractor for whom they sub out work if they become “certified”. My client is a woman-owned business but they don’t have the certification to prove it. Once they get certified as a Woman Business Enterprise and enter the information into the Woman-Owned Small Business repository with the SBA, the General Contractor will happily funnel them more business. And why would they not, it’s a total win-win. The general contractor can continue doing business with a company they already trust and they can satisfy their small/minority business requirements at the same time.
Another reason my clients have chosen to get certified is in order to partner with other companies to bid on contracts. Oftentimes, Teaming Agreements are formed so that two or more companies can work together to win a large contract that the individual companies may not be able to win on their own. These situations sometimes mean that you are collaborating with a company that may otherwise be considered a competitor; but just as the acronym T.E.A.M. states – Together, Everyone Achieves More.
Most of the time, my clients decide on certifications because they want the opportunities that being certified can afford. Notice I said opportunities and NOT guarantees. Certifications are not an entitlement program nor do they guarantee the business concern that holds it anything. But what certifications are designed to do is even the playing field where it has been found to be uneven and to provide support where it has been found to be lacking.
Women and minorities business owners and small business in general, have not always had the same opportunities to perform as have large businesses. Certification programs have been enacted and goals set forth to bridge the gaps that have been found. As a result, 23% of all federal prime contracting and subcontracting dollars are to go to small business. Also, 5% of those contracts are to go to women-owned business. In an effort to support the men and women who served our country and were injured as a result, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act set an annual goal of no less than 3% of the aforementioned federal prime contracting and subcontracting dollars to go to Service Disabled Veteran-owned Small Business Concerns (SDVOSBC).
I have identified the three main reasons I see most often for working through the certification process. These are by no means the only reasons to get certified if you are able. What I encourage you to do is to get informed, learn what you are eligible for and research the benefits.