The State of Ohio’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) program is designed to assist women-owned businesses in obtaining contracts for goods and services, construction, architecture, engineering, information technology, and professional services. The WBE program does not apply a procurement goal or set-aside target for state government contracts. The State of Ohio developed the program because it recognized the need to encourage, nurture and support the growth of women businesses to foster their development and increase the number of qualified competitors in the marketplace.
The below referenced updates have been reviewed and approved by the Joint Commission for Agency Rule Review (JCARR) and scheduled to go into effect on October 9, 2020.
We have created a hotline to receive allegations of possible fraud or abuse in the Minority Business Enterprise (MBE); Encouraging Diversity, Growth, and Equity (EDGE); Women-owned Business Enterprise (WBE); or Veteran-friendly Business Enterprise (VBE) programs. Tips about alleged violations may be reported to the toll-free hotline by calling 1-888-623-8477 (MBE-TIPS). Allegations may be reported between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday by state employees, contractors, or the general public. Callers have the option to remain anonymous. Businesses that violate certification laws or rules risk decertification and the loss of business opportunities. Click here for frequently asked questions about the hotline.
An WBE certified business must be owned and controlled by a woman who is a U.S. citizen and has an established residency in the state of Ohio or a reciprocal state (if certified pursuant to section 123.154(D) of the Revised Code). In addition, the following criteria must be met:
Ohio WBE-certified program participants are eligible for contract assistance, management, and technical assistance.
Reciprocal State Certification
Eligibility for Open-Market Contracts
Management and Technical Assistance
The applicant must complete an application (available here) and provide supporting documentation as required. (A list of the supporting documents can be found here. Please note that only complete applications, which must include all required supporting documentation, will be reviewed.) Applications are subject to an interview and possible onsite review by state compliance officers. Upon application approval, the company receives its WBE-certification by email. Reviews take an average of 60 to 90 business days from the time a completed application is submitted.
For certain applications, however, an “expedited” application reduces processing time due to agreements with partnering states and agencies. To qualify for “expedited” processing, the applicant must (a) submit the expedited application (available here); and (b) provide a valid certificate with an approved program issued by a reciprocal state or partnering agency. Please note: This is a growing list as we work to develop reciprocal agreements with additional states.
In addition to the requirement for WBE certification, any WBE-certified business bidding on a contract awarded by any state agency must meet all applicable pre-qualification requirements.
Steps to Certification
The enabling statutes for the WBE program are R.C. 123.154. The regulations that govern the program are found in Ohio Adm. Code Chapter 123:2-14.
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