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BUSINESS CERTIFICATION: WOMEN BUSINESS ENTERPRISE (WBE) PROGRAM

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.

Ohio Administrative Code Updates

Ohio Administrative Code 123:2-14

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.

 

Certified Business Owners:
See Something, Say Something

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.


WBE Eligibility

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:

  • The business must
    • have been in business for at least one year prior to applying; and
    • be at least 51 percent women-owned; and
  • The business owner must
    • possess requisite knowledge of the business and industry in which she is applying;
    • have day-to-day control over the business, exercising final authority over all aspects of daily operations, including but not limited to, operations, financial and business management, human resources and policy decisions; and
    • possess all licenses and permits required by law to perform the scope of work within classifications requested.

Benefits of WBE Certification

Ohio WBE-certified program participants are eligible for contract assistance, management, and technical assistance.

Reciprocal State Certification

  • Ability to utilize Ohio WBE-certification to apply for certification with reciprocal states, doing business in those states as a WBE-certified business

Eligibility for Open-Market Contracts

  • Certified businesses are listed in a searchable database (located in Quick Links)

Management and Technical Assistance

  • Access to Minority Business Assistance Centers and Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which assist business with identifying federal, state and local contracting and subcontracting opportunities
  • Access to free accounting assistance, structuring internal accounting systems, auditing management records, business plan development, technical advisory services, marketing plans and evaluation of company operations/management processes
  • Access to business development organizations that facilitate training, strategic management, networking and mentoring opportunities with major corporations

Steps for WBE Certification

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

  1. Visit wbe.ohio.gov
  2. Download WBE application (available here as PDF)
  3. Complete the form
  4. Submit completed application and supporting documentation as required to das-eod.bccu@das.ohio.gov.

Business Resources


Statutory and Regulatory Authority

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.

 

General Contact

4200 Surface Road
Columbus, Ohio 43228
Phone: 614-466-8380
Fax: 614-728-5628
Email: das-eod@das.ohio.gov


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