With its first 20 years in the history books, where does the nation’s largest third-party certifier of women-owned businesses go from here?
The organization’s first 20 years were a period of immense growth. Today, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council (WBENC) boasts more than 14,300 WBENC-certified women business enterprises (WBEs) and 300 corporate and government members. To kick off the new decade, WBENC rolled out a new and refreshed brand, giving the 21-year-old organization a fresh look and feel. Sporting a new, modern and sophisticated logo, WBENC looks like the dynamic, innovative network it has become.
With a solid foundation and a fully engaged and energized network, WBENC is poised to continue its trajectory of growth and success in promoting and developing womenowned businesses. According to WBENC President and CEO Pamela Prince-Eason, “As we have for the past 20 years, we’ll continue to bring great people and great businesses together.”
Prince-Eason continues, “As we approach the next decade of WBENC, we are immensely grateful for the contributions and engagement from the WBENC network. We continue to be amazed by the passion and perseverance within our network as we work toward the common goal of elevating and empowering women-owned businesses.” “Join Forces. Succeed Together” is not only WBENC’s theme but the organization’s operating mantra. They’ve recognized that success is only possible when you partner with constituents toward a common set of goals.
Offering best-in-class certification for women-owned businesses will continue to be the cornerstone of WBENC’s mission. WBENC certification is already accepted by more than 1,000 corporations, representing some of America’s most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and government entities. WBENC will continue to ensure the highest standards of certification which women business owners and corporations have come to rely on.
The organization is laser-focused on women’s business development, and as such, will continue to invest in additional programming, education and events to help nurture and promote women-owned businesses to fuel economic growth. Some examples of WBENC programs are: Women of Color Outreach & Development Program, WBENC Energy Executive Program, Robert Half Accelerated Leadership Development Program, Tuck-WBENC Strategic Growth Program and Wells Fargo WBE Development Program, among others.
As WBENC looks to the future, the network is cultivating the next generation of women-owned businesses. Since 2008, WBENC has offered its Student Entrepreneur Program, which has graduated nearly 200 students from more than 60 colleges and universities nationwide. Last year, WBENC launched, NextGen, a program which provides networking and educational programming for those in the network under the age of 40. The program is designed to help nurture and develop the network’s next leaders, while drawing in new women’s business enterprises (WBEs) to ensure that millennial women entrepreneurs have the support system necessary for success.
The collaborations of the past will continue in the future. WBENC is committed to working with corporate and government members to recognize and promote best-in-class diversity and inclusion practices. The organization will continue to rely on the strength of its network—Regional Partner Organizations, corporate and government members, and WBEs.
As further testament to WBENC’s efforts to “Join Forces. Succeed Together,” the organization recently announced a new partnership model that will help further fulfill its mission of supporting and developing women-owned businesses. In its first National Partner Organization (NPO) agreement, WBENC is strengthening its relationship with the non-profit organization, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a leading public policy organization that advocates on behalf of women business owners.
In addition to strengthening the WBENC network, the organization is launching large-scale public awareness campaigns, as well as regular content and features, on why, where and how to buy Women Owned. With this further investment in the Women Owned Logo program, WBENC seeks to build a broad consumer movement of support for women-owned businesses.
“We are very optimistic as we head into the next 20 years of WBENC, in large part because of our amazing and dedicated network, and strong partnerships with allies in promoting women and diversity in business,” said Pamela Prince-Eason. With its commitment to collaboration, strengthening its network, developing leaders of the future, and further engaging consumer participation in growth, WBENC is positioned for success in its next 20 years.
WBENC President & CEO
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