Post by Amy Blais, contributing Women On Business writer
In light of recent events in our economy, we are seeing large corporations go through mergers, vendor lists streamlined and relationships with corporate contracts changing. During these times of change, it is imperative for women owned businesses to maintain their relationships with large corporations, even if their primary diversity contact leaves. As corporations downsize their supply chains, you want to stay on their list, and WBENC certification helps to ensure that you will. WBENC certification as a WBE means that a business concern has gone through a rigorous and stringent certification process to confirm the business is owned, managed, and controlled by a woman or women.
It is important for certified WBEs to continue to attend networking events to strengthen existing relationships and build new ones. This gives you an opportunity to explore clients you may not have considered in the past. By networking, and reaching out to companies, you can form relationships that being certified will help you generate and maintain, even if people in a company evolve. I encourage those who are certified to keep certifications up to date and those who are not certified to consider doing so. It can be an important tool in opening new opportunities and potential contracts.
One example of a networking event is The Competitive Edge Conference. This year’s conference entitled, “Maximizing Opportunities for Minority/Women Owned Businesses,” allowed business owners to meet professionals in the public and private sectors. As a business woman, you should be encouraged to ask for introductions from current clients, contracts, friends or organizations such as the WPEO. This helps facilitate small businesses with contracting and procurement opportunities, and presents M/WBEs the opportunity to network with procurement specialists, General Contractors, and key decision makers. It is also an opportunity for new vendors to learn how to become certified. Remember, having your certification in your tool kit can only help to leverage those relationships that you build.