Post by Dr. Marsha Firestone, contributing Women On Business writer
Earlier this month, the WPEO signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the New Jersey Department of Treasury, Division of Minority and Women Business Development at the WPEO Breakthrough Breakfast. New Jersey State Treasurer, R. David Rousseau, co-signed the document with me, which allows women-owned businesses to be certified more quickly and easily. I believe this certification is so important for WBEs, to be included in the registry of Women-Owned businesses, and to increase their access and foster their relationships with corporations. By making the process easier, I hope that more women will be motivated to get certified. The connections you make when certified, especially at events, are some of the best you can make.
The MOU with New Jersey will offer an added benefit to WPEO-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises, the ability to fast-track their public sector certification, which is so important to a woman owned business. Normally, the certification process is long series of applications and documents. The process will be accelerated for those women-owned businesses that are not yet certified in New Jersey, limiting it to a few single-page documents. This allows WBEs to compete for procurement opportunities with major corporations in the public and private sectors sooner due to the increased access they gain from certification. Certified WBEs will be able to form connections, attend events, and network with people they may not have been able to before.
With the new agreement between the WPEO and the State of New Jersey, hundreds of more businesses will become certified WBEs, giving them high visibility and exposure for contracting opportunities. The WPEO also has similar agreements with the city and state of New York, as well as The Commonwealth of Virginia. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, there are more than 10.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States that employ 13 million people, and generate $1.9 trillion in sales as of 2008. These businesses have a significant impact on the national and local economies. I am so happy that the state of New Jersey can help us to pave the way for increased contract opportunities for women-owned businesses.