Get Your WBENC CertificationWatch Your Fleet and Commercial Sales Opportunities Grow
Women-owned businesses in the U.S. have an economic impact of nearly
$3 trillion and create/maintain more than 20 million jobs.
– WBENC President’s Report
Growth and expansion remain top priorities for WRN and its dealers. That’s why we’re working with global organizations to explore ways to get our members involved in opportunities rich with prospecting, networking and access to top companies looking for supply-chain diversity.
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council was formed nearly 20 years ago to help level the playing field for women, provide female business owners a seat at the table and allow access to decision makers from the world’s top companies.
The WBENC is the nation’s leading third-party certifier of businesses owned, controlled and operated by women. The cornerstone of WBENC is its certification process, which validates that a business is 51 percent owned, controlled and operated by a woman or women. WBENC certification is recognized by public, private, non-profit and government entities throughout the U.S. and its territories.
By obtaining WBENC WBE certification, female dealers can have access to more than 1,000 corporations representing America’s most prestigious brands wanting to do business with women-owned companies.
Learn more about WBENC, the value of certification for your dealership, and how it might help increase your fleet and commercial sales.
WBENC certification is the most widely recognized and respected certification of its kind; accepted by hundreds of corporations and governmental agencies. It is an important marketing tool for expanding visibility among decision makers in corporate supply chain diversity and procurement organizations. WBENC has 14 Regional Partner Organizations authorized to administer its certification across the U.S. WBENC also provides Women-Owned Small Business certification for the Small Business Association WOSB Federal Contracting program. Outside of the United States, certification is provided by its alliance partner, WEConnect International.
For a dealership to be eligible for WBENC certification, one of two conditions must be met:
- Female dealer-operator, named on Paragraph THIRD of the GM Dealer Agreement, with 51 percent business ownership
- Female Key Manager with control of the day-to-day operations, and with 51 percent business ownership
Candace Waterman, WBENC chief of staff, says WBENC gives women-owned businesses the ability to compete for real-time business opportunities provided by WBENC’s corporate members and government agencies.
- “Our MatchMaker program establishes connections between certified women business owners and purchasing decision makers from corporations and government agencies seeking suppliers for specific opportunities. Women attending our MatchMaker meetings can do more prospecting in one day than would otherwise take them a year.”
- “The process of certification is thorough, but not overly cumbersome for businesses wanting to apply. There is no size requirement for businesses, and certification can be obtained in as little as 90 days.”
- “A business submits an application along with the supporting documentation and processing fee. Each of our Regional Partner Organizations meets monthly to review the applications. An on site visit is then scheduled to ensure that the applicant has actual control, meaning the primary power to manage the business and its day-to-day operations.”
“There is ample opportunity for women-owned dealerships to elevate themselves in the Fleet and Commercial space among WBENC’s diverse corporate and governmental members, as well as with other women-owned businesses.”
WBENC Certification Benefits
- Access to supplier diversity and procurement executives at hundreds of major U.S. corporations and governmental entities accepting WBENC certification
- Access to mentoring, education and capacity development
- Ability to promote businesses using WBENC certified seal on all marketing materials
- Eligible to participate in WBENC Social Media profiles — Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
- Eligible to promote businesses through sponsorship of WBENC national events
- Access to WBENC Insights, an online knowledge resource providing webinars, video, whitepapers and research developed on key women business issues
- Access to global certification through WEConnect International
WBENC Certification Increases Fleet Sales
Female dealers take note: Nearly two-thirds of all small businesses are being opened by women.
“Becoming certified by WBENC is a great way to position your dealership with other women business owners,” said Susan Keenehan, GM’s Regional Director for Fleet and Commercial in the North Central Region. “According to the WBENC Web site there are 12,300 certified women owned businesses in the network. If our WRN dealers could build relationships and get just 10 percent of these business owners to buy one vehicle, we would sell 1,230 incremental vehicles. It only makes sense to be a part of the conversation.”
Data suggests that women-owned companies favor doing business with other woman-owned companies. Right now there are not many women dealers marketing themselves in this way. Being out in front and gaining exclusivity is an opportunity to seize.
Keenehan agrees with Celeste Briggs that forming a WBENC alliance and actively pursuing small business and commercial sales is a strategic way for dealers to improve operational effectiveness and increase profitability.
“Leveraging your female ownership and, more importantly, relationships can be a huge asset,” said Keenehan. “Small business and commercial sales is a relationship business – customers buy from people they like, respect and trust.”
Fleet and WBENC Certification Go Hand-in-Hand
If you’re a female dealer serious about Fleet and Commercial business, Pam Hall has two recommendations. First, consider GM’s Business Elite program, which offers business customers the industry’s best sales and service experience. Second, get female-certified. She says it’s a tremendous tool for gaining recognition with important fleet buyers.
“Coming from a truck background, I’ve always put a priority on Fleet and Commercial,” said Hall, President, Hall Buick GMC, Tyler, Texas. “It adds an interesting dimension to our business and to our bottom line. I enjoy working with business customers to build a versatile fleet that will help grow their business. It has taken a lot of investment in terms of service, staffing and inventory, but Fleet and Commercial has become a big part of our business.”
Hall is a member of GM’s Commercial Dealer Advisory Board. She’s invested in becoming a Business Elite dealer and a certified woman-owned business. GM Business Elite is an exclusive program offering Chevrolet and GMC dealers tools and incentives to succeed in the Fleet and Commercial segment. It offers small-business customers services they don’t expect, such as priority service and hours, round-the-clock towing, work-ready loaner vehicles, business financing and leasing options, and a variety of other benefits, including Chevrolet Complete Care & GMC Pro Grade Protection. There are now more than 600 Business Elite dealers across the country staffed with dedicated sales consultants.
Hall has received female-owned certification and says it provides marketing opportunities with local government agencies and organizations looking for supply-chain diversity. Her staff can be seen at various trade shows, such as the National Association of Home Builders, and working with the local Chamber of Commerce. She’s using GM’s Small Business Playbook in her BDC and other resources available from the Business Elite program to grow her business.