Shannon Mantaro, director for the TWU Center for Women in Business.

If you are a woman entrepreneur interested in becoming a supplier for a government agency or large corporation, you could significantly leverage your procurement opportunities by being certified as a woman- or minority-owned business.

By being certified, you are able to validate that your business is at least 51% owned, controlled, operated and managed by one or more women. There are also certifications that validate a business is majority owned by one or more minority groups.

Why is this certification important? Many businesses and municipalities want to do business with woman- and/or minority-owned companies because they know it is important to their customers. Public-sector agencies have an obligation to be sure that all companies have an equal opportunity to bid on contracts paid for by tax dollars. The private and public sectors seek out those who have been formally certified to meet their mandate goals.

In other words, if you are not taking advantage of certifications that you are a woman or run a minority-owned business, you could be missing out on lucrative opportunities for revenue and growth.

If you are a woman-owned business, you’ll want to be sure you are HUB (historically underutilized business) certified so you are listed in the HUB Directory and the Comptroller’s Centralized Master Bidders List, which are both used by state agencies for purchasing and public works contracts. The lists are also used to send notification of subcontracting opportunities.

In order to qualify for this certification, you must operate a for-profit business in Texas that is at least 51% owned by an Asian Pacific American, black American, Hispanic American, American Indian, American woman and/or service-disabled veteran. For more information on this certification, visit

The Irving-based Women’s Business Council Southwest certifies women in North and Central Texas for Women’s Business Enterprise, Women-owned Small Business, and Small Business Enterprise certifications. Membership in the WBCS includes access to the council’s member database, networking and procurement events, and educational seminars.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council’s Minority Business Enterprise certification is available to businesses that are at least 51% minority-owned (at least 25% Asian, black, Hispanic or American Indian) operated and controlled. The owner must be a U.S. citizen who operates a for-profit business in the United States. MBE-certified businesses have access to top corporate purchasing agents, inclusion in and access to the NMSDC supplier database, and request for proposals, business leads and alerts for procurement opportunities from corporate members.

Other resources include:

■ DFW Minority Supplier Development Council Inc.

■ Disadvantaged Business Enterprise

■ National LGBT-Owned Business Enterprise

■ North Central Texas Regional Certification Agency

■ Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center

■ Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women in Business provides woman-owned businesses access to resources for business creation and ownership, engagement and mentorship with current business owners and entrepreneurial leadership educational opportunities. The CWB also offers free business advisement and can assist with certification and application processes.

If you are looking to take your business to the next level, definitely consider certification as a woman- or minority-owned business, and be sure you don’t miss out on the many benefits that can come from working as a preferred vendor to private- and public-sector entities.

Shannon Mantaro is director of Texas Woman’s University’s Center for Women in Business and can be reached at

For more information regarding the Center for Women in Business, visit

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