How to Register a Woman Owned Business

By Melantha Matthews

  • Overview

    Registering your business on the city, county, state and national levels as a woman- or minority-owned business is a straightforward process. Most applications for these designations are available online, or you may write or call to local offices and have them mail you the applications.
    • Step 1

      Do an online search for your state and city and see what programs are available to women-owned businesses.
    • Step 2

      Perform another search for federal programs and visit the SBA website (see Resources). Take note of the guidelines detailed and download the application.


    • Step 3

      Gather the documents for your business that the agency requires and make a packet. Due to certain business designations (such as sole proprietorship, corporation or non-for-profit), it is likely you will not have all the documents requested in the lists these agency provide. If you do not possess certain documents, provide a letter to the agency detailing why you do not have those documents. More than likely the agency will not bar you from obtaining the designation.
    • Step 4

      Mail the packets of registration materials to your local, county, state or federal offices. Wait to hear back from them. It should take four to six weeks to receive a response.
    • Step 5

      You will get a response back requesting you call the agency to set up an appointment to have your businesses location inspected. Call the agency and set up an appointment.
    • Step 6

      Prepare the business location for inspection. On the date of inspection, if necessary, be prepared to close your business. This should not be required, but it will help if you are not distracted by dealing with customers during the inspection. Keep your focus on the inspection itself, so you will be able to answer any questions that arise.
    • Step 7

      After the inspection, contact the person who performed the visit and ensure she has all the information needed to ensure certification. You will soon receive a letter informing you whether you were granted M/WBE certification. If the certification was denied, you may have to start the process all over again.
    • Skill: Moderately Challenging
    • Tip: Details of this process may vary slightly from state to state. The steps above cover the certification process for the State of New York.
    • Tip: Note that obtaining third-party certification (see Resources) does not ensure that you will be awarded government contracts.

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