Certification FAQ

  • What is a WBE? +

    WBE (Women's Business Enterprise) is an independent business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or Legal Resident Aliens; whose business formation and principal place of business are in the US or its territories; and whose management and daily operation is controlled by one or more of the women owners.
  • What exactly does it mean to be "certified as a WBE"? +

    Being certified 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.
  • What is WBENC and how is that different from my local/regional affiliate? +

    WBENC is the Women's Business Enterprise National Council and is comprised of 14 regional partner organizations. All of the partner organizations adhere to WBENC's stringent Standards and Procedures in their certification programs.
  • How does a WBENC certification differ from others? +

    The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the nation's leading third-party certifier of women's business enterprises (WBEs) for the private sector. In partnership with women's business organizations like the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council throughout the United States, WBENC provides access to a national standard of certification and provides information on certified women's businesses to purchasing managers through its Internet database, WBENCLink. WBENC certification is recognized and accepted by the majority of the major corporations across the U.S.
  • Is the size or length of time in business a requirement for certifiable companies? +

    There are no size or time requirements for WBENC certification.
  • What is the processing time for certification? +

    The processing time is generally 60-90 days once all documentation has been received by the Regional Partner Organization.
  • What is involved in the certification process? +

    The certification process is as follows: A business entity submits an application, along with the necessary supporting documentation and non-refundable processing fee. Great Lakes WBC has a trained Certification Committee that meets on a monthly basis. Once the applicant's file is complete (meaning all documentation pertinent to the business and legal structure has been received), it will go to the Committee for review. An on-site visit is conducted, generally during the 30-day window between Committee meetings. At the meeting following the site visit, a final recommendation is made regarding the applicant's eligibility. If certification is granted, the company's assigned contract will receive an auto-email telling them that they have been certified and may now access their certificate online. A formal letter will also be mailed.
  • Why do I have to supply my company's financial information? +

    Financial documents, such as the Profit & Loss Statement, provide evidence that the applicant is conducting the business as describing in the application. Documents such as the Balance Sheet and tax returns are used collectively to verify the ownership, management, and control by the women owners. Please note that the certification process does not evaluate the company's profitability or financial viability.
  • What if I don't have a document that is required? +

    Great Lakes WBC realizes that you may not have all the documentation we request. Should that be the case, please submit a letter with your documentation stating which documents do not exist and why.
  • What if my bank won't give me a copy of my signature card? +

    In place of the bank signature card, a letter may be sent from your bank officer on the bank's letterhead informing us of the authorized signatures on the bank account(s) and any stipulations placed on the account(s), e.g., two signatures required on all checks.
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Monte Nagler Success Story

Monte Nagler of Monte Nagler Photography is among the top landscape photographers in America. A student of Ansel Adams, he is a member of the esteemed Camera Craftsmen of America. Monte's photographs, which have won numerous awards is included in many public and private collections including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Dayton Art Institute, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, The Brooklyn Museum, The State of Michigan, General Electric Corporation, BASF Corporation, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, and General Motors. Galleries and agents throughout the country also represent his photography.

Who keeps track of the business side of Monte Nagler Photography? Monte’s partner in life and business, Michelle “Mickey” Nagler, president of Monte Nagler Photography. One of the reasons this husband and wife team is successful, is that they have a true respect for each other’s role in the company. Mickey handles the day to day operations, is instrumental in managing the relationships with the many agents and galleries. She is the driving force for the marketing and maintains their websites; www.montenagler.com and www.photosforhealing.com. Mickey also invested the time to get the business certified with Women’s Business Enterprise Council – Great Lakes for the Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) certification and on the federal side of certification programs, Mickey on them on the GSA schedule contract and self-certified as EDWOSB with the SBA.

Though a large portion of Detroit-based business is now healthcare-based, it wasn't always that way. For years, black-and-white fine-art photography was the primary drive of Monte Nagler Photography, and it wasn't until they looked to expand their business that the healthcare industry presented itself.

Today, Monte Nagler Photos for Healing™ products provide a unique way to dramatically enhance the health care environment with the addition of exquisite photographic images. Over the course of 30 years as a professional fine art photographer, Monte Nagler has amassed a vast portfolio of images suitable for installation in the medical setting. The collection includes hundreds of landscapes, gardens and flowers, water scenes, seasonal views, recognizable landmarks, domestic and exotic architecture, and more. “The thought of my photography helping people get through a procedure or make it nice for the patient or their family was exciting to me,” he says. How do you market that?

Mickey reached out to Deb Loeser, CEED’s Women’s Business Center manager for help in developing new business and to promote that they are an ED WOSB and are on the GSA schedule. At first you would think that this photography business must takes pictures – right? Well, there was some confusion about the type of fine art photography that Monte Nagler Photography did. What was easy for Loeser to spot was that their marketing efforts were based on selling photography to people vs. what their biggest customers were buying – was the emotions that came out of how they incorporated their photography. Once Mickey got that she is helping her customers connect to their customers through their photography, it fueled a new capabilities statement, new pitch and confidence in a new marketing plan for Monte Nagler PhotosforHealing™. Mickey and Deb worked on strategies for her to develop leads at the 13th Annual Great Lakes Women’s Business Conference. That plan resulted in securing two projects right away and produced enough leads that it will take Mickey about four to six months to get through them. What a success!

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