Buy Women Owned: Why WBE Certification May Be the "Spicy Roux" for Your Woman-Owned Business by Donna John

3 years ago

Buy Women Owned: Why WBE Certification May Be the "Spicy Roux" for Your Woman-Owned Business

Down south, gumbo is often the "stew" of choice. Consisting of a strong stock, meat or seafood, a thickener and the holy trinity (celery, bell peppers and onions), gumbo is even the official state dish of Louisiana. Are you wondering how gumbo has anything to do with women-owned businesses? It was that "women owned" logo on the box that got me to try a new brand of gumbo roux – and it's a logo you should look for as well if you are a woman business owner or want to support them. 

Let me explain the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) like a foodie. WBENC has all the essentials that makes gumbo, well, gumbo:

  • Strong Stock: With stock, you have to start with a good recipe for success. WBENC is the "largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs." WBENC believes that "diversity promotes innovation, opens doors and creates partnerships that fuel the economy." That’s why they provide the "most relied upon certification standard for women-owned businesses and the tools to help them succeed."
  • The Meat: WBE certification is definitely the meat of the organization and what is sought after by members. "Certifying women-owned businesses is the foundation of WBENC's mission, along with connecting WBENC-Certified Women's Business Enterprises (WBEs) with WBENC's Corporate Members to facilitate real-time business opportunities and serving as a resource to offer training that helps the Corporate Member and the WBENC-Certified WBE grow their capacity. WBENC's world-class certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America's most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and other entities." Virtue Construction Parters LLC, the WBE-certified business my husband and I own, went through the certification process in 2019. The process is detailed, but not overwhelming. Pro tip: Have your company agreement looked over by your local WBE before submitting your application. Language in the agreement is scrutinized closely and could result in denial. Learn more about WBENC certification.
  • Thickener: WBENC "thickens," or enriches, that WBE certification with opportunities and resources. The organization offers signature events; education and grants; networking opportunities; public awareness campaigns; databases that connect corporate and government members; and news, inspiration and success stories for entrepreneurs.
  • Holy Trinity: The "holy trinity" of the WBENC is engagement through advisory councils, ambassadors and a recognition/awards program.

Jambalaya Girl

Now a little about the company and product that inspired this post. Jambalaya Girl is one of the over 13 million businesses in the U.S. owned by women, and is WBE certified. New Orleans native Kristen Preau Moore is the founder of Jambalaya Girl and started the business to celebrate the state she calls home. All Jambalaya Girl products are made in her hometown and get their spice from a late chef who has New Orleans roots, too, Chef Paul Prudhomme. Each product proudly displays a "women owned" logo and does her home state proud – it is easy to make and flavorful with just the right amount of spice. (The foodie in me needs to say that I added a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and frozen okra to the recipe on the box.)

Photo: Kristen Preau Moore (

Let's support women-owned businesses in any way we can, whether it's writing a post about a product or service you've tried or buying products that display the women-owned logo. Become the fire, ladies! (And then cook a pot of yummy gumbo on it.)

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Gwen Johnson
Yes! My friend's business is WBE certified. She gets so many benefits and leads from it. It has slowed down because of COVID, but she's hanging in there. And who doesn't love gumbo??? Donna John
Donna John
So many businesses are suffering right now. It's nice to have people on your side and pulling for you. If you try gumbo, let us know how you liked it! Gwen Johnson
Elisa Schmitz
This is so awesome, Donna John ! I love learning more about this amazing program and how it helps women entrepreneurs and female founders. Thank you for sharing, and congratulations on your business and the certification! Way to go!! And, I need to try that gumbo, for sure. #yum

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