Business Certifications for Women Business Owners | Fora Financial Blog
The Best Business Certifications for Women Business Owners
September 23, 2019
Business Certifications for Women Business Owners

The Best Business Certifications for Women Business Owners

According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, there are more than 11.6 million woman-owned businesses. However, women in business also face significant challenges in comparison to male entrepreneurs. These challenges include lack of funding, limited knowledge, and fear of failure.

Due to challenges like the ones mentioned above, it can be easy to simply run your business, instead of growing it. However, to close the gap, women business owners must find new ways to grow as entrepreneurs.

If you want to learn more about running your business, consider pursuing a program that certifies women owned businesses. To get started, check out our list of the best women-owned business certifications!

5 Business Certifications for Women Business Owners

1. Women Owned Small Business (WOSB)

If you want to recruit new customers within the private sector, you may be missing out. Federal and state-level organizations are some of the biggest customers for products and services. And if you’re a female business owner, getting federal government contracts is now easier than ever.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has a federal contracting program that provides federal contracting jobs for businesses ran by women. This also includes women-owned small businesses that are economically disadvantaged.

To qualify for these contracts, you must obtain at least one of two woman-owned business certifications. The “Women Owned Small Business (WSOB)” is meant for federal contracts. However, the “Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)” is administered by state and local entities.

There are four third-party organizations authorized to provide the WOSB designation. They include the following groups:

  • El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • National Women Business Owners Corporation
  • U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

In addition to getting certified through the above channels, you also have the option to self-certify. However, paying for third-party verification may make your business more credible, and give you access to the WOSB’s networks.

2. Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)

The Women’s Business Enterprise certificate was designed for female majority-owned businesses in state, local, and private sector purposes.

Both the WSOB and WBE certifications are designed to create more job prospects for women. If your business provides a product or service to government agencies, either certificate can help you land large contracts. By securing these contracts, that could lead to business growth.

The certification process will require an extensive time commitment, in addition to other resources. However, the benefits go beyond the chance to get local government work. Through this program, you’ll have access to supplier databases, networking groups, and WOSB-specific training. For the WBE designation, certification includes access to large contracts from private sector agencies in industries such as transportation.

3. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project management is the process of creating an objective and outlining the steps to achieve it. Once that’s achieved, you’ll need to focus on executing that plan — which is an important part of any enterprise activity. Thus, it’s a vital skill for all business owners to attain.

The Project Management Professional designation is a highly regarded certification that’s recognized on an international level. Per test practitioners, the program is intended for the “experienced project managers.”

While the certification is meant for project management professionals, the skills you’ll learn can also be applied to running a business. Ultimately, this certification gives female business owners the tools to successfully plan and execute business goals.


4. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

The CAPM is often considered a precursor to the PMP certificate and teaches entrepreneurs how to oversee big projects. This includes topics such as cost estimates, developing effective processes, and managing risk. If you don’t want to commit to the PMP program, this option may be viable for you as a project leader.

5. Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate

If you want to pursue personal and business growth, Stanford University offers professional certificates and courses for working entrepreneurs. All course requirements are fulfilled online, so it doesn’t matter where your business is located.

Through this program, you can choose the courses best suited for you. Their options include “Leading Collaborative Teams” and “Negotiation: How to Get (More of) What You Want.”

Certification will cost upwards of $8,000. However, you may also access the course materials a la carte for $995 a class.


Certifications aren’t the only way to grow as an entrepreneur. However, through these programs, you can attain new skills, grow your network, and earn new credentials. If you want to grow as an entrepreneur, it may be worth pursuing a certification.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in September 2019.


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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].