By Charndré Emma Kippie
If you haven’t considered becoming a certified women-owned business yet, then it’s by time you do. According to recent statistics, around 47% of South African SMEs are led by women, and data collected over the past year shows that women-owned businesses pose a lower statistical risk for business financiers across the country. Now, more than ever, is an optimal time for South African women-owned businesses to leverage upon this steady progress, and getting certified as a top women-owned business organisation is one step in the right direction.
Getting certified not only increases recognition, but also opens up doors to better opportunities for networking amongst the best of the best in business and collaborating with top-tier leaders. Many businesses open to partnerships seek out certified women-owned business status, as this assists women-owned businesses in becoming eligible for exclusive government contract options and specific initiatives with public corporations.
What Is a Certified Women-Owned Business?
If your business is, by majority, owned by a woman, or 51% or more of its stocks are owned by women, then you may be eligible for certification. A certified women-owned business is one that also exhibits exemplary business practices in terms of empowering its employees and conducting best practices. This is what certification criterions usually look out for and measure according to a set of strict rules and regulations.
How Does Certification Work?
If you’ve done your research, made sure that your company meets the criteria, and have decided that certification makes sense for your business model, getting started is actually easier than you may think. The process of becoming a certified women-owned business must be clearly documented, and can be quite lengthy. However, do not let this discourage you – all the planning and effort will be well worth your while. There are various certification requirements and stages to progress through, making things tedious, However, businesses that complete the process will find that it’s worth the investment in the long run.
Worried about submitting your documents and getting recognised? Then considering a third-party certification may be your best bet. Third-party certifications often do include a fee, but finding the right partner agency or B2B assistance will help in guiding you through the certification process, helping with the administration and submission processes.
Topco Media is one such B2B organisation that aids many women-owned businesses, in a variety of fields, with being recognised and certified. One of the main hurdles women-owned businesses face is a perceived lack of legitimacy. This is where Topco Media is ready to step in and take action – assisting businesses with marketing and public relations material as well as the opportunity to enter awards such as the annual Standard Bank Top Women Awards.
“We’ve developed our certification programme on the basis of insights we’ve gained from over twenty years of researching business in South Africa for our numerous publications and awards including Top500 and Standard Bank Top Women Awards. We can now identify factors that make a business valuable and that are predicting components for future success,” explains Karla Fletcher, director of marketing at Topco Media.
Part of Topco’s certification is the opportunity to join the community and network with fellow entrepreneurs and learn from industry stalwarts. While at the same time providing a level of legitimacy and trust for potential clients, customers, and companies that want to engage with the accredited and proven businesses.
If you choose a third-party certification, a team of experts in the field will walk you through the process and eventually you’ll need to upload your certification material, including a submission form, motivational letter, and accurate data and statistics on your business, to a portal or submission platform. Making sure all your affairs are in order, and all business information is validated and not fraudulent is a key step in the process.
One of the most important benefits of getting certified by a Third-Party is that it allows you to take stock of your business practices, checking that your organisation is compliant and meets regulatory and statutory requirements, and assisting you in enhancing operational efficiencies in the future.
Advantages of Becoming a Certified Women-Owned Business
There are many core benefits that small businesses can make the most of by simply taking part in the Third-Party certification process, such as:
- Gaining eligibility to compete for government contracts set aside for certified businesses.
- The potential to do business with top companies that support women-owned businesses, specifically.
- Receiving access to better resources, mentoring programmes, and valuable networking opportunities.
- Building your brand by marketing your certification.
- Boosting employee morale – becoming a top recognised business organisation will have a high impact on your employees and could motivate them to continue on an upward trajectory.
Getting certified can open up doors to new business for many women-owned businesses, expanding their reach, and providing access to new communities for gaining invaluable insight and new business connections. All you have to decide now is whether or not certification will assist you in taking your small business to the next level.
Standard Bank Top Women Awards 2021
“The awards recognise outstanding leadership for organisations which have shaped women’s roles within the public & private sectors.” – Cell C
Empowering Top Women and women-owned businesses across Africa, The Standard Bank Top Women Awards 2021 will be taking place on the 28 October this year. By entering, we celebrate your potential and success, and you get to join the world’s fastest growing market for women who lead. Top Women is the No.1 and the longest running Gender empowered awards programme for Top Women and Women-led companies – amplifying both individual and company successes in diversity and inclusion.
To find out more, click here
*For more essential business tips and tricks, check out our bumper 16th edition of the Standard Bank Top Women Leaders publication on Issuu – Digital Publishing Platform – here.
*Stay up to date with all the latest on Top Women in SA, by signing up to the Standard Bank Top Women newsletter – here.