Contact your legislator- WBE Certification


Did you know that many other states require you to be certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) in your “home state” in order to be recognized as a WBE for government contracting purposes?  Well our state does not have a WBE certification program, so you and other WBE’s that reside in Ohio are out of luck unless your legislators vote YES on HOUSE BILL 492 to support Ohio WBEs like you!

HB 492 will create a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification Program in Ohio to allow Ohio WBEs to be competitive outside of our state. 

Where do you come in? Recently, because of a last-minute unrelated amendment, HB 492 was pulled before going to vote. We are disappointed, but not giving up! TELL YOUR STATE LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES (LIKE YOURS) THAT WANT TO COMPETE IN OHIO AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY!

Find your State Representative AND State Senator at this link by using the Zipcode Finder and tell them to VOTE YES ON HOUSE BILL 492:

Click on their name and look for “contact information” on the right side of their legislative page to find their address, phone number and email.

 Here are some talking points to consider sharing, but the most effective communication is personalized.  Tell them about you and your business!

  • Please Support Substitute HB 492 to create a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) Certification Program in Ohio
  • Ohio women businesses are not able to compete on a level playing field in other states.  We are deemed ineligible for other state WBE certification programs because we are not certified in our “home state”.
  • We can’t be  -  because Ohio doesn’t have a WBE certification program.
  • The bill does not create set-asides or goals.  No metrics at all.
  • Sub HB 492 simply creates a certification process and puts those certified-businesses on a website.
  • The goal is to allow Ohio Women Businesses to compete fairly outside of Ohio’s borders; not create more government.


Substitute House Bill 492 Outline

To Create the Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program

  1. Definition of “Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE)”
    1. Any individual, partnership, corporation, or joint venture of any kind that is owned and controlled by women who are United States citizens and residents of this state or of a reciprocal state.
  1. “Owned and controlled” means at least 51% of the business, including corporate stock if it is a corporation, is owned by women and that such owners have control over the day-to-day operations of the business and an interest in the capital, assets, and profits and losses of the business proportionate to their percentage of ownership.  In order to qualify as a women-owned business, a business shall have been owned by such owners at least one year.


  1. The director of DAS shall establish a business assistance program known as the women-owned business enterprise program and shall adopt rules to administer the program that do all of the following:
    1. Establish procedures by which a business enterprise may apply for certification at a WBE.
    2. Establish standards to determine when a WBE no longer qualifies for WBE certification.
    3. Establish a system to make publicly available a list of women-owned business enterprises certified in Ohio.
    4. Establish a process to mediate complaints and to review women-owned business enterprise certification appeals.
    5. Implement an outreach program to educate potential participants about the WBE certification program.
    6. Establish a system of self-reporting by women-owned business enterprises as well as an on-site inspection process to validate the qualifications of women-owned business enterprises.


III.            Business and personal financial information and trade secrets submitted by women-owned business enterprise applicants to the director pursuant to this section are not public records, unless the director presents the financial information or trade secrets at a public hearing or public proceeding regarding the applicant’s eligibility to participate in the program.


  1. The director of DAS, upon approval by the Attorney General, may enter into reciprocal agreements with the appropriate officials of one or more states, when the other state has a business assistance program or programs substantially similar to Ohio WBE program. 


    1. The agreement shall provide that a business certified by the other state as a WBE, which is owned and controlled by a resident or residents of that other state, shall be considered a women-owned business enterprise in this state under this section.
    1. The agreement shall provide that an Ohio WBE, which is owned and controlled by a resident or residents of this state, shall be considered certified in the other state and eligible for programs of that state that provide an advantage or benefit to such businesses.


  1. Report
    1. DAS is currently required to prepare a report describing the progress made by state agencies in advancing the MBE and the EDGE program.  HB 492 would include WBE’s in that annual report.
  1. Report shall highlight the initiatives implemented to encourage participation of WBE, MBE and EDGE businesses in programs funded by state and federal money.
  2. Report shall include the total number of procurement contracts each agency has entered into with MBEs, EDGE and WBE certified businesses.