What is the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization?

The Women Presidents’ Educational Organization is the northeast regional affiliate of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s leading advocate of third-party certification organization for women-owned businesses. WBENC has 14 regional partner organizations (RPOs). WPEO manages the certification process in the New York and Washington, D.C. regions (consisting of New York, Northern and Central New Jersey, Southern Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia), two of the strongest, most active RPOs in the country. WPEO is incorporated in the state of New York and recognized as a 501(c) (3) organization.

What does WPEO do?

WPEO administers the widely-recognized and respected WBENC certification. Representing the gold standard of third-party validation, this verifies that companies have met official criteria as a business legitimately owned, managed and controlled by women.

Once certified, WBEs can gain increased access to business opportunities with Fortune 1000 companies across America. WBEs also benefit from WPEO’s ongoing advocacy on their behalf, high-level networking events designed to build relationships with corporations as well as with other WBEs, educational opportunities, enhanced visibility through awards and the Done Deals™ challenge.

Why was WPEO formed?

Founded by Dr. Marsha Firestone in 1998, a pioneer in opening doors for women-owned businesses, WPEO was formed to address the disparity that existed – and still exists — between the overall impact that WBEs have on the economy, versus corporate spend. Over 8.6 million women-owned businesses in the US generate more than $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ 7.8 million people. By providing a recognized certification program for women’s enterprises and promoting corporate supplier diversity programs, WPEO helps integrate WBEs into corporate supply chains.

Why is there a need for WBEs to become certified?

Certification serves as a bridge to countless business opportunities, providing a valuable credential when bidding for new contracts. The vast majority of Fortune 1000 corporations require that women-owned businesses be WBENC-certified to access world-class supplier diversity programs.Once certified, WPEO provides opportunities to help WBEs integrate their businesses into the supply chains of Fortune 1000s companies, access to hundreds of top corporations looking to work with certified WBEs, educational opportunities, and the support of a highly engaged community

What are the benefits for WBEs of becoming certified?

WBENC certification is the most widely-recognized and respected national certification in the U.S. for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs). WBEs WPEO Corporate Members and the public sector often find ideal vendors and suppliers among certified WBEs, and WBEs often do business with other WBEs. Being certified as a woman-owned, diverse supplier can open up vast opportunities previously inaccessible.According to a recent survey of WPEO WBEs regarding programs that have been the most effective for their business:

  • Breakthrough Breakfast – 48%
  • Brown Bag Lunch – 41%
  • WBE to WBE Luncheon – 29%
  • I’m Certified Now What – 27%
What is the difference between WPEO and WBENC?
As a regional partner organization of WBENC, WPEO is responsible for managing the WBE certification process at two regional levels in the New York and Washington DC areas. WPEO also brings together a community of highly-engaged women entrepreneurs and Corporate Members with a shared mission to promote awareness and access for WBEs.
How many WBEs are certified in the Northeast Region?
WPEO has approximately 1,700 certified WBEs in New York, Northern and Central New Jersey, Southern Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, accounting for over 14% of the more than 11,000 WBENC-certified WBEs nationwide. Last year, WPEO received almost 1,700 applications.
What is the Done Deals™ Challenge and what are the goals?

The WPEO Done Deals™ initiative was created to recognize, publicize and celebrate the success of business contracts completed and to inspire future Done Deals™. They are recognized as Done Deals™ when they fit one of these scenarios:

  • WPEO-certified WBE signs a contract with a WPEO Corporate Member after competing with other vendors bidding on the contract
  • Contract is signed between two WPEO certified vendors in the New York or Washington, D.C. regions
  • Contract is signed between a WPEO-certified WBE and a public sector agency in New York City, New York State, the State of New Jersey or Commonwealth of Virginia
What is the difference between WPEO and WPO?
As WPEO’s sister organization, WPO is the premier global peer advisory organization connecting top women entrepreneurs who own multimillion dollar companies. Prospective WPO candidates must meet a specific revenue goal to be eligible for membership. WPEO is a regional partner organization of WBENC.

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Susan Johnson
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