FASTSIGNS® of Lincolnwood, IL, a business specializing in signs and visual communications, is nationally certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).
WBENC’s national standard of certification implemented by the WBDC is a meticulous process including an in-depth review of the business and site inspection. The certification process is designed to confirm the business is at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women.
FASTSIGNS® of Lincolnwood, IL has also received its certification for SBA Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB). This certification also involves a difficult process that included research and completion of various components before being officially certified.
“I see these certifications as recognition of the unique skills that women bring to the visual communications industry in finding powerful, cost-effective solutions to help our clients achieve their goals,” said franchisee, Elizabeth O’Connor. “We hope that our certifications will encourage more women-owned businesses to gain recognition for the value they bring.”
By including women-owned businesses among their suppliers, corporations and government agencies demonstrate their commitment to fostering diversity and the continued development of their supplier diversity programs.
According to the Harvard Business Review and the 2017 State of Woman-Owned Business Report, between 1997 and 2017, the national growth rate for woman-owned businesses was 114% versus 44% for businesses overall. Only 2% of venture capital funding has been awarded to woman-owned companies, despite women owning 38% of the businesses in the country. At 20%, Illinois is the lowest in the United States when it comes to the economic clout of woman-owned businesses.
“While women have made tremendous inroads, we still have a long way to go in terms of achieving parity,” said franchisee, Elizabeth O’Connor. “Woman-owned businesses have an even greater challenge, and I've been so inspired the many minority women business owners I've met on my journey thus far.”