Certified women-owned design studio

I started the process for certifying Opus as a Women-Owned business in Massachusetts two years ago. The first step was navigating the state’s website to find the documentation and requirements. Luckily, they start everybody off with a WBE (Women in Business Enterprise) training workshop. This was the first requirement and I took it in April, 2013.

Lessons in WBE certification

At the workshop, there must of been more than a hundred people, including some men.  I learned why we should register, and how to get certified. I learned that vendors who win state contracts, are required to work in some capacity, with WBE certified businesses. I learned that a married man and woman, who own a business jointly, can not be certified as a women-owned business because the requirements are that 51% of the business be owned by one or more women. I learned that there was a ton of paperwork required and wondered if I’d ever really fill out all those forms.
That was perhaps not the right attitude. Because by the time I did fill out all the forms, I found out that my attendance at the WBE workshop was no longer valid; too far in the past for the application. So now I had to go to another one which I did in 2014. But that was okay, because some of the documents had changed and I had to redo forms anyway.

Patience and persistence!

A few months after submitting the application, the SDO, Supplier Diversity Office, which is part of the OSD, Operational Services Division did a site visit at our studio in Brighton. I appreciate that a real life inspection of the business can rule out any tomfoolery that might take place in the complex world of state certifications. I met the woman who actually led the workshops (now a minor celebrity in my eyes) and a new associate who interviewed us. This was the last step of the process and we were getting so close.

:OSD logo-01

This week Julia showed me the official letter stating our certification as a women-owned business in Massachusetts. We are now, according to the state, a “Women in Business Enterprise.” We put it away in a safe spot and look forward to leveraging the certificate in marketing to the state and to those who work with the state.
It’s strange that it took 2 years to prove that Opus Design is women-owned, since we’re not only 100% women-owned, but also 100% women employed …Grrl power x 5. If you’ve won a state contract and need to include some certified companies, please give us a call!