Women's Business Development Center

Part
01
of two
Part
01

WBDC-MN Chapter Services

Among the small business services that WBDC Minnesota chapter offers include mentoring and WBE certification. The upcoming small business events organized by this chapter are Two-Part Workshop Lunch ‘n Learn Event and Leveraging Your Certification Workshop. The two events will take place on 23rd October and 14th November 2019, respectively.

SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES OFFERED BY WBDC-MN

  • Mentoring services. The services are offered in conjunction with MicroMentor, an online mentor matching program. Through this service, small business owners are connected with business mentors, both locally and throughout the United States.
  • WBE certification. This certification is recognized nationally with acceptance from more than 1,000 corporations representing America's most prestigious brands. "Some of the benefits of WBE certification include invitations to networking events with supplier diversity representatives, contact information for supplier diversity representatives, and opportunities to attend corporate panels, procurement events, and education opportunities. "
  • Other services offered by WBDC-MN to small business owners include one on one consulting and workshops on sales and business growth.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • To qualify for the certification program, an applicant must be a female aged 18 years and above, a US citizen, and must have the highest title in the business. A woman or women must own at least 51% of the company.
  • The applicant must also have control on high-level strategic management of the company, and also be the one who makes the ultimate decision on anything that concerns the business. A woman must control the daily operations of the business. Besides, the business must be an independent-for profit company, and it must have been formed and have its headquarters in the United States.
  • Businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenue pay an application fee of $350 while those whose annual revenue ranges from $1 million to $4.99 pay $500. Businesses with yearly income of $5million-$9.99 million pay $750, while those whose revenue is from $10 million to $49.99 million pay an application fee of $1,000. Those whose annual income is $50 million and above pay $1,250.
  • To access the mentoring services, participants register through the MicroMentor website. When registering for the program, applicants describe their businesses and their mentoring goals. Once connected, the mentor and mentee interact via a telephone call, Skype, in person, or email. The program lasts for three months.

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • Two Part Workshop Lunch ‘n Learn Event. It will be held on 23rd October from 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. The program will be held at Deluxe Headquarters, 3680 Victoria St N., Shoreview, MN 55126, Room 161. Charges are $20 -$30.
  • Leveraging Your Certification Workshop. It will take place on 14th November 2019 from 2:00 pm to 4:30 pm at WBDC-MN at WomenVenture at 2021 E, Hennepin Ave, Suite 200, Mpls, 55413. The cost for the workshop is $40 per person.

Part
02
of two
Part
02

Men in the WBDC

The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC) does not appear to have any restrictions on men taking advantage of their services, and men can attend their events as well as get assistance from the organization. Some recent news about that organization that could impact men have been included below, although there were no news stories found that specifically focused on men and the WBDC.

MEN AND THE WBDC

  • The Women's Business Development Center "serves clients from all walks of life with a focus on women, minorities, and veterans (majority from low to moderate income areas)." This indicates that men can also utilize the services of the WBDC, especially if they are a minority or veteran.
  • Additionally, in the company's 2017 financial report, it is stated that "WBDC assists all prospective and current business owners..." This is a further indication that their services are available to both men and women
  • Although the WBDC indicates that it serves people besides women, all the success stories posted on the website are about women.
  • The 2017 annual report indicates that 85% of their clients are women and 15% are men.
  • The WBDC offers services for veterans and their spouses that include business advice, access to capital, entrepreneurial training, and access to ongoing training.
  • WBDC offers the ScaleUp program which is designed to help current business owners grow their business. The criteria for the ideal candidate is listed on the website and there is no indication that gender or being part of a minority group is a requirement.
  • Examples of programs that men could participate in include Contracting 101, Lunch 'n Learn, and Green Money. Additionally, men are welcome at the WBDC's annual conference.
  • Finally, on the Our Team page of the website, there are two male employees, which indicates that the WBDC hires both males and females.

IN THE NEWS

  • Although not specifically discussing men, the WBDC is co-sponsoring the upcoming Minority Enterprise Development Week celebration in Philadelphia. The celebration offers more than 35 events around the city that are focused on supporting minority-owned businesses.
  • The WBDC was one of the sponsors of the 2019 Veterans Small Business Roadshow. This was a free event which was "open to all current active duty military personnel, members of the National Guard and reserves, as well as all veterans of any era, and military family members who are interested in launching a business or who already own a business."
  • In late 2017, SimpleGrowth was launched, an online lending platform for African-American business owners and entrepreneurs in Chicago to connect with lenders. The WBDC is one of the groups providing the financing.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

We began our research at the WBDC website which provided clear evidence that men can participate in their programs and that men represent 15% of their clients. There was no distinction between the services available to men as compared to women.

We then proceeded to look for news stories about the WBDC and men. This research did not uncover any positive or negative stories with a specific focus on the organization and men. Our research began with a general press scan on the company website and on other media sites such as Pennsylvania Capital Star and Black Enterprise. This search allowed us to find some positive press on the WBDC sponsoring events for minorities and veterans, but nothing specific to men.

Next, we examined the Illinois Better Business Bureaus site and the Charity Navigator site to see if we could uncover any complaints against the organization, specifically related to men. The BBB did not have any information on the non-profit and Charity Navigator rated them 93.39 out of 100. This strategy did not uncover any leads for locating news stories.

Finally, we examined the social media sites for the WBDC as that seemed to be a good place to find links to any positive press the organization has received. This included Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The organization posts much of the same content on Facebook and LinkedIn and in the last 6 months we did not find any stories that specifically focused on men and the WBDC. Although LinkedIn did share some different content, there was nothing related to men and the WBDC on this platform either.

Based on our extensive research, we concluded that although the WBDC promotes itself as a women-focused organization, there is nothing stopping men from utilizing their services.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) is committed to the success of veteran-owned businesses and works to ensure that veterans have technical assistance and resources to achieve their business goals. The WBDC VBAS offers various levels of training and assistance for start-up, emerging, and established veteran business owners in Illinois to support and accelerate their business development and growth."
Quotes
  • "In this 9-week course, business owners receive one-on-one mentoring and assistance with business growth planning, marketing, finances, government procurement and certification. During the course and outside of the class, quarterly networking opportunities take place with participants, other cohorts and former alumni. After the program, alumni continue to receive one-on-one support, as well as invitations to the Executive Series classes; additional in-depth learning opportunities on subjects covered in the ScaleUp course."