Kelly Sparks, CEO & Queen Bee of VMG Studios
When I was looking for a new job after my move to the Seattle, WA area, I was overwhelmed with choices. By chance, I happened to walk into VMG Studios to meet with the CEO and founder, Kelly Sparks.
After meeting with her, as well as the other members of the sales and marketing team (all women), I knew this was the place for me.
It wasn’t just because a female sat at the head of the company. No, it was the feeling of the place – I had an instant sense of innovation, creativity, inclusion, and leadership that I wanted to be a part of. Once I started, I felt empowered to be working on a diverse team of men and women.
Since then, I’ve come to find the additional benefits of working for a female CEO and have learned why enterprise-level corporations like Amazon, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Facebook, and Starbucks have chosen to work with VMG Studios.
It’s not just us. There are thousands of companies led by women across the U.S. and there’s a good reason why many companies, like VMG Studios, are snagging big-time clients and partners.
This article will dive into certified women-owned businesses, why that certification is important, and the benefits of partnering with female-run companies.
What defines a certified women-owned business?
When you hear “women-owned,” you may think it’s as simple as that: a woman owns the business. While it can be that simple, there are ways to become a certified women-owned business and there are different ways to acquire such certification.
The largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. is The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council or WBENC. VMG Studios is WBENC-certified through the WBEC-Pacific regional partner group (RPO). If you’re interested in becoming certified, you’ll do so through your RPO.
According to WBENC’s website, its certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations and is an approved Third Party Certifier for the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) federal contracting program.
To qualify for WBENC certification status, a business must be at least 51% owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women.
Why become women-owned certified?
If you are a women-owned business, you may wonder if certification is a right fit for you. One of the premiere benefits of becoming certified, according to WBENC, is access. That includes access to a list of supplier diversity executives at hundreds of major U.S. corporations, and federal, state and local government entities.
You’ll also gain access to other WBENC-certified businesses which provides ample networking opportunities.
VMG Studios CEO and Queen Bee, Kelly Sparks, says, “WBENC has given us passionate advocates, networking opportunities galore, and access to people we never would have found in a million years.”
Besides access and networking, WBENC also promotes education with training programs, educational workshops, and mentorship programs. In fact, Sparks received a scholarship from AT&T to attend TUCK Executive Leadership Program.
Reasons to partner with a women-owned business
Now that we’ve defined what constitutes a certified women-owned business, you’re probably wondering about the benefits of working alongside one.
The number of women-owned businesses are on the rise (more on that later), meaning it’s more likely you may partner with one in the future, or at least be presented with the opportunity.
Here are some reasons to consider working with a women-owned business.
According to research, female business leaders are more likely to hire people of diverse backgrounds. And with that diversity comes diversity of thought, innovation, and leadership.
Where would we be if every business was filled with like-minded people who agreed on everything? We’d live in a world without progress.
Diversity can help inspire creativity.
2. Inclusion and safety
In the era of the “Me Too” movement, the importance of inclusion and safety have been thrust into the spotlight. Historically, women have felt excluded, undermined, and/or harassed, especially in the workplace. A study found that women under 50 prefer a female boss.
Regardless if a company is run by a man or a woman, it’s safe to say that people are more productive while working in a comfortable and safe environment. And productivity is a big part in keeping a business afloat.
3. Nurturing and empathy
While traditional gender stereotypes continue to be challenged (and for good reason), there are still some female stereotypes that positively reflect working with a women-owned business. Research shows people believe women are more nurturing and empathetic.
In business, this can help promote growth. How? Employees may feel more comfortable in a women-led space to speak their minds. And when that happens, a business may find more opportunity for innovation.
Just like when people feel safe and included, working with people who are also empathetic can help boost a person’s comfort within a company while simultaneously boosting productivity.
This one is quite simple. Who doesn’t love a little support (I know I do)? Comradery is a big part of a company’s culture. When you’re a part of a cohesive team, with joint goals, your dedication to meeting those goals can be amplified.
A team led by a man can be equally supportive as one led by a woman, of course, but there is a movement of “women who support women” that has gained a lot of attention. And studies show that women who support women are more successful in business.
Being detail-oriented is a smart business practice, and science shows that women’s brains have more processing power for details. What does that mean? It means women will include more details in their decision-making, and they’ll verbalize those details during meetings or in conversations.
As they say, it’s all in the details.
Other benefits of partnering with a women-owned business
If you’re looking for another reason to partner with a women-owned business, the federal government does offer tax incentives to those who conduct business with minority and women-owned businesses.
There’s even more good news. The number of women-led companies is on the rise. The U.S. Census Bureau shows the number of women-owned businesses increased by 45% from 2007 to 2016. A report also found that women are slightly more likely than men to start businesses. Plus, women-owned businesses are as successful as men-owned businesses when it comes to revenue growth, job creation, and number of years in business.
Moving forward with a women-owned business
Existing in the corporate world is often daunting; there are endless decisions that need to be made, money to bring in the door, and relationships to uphold. And every once in a while, you may need a little help.
When looking to find a partner or vendor, for whatever it may be, consider looking at women-owned businesses. You’ll often find they bring diversity of thought and innovation to the table while providing a safe and secure place for those they work with. Take it from me, I found just that.
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