This all began with a question.
A client asked if iBec Creative had any women in business certifications because they needed it for their diversity program to fuel their purchasing decisions.
Our Founder and CEO, Becky McKinnell, realized this (great) question was likely top of mind for other companies looking to make a positive impact on our business world, and she decided to seek out an official stamp of approval – the WBENC Certification.
Strengthening visibility and opportunities
The WBENC Certification is the most widely recognized and respected national certification for women-owned businesses in the U.S.
According to their site: “WBENC Certification validates that a business is at least 51 percent owned, controlled, operated, and managed by a woman or women. This means one or more women must have unrestricted control of the business, a demonstrated management of day-to-day operations, and a proportionate investment of capital or expertise.”
The certification process requires business owners to undergo a thorough vetting process, including a site visit and business documentation review.
Once these women-owned businesses obtain their WBENC Certification, they get access to a vast network of support, targeted business opportunities, as well as increased visibility in corporate and government supply chains, education, and development programs. Ultimately the goal of this certification is to support women entrepreneurs – whether it’s through business growth, networking, and/or mentorship opportunities.
A story that started in 2006
At 22 years old, Becky McKinnell started iBec Creative the day after graduating from the University of Southern Maine in 2006. Her realization that there’s no right age to start a business is now a TEDxTalk that continues to inspire local students - and us.
While we encourage you to listen to the full story, Becky shares a peek into those early days.
“I went to my first chamber event when I was 22 years old. I got dressed that morning with the most adult looking outfit I had in my closet – the one blazer I owned off the clearance rack at Marshalls and a pair of tan trousers – also off the clearance rack. I had my business cards in my pocket and some hand-cut business brochures in my purse in case anyone asked for one,” Becky recalls.
“About ten minutes in, I got the courage to introduce myself to someone. I was mistaken for a high school student,” says Becky. “In that moment, I was really aware that I was a young woman – and likely perceived as a girl with a hobby. I had to fight that perception that I didn’t belong, but I just kept showing up. Three years later, by the time I was 25, I had convinced over 130 companies to trust me with their websites and brands,” she says.
“I’m honored for iBec Creative to receive this WBENC Certification. It can be challenging to be a woman in business, especially when you’re just starting out. It’s networks like WBENC that support women being a strong force in our workforce, our community, and our economy.”
A more mindful future
From the demand to see more women-owned businesses to the continued B Corp movement, we’re continually appreciative of the evolving collective conscientiousness to do more.