Women are starting small businesses in Florida at a rate faster than the national average. The state has seen a 74% increase in the number of women-owned small businesses in the past 15 years, ranking Florida as the sixth fastest-growing state for women-owned businesses.
Obtaining a certification as a certified minority- or woman-owned business is an important step for small businesses wanting to pursue lucrative private and public sector contracts.
From an office in Palm Beach County, Janet Harris-Lange works with women business owners to obtain the certifications that give them access to those contracts.
As president of the National Women Business Owners Corp., Harris-Lange has helped thousands of women complete the intensive certification requirements. The nonprofit is an approved Third Party Certifier for the Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business contracting program (used by federal government agencies).
Obtaining certification is an important strategy, Harris-Lange says. “Companies want to count their spending with minority and women-owned businesses, but they want them to prove their ownership status.”
Harris-Lange says she sees women who are running unusual and successful companies in Florida and across the country. The certification helps them grow their companies and usually results in an economic impact in their communities, she says. “They hire; they buy materials; and they give back.”
The following profiles of four women-owned businesses show how ambition, talent and a willingness to make adjustments to their business plans played key roles in their success.