FAQs

Browse the frequently asked questions below for the event, registration, exhibiting and sponsoring. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact us.

General FAQs
What is the WBENC National Conference?

The WBENC National Conference is the largest event of its kind for women business owners. Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs); senior executives and procurement representatives from the Fortune 500 and the U.S. Government; and representatives from organizations whose missions align with the WBENC vision of expanding women’s business opportunities in the marketplace will converge in Nashville, Tennessee, for one pre-conference day and three days of robust programming. The event includes an expo featuring over 300+ exhibitors, Meet & Greets, lectures and presentations from today’s thought leaders, pitch competitions, interactive programming options, and vibrant networking receptions.

What are the conference dates?

The conference starts with registration and exhibitor move-in beginning on Monday, March 20,  officially beginning on Tuesday March 21 and ending on Thursday, March 23. See the full schedule here.

What is the conference location?

Conference hotel and events will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN. The address is:

2800 Opryland Dr
Nashville, TN 37214

 

Who should attend?

Everyone! The National Conference is open to WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs), WBENC National Corporate and Government Members, Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs), Regional Corporate and Government Members, non-certified business owners (female and male), buyers and procurement representatives, supplier diversity professionals, and federal, state, and local government officials. We also look forward to welcoming international women business owners certified by WEConnect International affiliates.

Which industries will be there?

You will connect with women-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies that are industry leaders in healthcare, travel and logistics, food and beverage, energy, retail, transportation, telecommunications, finance, banking, office supplies, and consumer-packaged goods to name a few, as well as federal, state and local government agencies.

You can review the WBENC Corporate Member list here.

How many attendees are expected?

The WBENC National Conference is expected to draw more than 4,000 attendees and as many as 300 exhibitors including Fortune 500 companies and America’s leading Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) as well as federal, state and local government agencies.

Do you publish the attendee list?

No, the full attendee list is not published due to privacy policies and risk of scams. However, a full exhibitor list will be published and regularly updated on the conference website. Attendees can also check-in on the WBENC Mobile App once the app is available. In addition, WBENC-Certified WBEs and Corporate Members can utilize WBENCLink2.0 to look up contact information for individuals within the network.

NOTE: If you receive a solicitation from an organization claiming to provide or sell the attendee list, it is a scam. Read more about these type of scams here.

What is the WBENC Arena? - MAYBE REMOVE? DEF SIGNIFICANTLY CHANGE

The WBENC Arena is a 300,000 sq. ft all-encompassing event experience. The three halls will feature everything from your traditional exhibitor areas to educational sessions to networking opportunities. Open across three days, the Arena is designed to maximize networking.

How is the Expo organized?

The WBENC Expo will be organized according to industry groups and will feature the following industry clusters:

  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Global Trade
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional & Technical Services
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Travel & Hospitality
  • Utilities
Which industries will be in the WBENC Arena?

Ultimately you will find businesses from every industry across the Expo. The industry clusters will feature:

  • Automotive
  • Chemical
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Global Trade
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional & Technical Services
  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Travel & Hospitality
  • Utilities

If you are exhibiting and do not fit neatly into one of the industries listed, please identify the closest fit for your company.

This WBENC Conference sounds amazing but also a little overwhelming, can you help?

Yes! Make sure to join us for one of our virtual orientations leading up to the event. During the orientation we’ll take everyone through the event design and answer any questions. It is a must for first time attendees and is designed to assist all attendees in making the most out of their investment in the conference.

What do I need to know about ADA Accessibility?

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is a very large and complex property. Read below and click here for more information on ADA Accessibility, including a Resort Map with Accessibility Routes identified.  <<MAKE SURE TO ADD PDF FROM GAYLORD>>>

ADA Accessibility

Throughout the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center all interior and exterior public spaces (each atrium, lobby, restaurant, Convention Center, etc.) are accessible to guests with disabilities. Gaylord STARS are also available to assist guests with disabilities when necessary.

Wheelchairs and Electric Scooters
Bradley Health Services is the Gaylord’s on-site provider of wheelchairs and electric scooters. The daily rate for wheelchairs is $20, and the daily rate for electric scooters is $50. Both wheelchairs and electric scooters can be delivered to guest rooms for a $10 charge. Bradley Health Services is located off the Cascades Lobby and is open daily between 9am – 7pm. For more information and to make reservations, please call 615-458-2615.

If you require mobility assistance it is recommended that you reserve your wheelchair or electric scooter at least one month prior to the event. If you arrive after 7pm it is recommended that you arrange for Bradley Health Services to coordinate with the hotel front desk so that your scooter will be available for pickup upon arrival.

Guest Room Accommodations
Guests with disabilities can relax and enjoy the luxury, comfort and modern conveniences of Gaylord Opryland’s guest rooms and suites. A warm, inviting atmosphere, combined with enticing amenities and superior service, will make our property the home-away-from-home you desire. Guest room accommodations for those with disabilities include:

• Door knock and phone alerts available by request
• Wider bathroom doors
• Roll-in showers
• Shower benches available by request
• Hand-held shower heads
• Bathroom rails
• Bed-shaker alarm available by request
• Text Typewriter (TTY) available by request
• Strobe-light fire alarm
• Phone amplifier available by request
• Closed-captioned television available by request
• Accessible vanities

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to wbenccustsvc@wbenc.org.

What is Meet & Greet?

Meet & Greets are timed, roundtable discussions that allow WBEs to connect with purchasing decision-makers from major corporations and government agencies.

WBENC will host two (2) Meet & Greet sessions during the conference: Wednesday, March 22 from 9:00-11:00 AM CT and Thursday, March 23 from 2:00-4:00 PM CT. No other programming is offered during these times.

Each session will have 25-minute rounds where the host Corporate Member and the WBEs seated at their table will use the time to introduce themselves and their companies. Subject to availability, WBEs will be able to select a seat at a table of their choice for each round.

Sessions are open to all attendees of the Conference that are either WBENC- or WEConnect-certified.

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Will there be pre-scheduled 1:1 MatchMaker sessions? --- DISCUSS IF WE SHOULD REMOVE THIS QUESTION

While WBENC will not be hosting traditional 1:1 MatchMaker meetings, we will have an enhanced approach to connections, including Meet & Greet roundtable connections, an enhanced luncheon networking opportunity and ample opportunities to connect via the Open Expo and educational sessions and panels.

What will the weather be like in Nashville? --IS THIS A SILLY QUESTION _ SHOULD WE DELETE? ---

The weather in Nashville in March can fluctuate, so we recommend checking the weather report when you go to pack. Nashville typically has average highs of 62 degrees and lows of 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

What should I wear?

The recommended attire for all conference activities during business hours is business casual.

The dress code changes for the evening events:

  • Tuesday, March 21 evening Welcome Reception is business casual.
  • Wednesday, March 22 Evening Event is casual and there will be a Rainbow attire competition, stay tuned for more details.
  • Thursday, March 23 Reception & Celebration is casual.
What can I expect from keynote speakers and panelists?

Speakers include nationally recognized experts in relevant topics on business, finance, and key trends. Top executives from major corporations who value the contributions of women in business and a host of talented women business owners with a proven track record of achievement have been invited to share their expertise through keynote speeches and by leading a number of interactive programming activities.

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Who is the host hotel?

The official host hotel is the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

Where can I learn more about speaking or presenting at WBENC events?

We accept speaker/instructor proposals on a rolling basis. If you have the experience and subject matter expertise to help women entrepreneurs or the supplier diversity community, we encourage you to apply. Apply here to become a speaker.

Health & Safety FAQs
What are the Health & Safety protocols in 2023?

Your well-being is WBENC’s #1 priority. This website will be updated with information about the plans for health and safety protocols for attendees, exhibitors and staff at the National Conference. At this time WBENC is monitoring the ever-changing status of the COVID-19 pandemic and making decisions accordingly. These protocols are subject to change based on a number of factors. WBENC is committed to keeping all attendees informed and updated as changes occur.  We will continue to update the page, so please check back for news and additional guidance as we refine our planning.

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Registration FAQs
What does it cost to be an attendee at the WBENC National Conference?

Learn more about the cost to be an attendee here.

As a sponsor or exhibitor, how do I add the names of the people who will be using the full conference admissions?

Once registration is live, you can log in through the Map Your Show Dashboard. The registration section of the Dashboard will take you to the individual attended registration section where you can register individuals whom you designate as recipients of your company’s allotted Full-Conference Passes and Day Passes. This feature requires that you include their full name, company name, and email address as well as demographic information.

What is the WBENC refund policy?

All registration/ticket sales are final; no refunds will be issued. All exhibitor and sponsor package purchases are final and non-refundable.

Are individual attendee tickets transferable?

Paid registrations may be transferred to another individual at your organization if you notify WBENC in writing by March 13, 2023. Send transfer and substitutions via email to wbenccustsvc@wbenc.org.

Please include the Name, Title, and Email for the original registration as well as for the new colleague who will be using the registration. All requests must be made in writing by March 13, 2023.

Can I transfer my registration to the 2024 National Conference?

Registrations cannot be transferred between events.

As a sponsor and/or exhibitor I registered an individual for a full conference admission. Now, they are unable to attend. How can I transfer the registration?

Once registration is live, you can login to the registration system to access your records to make changes to allotments or purchase additional items. Sponsors and exhibitors can make changes to their allocated full conference passes and day passes (and additional registrations purchased) until March 18, 20223 when online registration closes.

Who do I contact with questions about the online registration process?

E-mail Customer Service

Call Customer Service toll free at (864) 658-5681

International registrants, please call 240-439-2554

Exhibitor FAQs
Why exhibit at the most influential Expo for women-owned businesses in the country?

The 2023 WBENC National Conference is the best opportunity for your company to exhibit in front of more than 4,000 small business owners, government agencies and Fortune 1000 businesses interested in doing business with WBENC-Certified WBEs. It is the most influential Expo for women-owned businesses in the country. Meet with supplier diversity and procurement executives from major corporations and WBENC-Certified WBEs in one place.

Who may exhibit in the WBENC Arena?
  • WBENC Corporate or Government Members
  • WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs)
  • WEConnect-Certified Women’s Business Enterprises
  • Federal, regional or local government agencies (must have a .gov URL)
  • Nonprofit organizations (must have a .org URL or other documentation)
  • Official media sponsors designated by WBENC

Note: WBENC reserves the right to approve exhibitor status for all companies. Organizations that register without meeting the above stipulations will not be allowed to exhibit. Fees will not be refunded.

What is the ROI of exhibiting?

To ensure exhibitors have booth traffic and access to prospective business partners, WBENC offers a comprehensive marketing plan to increase conference awareness and participation that includes:

  • Email Campaigns
  • Website promotion, including visibility beginning January 2023
  • Promotion of the WBENC National Conference through WBENC.org and email blasts reaching more than 50,000 contacts
  • Inclusion in the WBENC Mobile App and Exhibitor Directory
  • Social Media promotion on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

If your WBENC-Certified business has been certified as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), the marketing opportunities for your business will extend to reach the government representatives present. If you are not WBENC-WOSB-Certified, visit our website to learn more about how you can apply.

What does it cost to exhibit at the National Conference?

Learn more about exhibitor packages available here. There is a 10×10 WBE Exhibitor Package, a 10×10 Corporate Member Exhibitor Package, and a 10×10 Government and Nonprofit Exhibitor Package.

What are the exhibitor package benefits?

Each exhibitor package will include Full Conference Passes (quantity depends on package type), a 10 x 10 booth, 1 skirted table, 2 chairs, 1 waste basket, 7 x 44” sign with name and booth number on it, grey booth carpeting, and a listing in the online exhibitor directory.

Do exhibitors receive a discounted rate for Full Conference Passes?

Yes, exhibitors may purchase up to three (3) additional Full Conference Passes at a discounted rate of $649 each. These additional passes are available for purchase only through the online registration process.

NOTE: All exhibitor transactions are final in accordance with the WBENC no refund policy.

When will I get my booth assignment?

If you register before January 23 you will receive a correspondence about your booth placement during the month of February.

If you purchase a booth after January 23 you will receive a correspondence within 12 business days of the date you registered.

The booth assignment process for general exhibitors will not begin until February 1.

How is booth position on the expo determined?

Booth position on the expo floor is determined by preferences indicated during registration.

When registering you will have the opportunity to identify your top 2 preferred industry areas to be located within the expo. WBENC will work to place exhibitors according to their preferences, however preferred placement is not guaranteed.

Exhibitors also have the opportunity to identify both competitors and collaborators. WBENC will work to respectively place exhibitors according to this input, however specific placement is not guaranteed.

WBENC will strive to place all exhibitors according to their preferences but cannot guarantee placement.

Do I get to pick where my booth is placed on the Expo floor?

When you purchase your booth package you will be able to identify your top two industry centers on the floor. The WBENC team will work to place everyone in their preferred centers, but no guarantees can be made.

What is an exclusive WBENC Turnkey Booth Package? -- MAKE SURE THIS IS READY BEFORE GOING LIVE --

An exclusive WBENC Turnkey Booth Package is a pre-designed booth which will be set-up and ready for you to access beginning Tuesday, JMarch 21, in the afternoon. All you have to do is arrive with your collateral and team and be ready to network. Choose from either a standard graphics package which features your company’s logo and the 2023 WBENC National Conference branding, or for an additional fee, you can secure fully custom graphics.

These packages are add-on packages are in addition to the base exhibitor packages.

Can I have my own custom graphics for the WBENC Turnkey Booth Package?

Yes, for an additional fee you can work with Imagen to design fully custom graphics.

Explore Turnkey Booth Add-Ons
If I exhibit, do I have to be at my booth the entire time the expo is open?

Yes, you are required to staff your booth during the “Open Expo” hours on Wednesday and Thursday.

As an exhibitor, do I receive a reserved table at meal functions?

No. Only conference Co-Chairs, featured sponsors and reception/meal function sponsors have reserved tables.

May I serve food or beverages at my booth?

Food and beverage catering services are provided by Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center

Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is the exclusive food and beverage provider for the conference. Food and beverages shall not be brought into the building for consumption or sold by entities associated with your event, except by concessionaires designated by Gaylord Opryland.

Sampling

  • Any exhibitor who wishes to provide sample food or beverages that they normally produce in the ordinary course of their business is required to notify Gaylord Opryland, in writing, as to the nature of the proposed product sample. Items dispensed are limited to products manufactured, processed, or distributed by that exhibiting firm, must be directly related to the purpose of the show, and are dispensed in the contracted areas only. All sample items MUST receive prior approval and confirmation from Gaylord Opryland. Exhibitors not in compliance will be asked to remove the item(s) from the facility immediately.
  • Additional requirements:
    • Non-Alcoholic Beverages are limited to maximum of 3 oz samples.
    • Alcoholic Beverages are limited to a maximum of 1/2 oz samples.  Exhibitors cannot bring in alcohol products on their own to sample.  All Alcoholic beverages MUST be purchased (or if donated, then ordered on a Zero Balance Invoice) through and served by Gaylord Opryland, to comply with the state of Tennessee liquor laws and premise liquor license.
    • Food Items are limited to “bite size” (3 oz. or less).
  • The Gaylord Opryland liquor license requires all alcoholic beverages can only be dispensed by an Opryland Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) certified bartender and must be hired from the hotel. If you will be serving alcoholic beverages in your exhibit booth, you are required by the Hotel to complete the Bartender Request Form. Each bartender is $250.00+ (Rate covers 3 hours of service).

Traffic Promotor
Other food and/or beverage items used as traffic promoters (i.e. coffee, sodas, bottled water, popcorn, etc.) MUST be purchased from Gaylord Opryland.

 

Please contact Leah Batson (leah.batson@gaylordhotels.com) for all food & beverage needs at the conference. 

Who do I contact with questions about the Exhibitor Service Manual or my booth, including set-up, carpeting, furniture, etc?

Exhibitor Help Desk/Call Center:
301-306-4627

Hours of Operation:
8:30am – 5:00pm EST, Monday-Friday

Email:
exhibitorservices@hargroveinc.com

Exhibitors can also log into the Hargrove Exhibitor Portal here.

When do I need to have my booth setup by?

Your booth must be completely set-up by 5:00 pm CT on Tuesday, March 21. Please refer to the Exhibitor Kit (coming soon) for more information.

When can I access my booth?

On Wednesday, March 22 exhibitors will have access to the expo beginning at 10 AM. 

On Thursday, March 23 exhibitors will have access beginning at 8 AM.

 

When can I start taking down my booth?

You can begin to dismantle your booth at 12:00pm CT on Thursday, March 23.

When do I have to have my booth completely removed by?

Booths must be completely removed no later than 1:00pm ET on Friday, June 10.

Does the Expo close for lunch?

No, the expo does not close for lunch on Wednesday; however, the food will be available between 11-1 pm CT for all attendees.

Is electrical service included in my exhibitor package?

No, if you require any type of electricity in your booth you must purchase it through Exhibitor Services.

I still have questions about setting up my booth, where is there more information?

If you still have questions you can read through the Exhibitor Kit for more information. If you have questions you can also reach out to Exhibitor Services for assistance.

Exhibitor Help Desk/Call Center:
301-306-4627

Hours of Operation:
8:30am – 5:00pm EST, M-F

Email:
exhibitorservices@hargroveinc.com

I've received a call from a company claiming to offer exhibitor services. Is this a legitimate solicitation?

Unfortunately, there are active scammers. WBENC will not solicit information for exhibitor services or request that you take any other action related to the events unless the message comes directly from WBENC, our hotel management team, Trattativa Meetings & Events, Imagen or, our exhibit services provider, Hargrove, Inc.

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