To the WBENC network,
We all started this year with big ideas and bigger plans. The last month has forced each of us to make difficult decisions, change course, and do our best to weather this unprecedented health and economic crisis. To survive and thrive amid the chaos and uncertainty. But the beauty of the WBENC network is that we are doing it TOGETHER.
I have been so inspired by the kindness, generosity, and resilience I have witnessed throughout our network during this crisis – from WBEs rising to the occasion to support our healthcare system, to the generous support from Corporate Members to help their suppliers see this through. We are highlighting these stories on the WBENC blog weekly – see the first installment here.
If there ever was a time to join forces and succeed together, it is now.
For WBENC, we have made some changes, big and small, to help ensure the health, safety, and livelihood of our network over the long term.
- We have called off both of our major in-person national events in March (Summit & Salute) and June (National Conference & Business Fair). We are currently planning a hybrid event in November, combining elements from Summit & Salute and the National Conference & Business Fair. We remain hopeful it will be safe to bring our network together then, but we will of course continue to monitor the situation and prioritize your health and safety. In the meantime, mark your calendars for November 15-18, 2020!
- Even while the WBENC and RPO teams work remotely to practice social distancing, the WBENC certification process carries on! We have implemented digital site visits to ensure continuity in new certifications, and we have instituted a flexible policy for re-certifications, allowing WBEs whose certifications expire before August to go up to 90 days past their expiration date and remain visible in WBENCLink2.0 search.
- Like many businesses within our network, WBENC is also practicing the art of the pivot. We have been closely examining our programming, listening to the needs of our network, and developing thoughtful virtual solutions to meet the needs of WBEs and Corporate Members alike. Rest assured, we are not backing down on our mission to fuel opportunities for women-owned businesses. Stay tuned for more details about upcoming opportunities and programs in the coming weeks.
In addition to these changes, we have ramped up our efforts to support our network through the COVID-19 pandemic in several ways:
- We have a comprehensive resources center where we are compiling business and financial resources, as well as offers from other WBENC-Certified WBEs who are stepping up to support one another. Check out the resource center here and sign up for our weekly COVID-19 round-up email to stay up to date on new opportunities and resources.
- There are hundreds of WBEs able to support the COVID-19 pandemic with front line or supportive supplies and services. To help quickly connect these suppliers with WBENC Corporate & Government Members, as well as hospitals and other organizations in need, we have created a WBE COVID-19 Supplier Search and Spotlight, available to the public for a limited time. WBEs also have the opportunity to enhance their listing with a 90-second pitch video and capabilities statement. See the list here and how WBEs can enhance their listing here.
Most importantly, WBENC and our Regional Partner Organizations continue to listen to the needs of our network to help respond in the most supportive way. If you have feedback on how we can best support you, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay healthy and safe,
WBENC President & CEO