Sharing the Path to Certification and Success
As we reach the end of Women’s History month, I would like to thank the great women (and men) that have encouraged me to take advantage of programs and services available to women-owned businesses. My woman business enterprise (WBE) journey began at a business growth class in 2014 when I was paired randomly with a female business owner. We were both type A personalities, so how would this work? Well, to everyone’s surprise (except ours!), we clicked immediately, and to this day, Ritima Sood and I continue to work together almost daily. She encouraged me early on to get my NYS MWBE certification. At first, I wasn’t sure it was worth it, but I figured I would give it a try. With her push and referral to The Scott Skodnek Business Development Center (BDC), I got my certification. Now what?
I made sure to sign up for online notifications of bid possibilities through NYS Contract Reporter. I realized early on that I needed a capabilities sheet and learned all the ins and outs of creating one. I attended many networking events hosted by LAGCC PTAC, the SBDC, the SBS, the MTA, and more to put myself out there and make contacts. I registered with these organizations and made wonderful connections, including Christina Loggia, Lauren Linakis, and Paisley Demby. They all helped in moving my business forward. In 2021 I graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program, an amazing resource for all businesses.
Tips for Navigating The [Yellow Brick] Road to Success:
• Network! Make connections and follow up. You never know who is the person that will change your life.
• Keep Learning! Know what resources are available in your area for businesses. Take classes and learn from other business owners.
• Be Fearless! Don’t be afraid to call or ask for help. You are not in this alone.
• Be Grateful! Mentor new businesses. Share your wisdom and advice to help others.
• We Can All Win! The competition is not being better than each other, but being our best selves. So let’s lift each other up and share the glory!
Ritima did her due diligence, and we landed a few projects we could work on together. We both continued to network, and with other MWBEs, we started our own group that meets monthly to encourage each other and see what projects we can work on together. We are also members of SCWBEC, the Suffolk County Women’s Business Enterprise Coalition, which guides members through the MWBE certification process with the help of Grace Ioannidis.
UPDATING OUR OFFERING
Recently, I enhanced our graphic design and digital marketing business to include 3D rendering, modeling, and animation for clients in the construction industry. This has allowed us the opportunity to be included as a sub-contractor on larger bids with a wider range of opportunities. However, it also came with challenges to get our NYC MWBE, PANYNJ WBE, and DBE certifications. We’re grateful to have obtained the first two and are now finalizing our DBE certification so that we can bid on federal bids. Being certified has allowed us to participate on projects for the MTA, Metro-North Rail Road, The NYS Department of Transportation, and The NYC Department of Environmental Protection; The sky is the limit!