Featured Nonprofit: Women’s Business Council – Southwest

Women’s Business Council – Southwest is headquartered at 5605 N. MacArthur Blvd, Ste 220 and has been helping connect Women-Owned Businesses, referred to as Women Business Enterprises (WBE), with corporations and governmental entities since 1995. The non-profit membership organization’s mission is to increase business for women-owned businesses through corporate and government procurement opportunities. They are responsible for certifying the WBE and connecting her with the corporate member.
Corporations and government entities set supplier diversity goals, for example, they might strive to make 15% of purchasing from women-owned businesses. Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies set similar annual financial goals. They do this because they understand the value of the diverse supply base which includes more input, more invocation, and better pricing. Women’s Business Council – Southwest has over 70 corporate members including American Airlines, Texas Instruments, City of Dallas, Fluor, Pearson, and Lockheed Martin.
WBEs make up forty-five percent of all privately held firms in the nation yet they get only 5% of the corporate purchasing. Why? Debbie Hurst, President of Women’s Business Council – Southwest, says “There’s a long-standing historical, good ole’ boy,’ this-is-how-we-do-business, predominately white, male-run business…Whether you agree that it’s important to have diverse opinions, the reality is that this country is going to be majority-minority shortly. If you don’t appreciate the diversity in your community, then you’re going to be left behind. If you’re going to keep doing business the old way, you’re going to go out of business.” Lastly, women make about 80% of all purchasing decisions so doing business with women-owned businesses makes sense.
Hurst mentions that there are still some myths about the women-owned business. Women own businesses in all industries. In other words, women are not just flower shop and catering company owners. Marketing Director Taylor Crosby, said that “construction, engineering, and architecture” are the largest categories of members.
When it comes to the WBE’s, they are certified by the Women’s Business Council as being 51% owned and operated by women. Women’s Business Council – Southwest screens the business and provides the owner with the certification so that they are able to pursue business with corporations fulfilling their supplier diversity goals. “We’re too much of a well-kept secret,” Hurst says, “we’re a resource for women-owned businesses but there are too many women-owned businesses who don’t know that we exist.”
On moving to Las Colinas after spending 17 years in Arlington, Hurst states, “It is so centrally located for our members, it’s close to the airport…it’s a very convenient location for the major corporate members who are involved. We’ve got folks from Lockheed Martin in Ft. Worth to Toyota in Plano to downtown Dallas. It’s a good central location. It’s also a very business oriented, business-friendly, professional community and that’s what we’re about.”
For more information on Women’s Business Council – Southwest, go to https://www.wbcsouthwest.org/ or call 817-299-0566.