Denver’s paperwork burdens women-owned businesses


TREAT HER LIKE A LADY: Denver’s paperwork for certifying women-owned small businesses duplicates the federal process and asks intrusive questions for sensitive information.

By Joshua Sharf |

Denver’s process for certifying women-owned small businesses not only duplicates the federal paperwork, it includes several provisions that are significantly more intrusive, and puts potentially sensitive information in the hands of government employees.

The federal Women-Owned Small Business certification process is administered by the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, while the City and County of Denver administers its own process.

Watchdog Wire compared the two sets of questionnaires and required documents for corporations to qualify. The document requirements for limited-liability companies are slightly different from those of corporations.

Almost all of the documents and questionnaires are the same. However, the few but intrusive differences are enough to keep Denver from accepting the federal certification, requiring the applicant to run through a similar process on a different site, something that could — even if it were identical — take several hours.

Most of the documentation and questionnaire makes sense. They are, after all, intended to make sure that the business really is in the line of work it’s applying for, that the ownership and decision-making authority really is in women’s or minority hands, and that the company is a real entity, not simply a special-purpose shell corporation, or one is owned and operated by another company.

Read the complete story at to see the list of documents required for a corporation to be certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business.