The conference starts with the Pre-Conference events on Monday, June 18 and officially begins Tuesday, June 19 with the Kickoff Luncheon. The Business Fair will be held Wednesday, June 20 and on Thursday, June 21 the Tribute! Dinner and 2019 Launch Party conclude the conference. Please click to review the schedule and event locations.
The conference’s events will take place at the Cobo Center:
1 Washington Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
WBENC-Certified Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), WBENC Corporate and Government Members, Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs), Corporate and Government Members, 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 based in China, Europe, India, and Peru.
You’ll connect with women owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies that are industry leaders in healthcare, travel and logistics, 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.
The WBENC National Conference & Business Fair is expected to draw more than 4,300 attendees and as many as 350 exhibitors including Fortune 500 companies and America’s leading Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) as well as federal, state and local government agencies.
No, the full attendee list is not published due to privacy policies. Attendees can check-in on the WBENC Mobile App once the app is available. In addition, WBENC-Certified WBEs and Corporate Members can utilize www.wbenclink.org to look up contact information for individuals within the network.
As we progress on the Road to Growth and Sustainability, it is apparent that the need to strengthen our partnerships, not only with our valued Corporate and Government members but also between our certified WBEs, is critical to our collective success. This success will result in fueling economic growth by opening new channels of revenue and creating jobs across both the public and private sector. During the National Conference & Business Fair, WBENC will expand networking, matchmaking and mentoring opportunities as well as a keen focus on delivering industry expertise and innovation across our WBE constituents and the Corporate and Government members. The theme of "Join Forces. Succeed Together." is exemplified by the accessibility at the conference to all constituents in order to partner and forge new relationships and create opportunities.
The weather in Detroit in late June typically has average highs of 80 degrees and lows of 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
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 or moderating a number of workshops.
The recommended attire for all conference activities during business hours is business casual. The dress code changes for the evening events.
The Tuesday evening Welcome Reception and Silent Auction is business casual.
Attendees are encouraged to wear their conference t-shirt to the Wednesday Evening Event.
The Thursday Tribute! Dinner and Awards Ceremony is business or cocktail attire.
To view the registration process as well as the rules and regulations for attendees, exhibitors and sponsors, click here.
To view the cost to be an attendee at the National Conference & Business Fair click here.
Spouse/Companion Tickets are available so attendees with Full-Conference registrations can bring a guest to an evening event if they are traveling with a spouse or friend. The Spouse/Companion Tickets are only needed for guests who are not attending the daytime conference activities. Any individual who has a Full-Conference registration or a Day Pass does not need to purchase any additional passes for themselves in order to attend the evening events.
You can purchase a Spouse/Companion Ticket for a spouse/friend you are traveling with for the evening events. They are available each day for the following fees:
- Tuesday Welcome Receptions and Auction $150
- Wednesday Evening Event $175
- Thursday Tribute! Reception and Awards Dinner $200
You can login through the online registration and register individuals whom you designate as recipients of your company's allotted Full-Conference Admissions and Exhibitor Day passes. This feature requires that you include their full name, company name, and email address as well as demographic information.
REFUND POLICY: All registration/ticket sales are final, no refunds will be issued. All exhibitor and sponsor package purchases are final and non-refundable.
Paid registrations may be transferred to another individual at your organization if you notify WBENC in writing by June 11, 2018. Send transfer and substitutions via email email@example.com. Please include the Name, Title, and Email for the original registrant as well as for the new colleague who will be using the registration. All requests must be made in writing by June 11, 2018..
Registrations cannot be transferred between events.
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 admissions and exhibitor day passes (and additional registrations purchased) until June 11, 2018, when online registration closes.
Call Customer Service toll free at 1-800-310-7554
International registrants, please call 240-439-2554
Hours of Operation:
9am-5pm, EST, Monday - Friday
Sponsorship brings tremendous visibility to your brand in front of more than 4,300 individuals. The conference attendees are comprised of women business owners, corporate executives and purchasing decision-makers, as well as representatives from government agencies and advocacy organizations. All sponsors receive brand recognition in the ACTIntentinally365 book, on the conference website, and on conference signage, as well as an exhibitor booth, conference registrations and access to the Senior Executive Reception preceding the Tribute! Dinner on June 21.
Click here to view sponsorship opportunities and benefits.
The following entities are eligible to sponsor:
- WBENC National Corporate and Government Members
- Regional Corporate or Government Members of the 2018 Host Council, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council
- WBENC-Certified WBEs
- WBENC Regional Partner Organizations (RPO)
- WBENC National Strategic Partners, which includes a select group of approved nonprofit organizations and media entities
Note: WBENC reserves the right to approve all entities requesting to be a sponsor.
Yes, sponsors may purchase additional Full-Conference Registrations for $599 and additional Exhibitor Day Passes for $250. These registrations include all activities included in the conference schedule for the specific admission category.
As a Sponsor Contact there are a few things you should know:
- As a Sponsor Contact you are responsible for registering your corporation for the event. You’ll receive directions from Mia Delano with a code to access your company’s registration here. You will first register yourself as the Sponsor Contact and fill out your company’s Exhibitor Directory information.
- The Sponsor Contact will then need to register each of the individuals using your Full-Conference Registrations and Exhibitor Day Passes. You will need each individual’s full name, company name, and email address as well as demographic information. Please note, if you, the sponsor contact, will also be attending the conference you must register yourself for one of the Registrations or Day Passes.
- If you need to make any changes to the registrations you already completed you can log back in to make the adjustment any time before June 11.
All ads are due by April 9th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you did not receive your ad specs.
The exhibitor kit will be posted on the conference website.
1:1 MatchMaker Questions
WBENC-Certified WBEs who purchase a full conference registration; WBENC-Certified WBE sponsors; WBENC-Certified WBE Sponsor guests; WBENC-Certified WBE Exhibitors; and WEConnect Certified WBEs with a current certification who register before the Early Bird Deadline, April 2, are eligible to participate in MatchMakers.
Being eligible means your company is currently certified and registered by the early bird deadline of April 2 and therefore will be invited to complete a company profile which will be used by our Corporate Members in the 1:1 MatchMaker selection process. Eligibility does not guarantee you a 1:1 MatchMaker meeting.
April 10th: WBE ACTION ITEM
ONLY the female owner will receive an email from email@example.com with instructions to create or update the company’s MatchMaker profile and to block schedule times so that no meeting can be scheduled at a time that the WBE is not available. If the owner is not attending, please make sure she is aware of the email and knows which staff person to forward it to. If no email is received by the owner, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
April 24: WBE DEADLINE
All WBE profiles must be completed. Those WBEs that do not submit a profile, will automatically be excluded from the selection process.
May 25: CORPORATE DEADLINE FOR SCHEDULING
After the April 24 WBE deadline, the participating Corporate Members will begin to review the eligible profiles to identify the WBEs that sell the products/services they currently need. After reviewing the WBEs meeting their needs, they will determine which WBE(s) will receive an invitation to meet. All Corporate Members must complete scheduling meetings by May 25.
June 14th: WBE ACTION ITEMS
It is highly suggested to download the MatchMaker tool, EventDex mobile app which can be download from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store. For additional app instructions and functionality, visit this site to see how you can easily and quickly view your appointments, cancel an appointment and manage your schedule from the EventDex app.
Print your final schedule. Schedules printed prior to this date will not have the table names assigned. However, it is important to continue to login to EventDex and check your schedule to ensure there have been no cancelations or last minute scheduled meetings due to unforeseen circumstances.
Each WBE has access to their schedule when logged into the MatchMaker tool, EventDex. It is strongly recommended that you monitor your company’s online schedule once a week to see if a meeting has been scheduled. While auto emails are generated, delivery is not guaranteed. Most of the Corporate Members will schedule between May 1 and May 25, which is why weekly monitoring is important. In addition, meetings may be canceled and rescheduled by the Corporate Members, so it is important to check the schedule leading up to the day of the MatchMaker event on June 21 to ensure no changes have taken place.
Meetings are automatically accepted on the behalf of the WBE Company. No action is required by the WBE unless they wish to cancel the meeting.
All corporations participating in MatchMaker will be listed in the MatchMaker tool by April 24. If you see that a company is participating, you may reach out to the supplier diversity team using the contact information in WBENCLink2.0. When doing this, please keep in mind that the person you are emailing may not be the MatchMaker participant and will need to forward the email to the appropriate person. You will want to let them know you understand what their company does and what your solution for them is. In addition, it is important that you convey you understand the process and are requesting a meeting only if they have available time slots. Please do not contact any company that has not been identified in the MatchMaker tool as a participant.
This is your time to convince the corporation to take your company to the next level, so do your homework. Every company is different, convince them that your company can meet their specific needs because you understand what those needs are! To prepare for the meeting you can review the 1:1 MatchMakers 101 webinar available on WBENC Insights.
Be on time! WBEs who arrive late, will not be allowed to enter the MatchMaker room.
Arrive 20 minutes prior to your meeting to check in and be seated in the holding room. Information regarding registration will be provided via email to the participants prior to traveling to the event from MatchMakers@wbenc.org