As a fast-growing, woman-owned business in the janitorial industry this is very exciting!
A few months ago, Summit Building Services (SBS) celebrated its first birthday as a company. As an intern I have had the opportunity to witness Summit Building Services blossom into the company it is today. One of the company’s highlights over this past year was becoming nationally certified as a woman-owned business. I sat down with the owner of SBS, Erin Griffith, for an interview to discuss the application process, certification process and what this certification means for a business like Summit Building Services.
Here is our interview with SBS President Erin Griffith:
When did SBS begin its journey as a company? Tell us how things started.
Erin Griffith: I worked in the building services industry for quite some time, and I thought that if you could establish an employee-centric culture of caring, you could be really successful in this industry. This is how SBS began its journey.
At what point along the way did you first consider becoming a certified woman-owned business?
EG: We actually talked about becoming certified from the very beginning because we knew we could add more to the Akron area and it would set us apart from other businesses in our industry.
What factors helped you weigh in on this decision?
EG: The big push came once we were established in the market; we wanted to take it to the next level.
When did you apply for certification? What agency did you use and which level of certification did you apply for?
EG: I applied in October 2016 through the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). We decided to start by applying for certification on the national level.
What was the application process like? Can you take us through the steps?
EG: The entire application was 10 pages long, with 75 pages of documents we were required to turn in. It was a very thorough process because they have to be sure that a business really is woman-owned. The organization did its due-diligence in gathering all of the documents, showing examples of funding and business projections.
What was the in-person interview like?
EG: The interview process was really nice, someone from NAWBO came out and met with me to confirm everything that was in the application. It was nice to hear from another woman business owner and receive tips and affirmations.
After completing the application and interview process, how long did it take to receive your certification? What were your initial thoughts and feelings upon receiving the certification?
EG: I received the certification one week after the in-person interview. I was excited, and it was really nice to receive after going through the long application process.
Was it worth it? Would you go through the entire process of becoming certified again?
EG: Yes! I definitely recommend it to any other women running a business. It is a lot of work but the designation really makes a difference.
What’s so special about this certification? Can you tell us what it does for businesses like yours?
EG: The janitorial industry is still male-heavy, especially in the management and ownership sectors. The certification along with being woman-owned in this industry makes us different and allows us to stand out to clients and employees. The service-first mentality we have with our employees, clients and ownership ties in with us being different, and it is very nice to have recognition of being different!