WOSB – According to the Small Business Administration, a WOSB, or Women-Owned Small Business is defined by the following requirements:
EDWOSB – the following requirements apply to qualify as an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business:
Women-Owned Small Business Certification empowers businesswomen to gain favor for lucrative government contracts at local, state, and federal levels. Becoming certified opens the door to competing successfully with larger organizations.
Any qualifying female business owner (Small Business, Large Company/Enterprise, or Disadvantaged Small Business) who wants to do business in the government sector can apply for certification and future contracts.
In this post, we’ll define WOSB Certification and provide best practices for getting started with certification for your business.
WOSB certification is a practice used by the US government (and some others) to award contracts to small businesses that are operated by at least one U.S. citizen female who holds 51% or more interest in the company. Contracts that are valued at less than $250,000 are automatically set aside for small businesses.
There is also a certification for economically disadvantaged businesses (EDWOSB) that can meet additional requirements.
Certification gives you access to contracts that are set aside specifically for qualified WOSBs and EDWOSBs. At least 5% of all government contracts awarded in the US are granted to women-owned for-profit businesses (nonprofits are ineligible for certification and most SBA small business programs).
Being certified allows economically disadvantaged and other women-owned businesses to work with larger companies that support their growth. Registering to do business with the US government gives access to networking opportunities, mentoring, and other resources to grow your business.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), in 2017, more than 11.6 million businesses were owned by women. WOSBs generated $1.7 trillion in sales and produced almost 9 million jobs.
If your business is already established, at least 51% owned by one or more females, and daily operations are conducted by women owners, you are eligible to register with SAM.gov to be awarded WOSB, and EDWOSB government contracts. You must have a Dun & Bradstreet or D-U-N-S number to register.
You will also need to answer some questionnaires and complete the supplemental SBA page if you are registering as a small business.
If you have a state-issued photo ID and a social security number, identity verification is usually quick.
This Quick Start Guide will walk you through the process.
New and established Women-Owned Small Businesses are encouraged to apply for certification. Check out the Small Business Administration’s website on the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program for more information and free training webinars. There are also companies that will handle your certification for a fee. A few of those organizations are listed here.
You’ll need the following documents and information to apply for these programs.
Existing Businesses: Check eligibility on the SBA’s website. Collect the following documents and complete the application.
Visit SBA.gov to complete your online application once you have collected all your documents. Also, the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership is an excellent resource to keep on hand throughout your business journey.
SBA certification as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) can open doors to a steady stream of contract work both in your state and for the federal government. Registered businesses have access to contracts that would otherwise go to larger companies. Through the SBA’s program, you can also grow your existing business by using their many helpful tools, resources, and free training.
Take these steps to register for the US government’s System for Award Management.
Once your SAM (System for Award Management) registration is active, take these next steps to apply for SBA certification. You’re almost there!
We hope this article has been helpful in walking you through the SBA WOSB certification process. If you are currently a WOSB or EDWOSB, please share your comments on the application process below.
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