For many small businesses seeking to get into the federal contracting marketplace, the Woman-Owned- Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program was introduced in 2011 to all allow small businesses to further explore their opportunities for getting federal government contracts.
Being a WOSB allows for companies to have a level playing field to compete for procurements and to explore that ability to get sole-source contracts in industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented in the commercial sector.
- The Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees and administers the WOSB Certification Program.
How to Register
You can self-certify as a Woman-owned small business. By uploading these documents to https://Certify.SBA.gov. You are making a legal representation to the federal government that you meet the requirements for a woman-owned business and that the corporation is owned and controlled by one or more women that meet the certification.
NO More WOSB Self Certification New WOSB Certification Requirements
Updated WOSB Federal Contracting program regulations in effect:
- SBA’s new, free online certification process for WOSBs and EDWOSBs is live at beta.certify.sba.gov
- SBA allows continued participation from businesses that utilize approved Third-Party Certifiers (TPCs) to obtain WOSB or EDWOSB certification
- As of October 15, 2020, the previous self-certification option on the old certify.sba.gov platform is no longer available
- If you had contracts through the WOSB Federal Contracting Program when the changes went into effect, you will remain certified through the duration of existing contracts (whether you were previously self-certified or TPC-certified)
- All WOSB firms need to take action in beta.certify.sba.gov in order to compete for WOSB Federal Contracting Program set-aside contracts (based on specifics in the following sections based on your status)
WOSB Certification Requirements and Benefits
A small woman-owned business can self-certify as a WOSB by registering as such through the System for Award Management (SAM) and uploading additional documentation into the WOSB Program repository through SBA’s General Login System (GLS).
WOSB Certification Eligibility
- Considered “small” as defined by the relevant NAICS code
- Be at least 51% directly owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. Citizens
- To be deemed “Economically Disadvantaged”, owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the rule (see below)
- The business must be at least 51% directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens.
If the eligible woman that is the majority owner and controls the company’s management is economically disadvantaged, the WOSB may qualify as an economically disadvantaged owned small business (EDWOSB).
WOSBs and EDWOSBs under the regulations can also compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs such as 8(a) set-asides or SBA HUBZone set-asides if they meet the program requirements.
- There are dollar amounts or caps for set-aside contracts under the WOSB Program.
- Contracting officers, not SBA, are responsible for verifying that small businesses bidding on federal contracts have provided all the required documents to Certify.SBA.gov in WOSB or EDWOSB procurements.
WOSB Third-party certification
You can apply for WOSB or EDWOSB certification through one of SBA’s approved third-party certifiers. These organizations will, for a fee, thoroughly review required documentation in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements to determine if you are eligible for WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides under the law. Obtaining third-party certification can offer women, small business owners, a greater degree of certainty with regard to their eligibility before being awarded a contract under the program.
The SBA approved four organizations for WOSB third party certification. Contact them to find out about their certification process. They are:
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- National Women Business Owners Corporation
- US Women’s Chamber of Commerce
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
You’ll need to provide proof of your WOSB third-party certification through certify.SBA.gov.
Need Help From WOSB Status Bid Protest Lawyers?
If your WOSB status has been challenged in government contract protest, our bid protest lawyers can help you to defend the allegations.
If you are a small business seeking legal help with government contracting and WOSB programs, call our government contract small business lawyers at 1-866-601-5518 for a FREE Initial Consultation.