Women-Owned Small Business Certification
The certification process for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs) changed in 2020. SBA implemented Congress’ changes to the WOSB Federal Contracting program, as put forth in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
These updated regulations make it easier for qualified small businesses to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting program by improving the customer experience. At the same time, SBA is strengthening oversight and maintaining the integrity of the certification process.
Program eligibility requirements
To be eligible for the WOSB Federal Contracting program, a business must:
Be a small business according to SBA size standards
Be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens
Have women manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions
To qualify as an EDWOSB within the program, a business must:
Meet all the requirements of the WOSB Federal Contracting program
Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a personal net worth less than $750,000
Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years
Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each $6 million or less in personal assets
Economic disadvantage standards have been aligned between the 8(a) Business Development program and the WOSB Federal Contracting program. Additionally, funds invested in an official retirement account are excluded from the assessment of an economically disadvantaged individual’s personal net worth in both programs. 8(a) firms interested in pursuing EDWOSB certification may provide their most recent annual review letter or acceptance letter if in their first year through applying at wosb.certify.sba.gov
SBA also allows participation from firms certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Verification and Evaluations (CVE), provided they meet all eligibility requirements. Firms must provide their CVE certificate and supporting documentation through wosb.certify.sba.gov
The eligibility requirements to qualify as a WOSB or an EDWOSB are fully defined in Title 13 Part 127 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Firms can also get a preliminary assessment of whether they qualify at wosb.certify.sba.gov
Get certified as a women-owned small business
Before firms can compete for WOSB Federal Contracting program set-aside contracts, they must apply for certification on wosb.certify.sba.gov or go through an approved third-party certifier. Both methods require that firms use the wosb.certify.sba.gov website. For more information about the application process, please review the following wosb.certify.sba.gov fact sheet.
The wosb.certify.sba.gov website makes it easy for firms to understand the changes to the certification process to ensure they remain eligible.