What is the Women-Owned Small Business Program?
The WOSB Program was created to help level the playing field for women small business owners. Under the program, DLA and other federal agencies reserve certain contracts exclusively for competition among woman-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs).
Unique to the WOSB Program, only certain contracts are eligible. The Small Business Administration (SBA) designates industries where woman-owned small businesses are underrepresented and eligibility for the program is determined by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code assigned to the contract. The SBA maintains a list of eligible industries and the corresponding NAICS codes at www.sba.gov/WOSB.
What are the Program Requirements?
For industries where woman-owned small businesses are substantially underrepresented, we reserve contracts for WOSBs. To be eligible as a WOSB, you must be a small business and:
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens; and
- Have women manage day-to-day business operations and make long-term decisions.
For industries where woman-owned small businesses are underrepresented, we reserve contracts for EDWOSBs. To qualify as an EDWOSB, you must meet all the requirements above for WOSBs and be owned and controlled by one or more women each with:
- A personal net worth less than $750,000.
- $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years; and
- $6 million or less in personal assets.
It is important to understand that EDWOSBs are a subset of WOSBs and all EDWOSBs are also WOSBs. This means that EDWOSBs are eligible to compete for contracts reserved for either EDWOSBs or WOSBs.
Getting Certified as a WOSB
Becoming certified for the WOSB Program means your business is eligible to compete for contracts that are set aside for WOSBs and EDWOSBs, as well as sole source awards under the program (for more, refer to Subpart 19.15 in the Federal Acquisition Regulation).
Before firms can compete for WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside contracts, they must apply for certification using SBA’s free online certification process at https://beta.certify.sba.gov/ or go through an approved third-party certifier, which may charge a fee for their services.
You may also request free assistance from your local APEX Accelerators, formerly known as Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC), which can help you navigate SBA’s process -- www.apexaccelerators.us/#
IMPORTANT: Prior to October 15, 2020, firms could self-certify for participation in the WOSB Program, but self certification is no longer sufficient. To bid on any new contract reserved for the WOSB Program firms must be certified through the online process at https://beta.certify.sba.gov/ or utilize an approved third-party certifier, which are listed at http://www.sba.gov/WOSB.
Where to Find Additional Information and Resources
Visit https://beta.certify.sba.gov/ where you can -- access checklists that provide guidance prior to applying, verify eligibility, find answers to questions regarding your firm’s ability to participate in the WOSB Program, request information from SBA by submitting the ‘Help’ form, create an account and start your application for the WOSB Program.