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Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program

Upcoming certification changes


In summer 2020, the certification process for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs) will change as put forth by Congress in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The SBA expects that the regulations enacting the statutory requirement will be published on June 30, 2020, and will be effective 30 days later.

Once the changes go into effect:


You will no longer be able to self-certify as a WOSB or EDWOSB.You will have to either certify through an approved third-party entity or go through SBA’s FREE online certification at certify.sba.gov.

Review the SBA’s latest FAQ and certification options table for more information.

We will provide regular updates on this page and you also can contact your local SBA regional and district office or Women’s Business Center with questions.


Program benefits

To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the women’s contracting program.


These contracts are for industries where women-owned small businesses (WOSB) are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). The SBA maintains a list of those eligible industries and their NAICS codes.


Joining the women’s contracting program makes your business eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for the program. You can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs you qualify for.


Women’s contracting program eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the women’s contracting program, your business must:

Be a small businessBe at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizensHave women manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions

To qualify as an economically disadvantaged business within the women’s contracting program, your business must:


Meet all the requirements of the women’s contracting programBe owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a personal net worth less than $750,000Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three yearsBe owned and controlled by one or more women, each $6 million or less in personal assets


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). You can also get a preliminary assessment of whether you qualify at the SBA’s Certify website.


Get certified as a women-owned small business

Note: In summer 2020, the WOSB and EDWOSB certification process will change. Self-certification will no longer be an option, and you will have to either certify through an approved third-party entity  or go through SBA’s FREE online certification at certify.sba.gov. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions and certification options table for more information.


Before you can participate in the women’s contracting program, you must be either self-certified or third-party certified. Both methods will require you to use the certify.SBA.gov website. You’ll need to have a profile at SAM.gov before you can use the certification website.


After you provide your certification information through certify.SBA.gov, you should update your business profile at SAM.gov to show contracting officers that your business is in the women’s contracting program. The SBA doesn’t send letters of certification for the women’s contracting program.


You’ll need to update your certification information through both SAM.gov and certify.SBA.gov once a year to maintain your status with the program.


Self-certification

You can self-certify directly at certify.SBA.gov by answering questions and uploading documents. The information you’ll need to provide will vary based on your business structure and whether you’re already participating in other SBA programs. Review the preparation checklist at the certify website.


Is your business SBA certified?

Government agencies reserve contracts for small businesses that are certified in the SBA’s contracting programs.


GET CERTIFIED

Third-party certification

There are four organizations approved by the SBA to provide third-party certification. Contact them to find out about their certification process. They are:

El Paso Hispanic Chamber of CommerceNational Women Business Owners CorporationUS Women’s Chamber of CommerceWomen’s Business Enterprise National Council

You’ll need to provide proof of your third-party certification through certify.SBA.gov. Read the instructions carefully to make sure you provide all the necessary information.

The SBA also accepts a current, valid 8(a) certification. You must provide your 8(a) certification and annual review letters through certify.SBA.gov.


Need help?

Office Government Contracting - Women-Owned Small Business program 409 Third St. SW eighth floor Washington, DC 20416 wosb@sba.gov

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