- What is the WOSB Program?
- What is the Benefit of Participating in the WOSB Program?
- WOSB/EDWOSB Set-Asides
- WOSB Program-Eligible NAICS code
- Who Can Qualify for the WOSB Program?
- How Do You Get Certified as a WOSB?
- Need Assistance with the WOSB Certification Process?
- Are you a WOSB looking for GSA Contract Help?
The WOSB Program is a federal contracting program available to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). This federal contracting assistance program is intended to help balance the scales, so that small businesses can better compete in the federal market, which has historically been dominated by large businesses.
What is the Benefit of Participating in the WOSB Program?
How does the WOSB Federal Contracting Program help level the federal contract landscape for women-owned businesses? While the government sets an annual goal to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to WOSBs, the program takes it further to set aside, or restrict, certain federal contracts to SBA-certified women-owned small businesses. The benefit of participating in the program is that, as a certified WOSB or EDWOSB, you can qualify for these set-aside contracts.
- To qualify for WOSB set-asides, you must be certified through SBA’s online certification process
- If you were previously self-certified as a WOSB or EDWOSB before the new certification process went into effect in 2020, you must complete the new certification process to qualify for WOSB set-asides
As stated in the Federal Register, the WOSB Program allows federal contracting officers to restrict competition for a contract to WOSBs if:
“(1) there is a reasonable expectation that at least two WOSBs will submit offers that meet the requirements of the acquisition at a fair and reasonable price and
(2) the acquisition is for a good or service assigned a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code in which SBA has determined that WOSBs are “substantially underrepresented.”
The WOSB Program also “authorizes contracting officers to award a sole-source contract assigned a WOSB Program-eligible NAICS code, provided that only one WOSB can be identified that can perform the contract at a fair and reasonable price.”
What does this ultimately mean for a WOSB-certified business?
WOSB Program-Eligible NAICS Codes
Please note, while WOSB/EDOSB set-asides can only be made under the NAICS codes detailed in the chart below, these NAICS codes are not required for a company to become WOSB certified.
Who Can Qualify for the WOSB Program?
There are a few high-level qualifiers a business must meet to participate in the WOSB Program. These requirements are listed below. However, for a more detailed review of eligibility, complete SBA’s questionnaire here.
- Be a for profit entity
- Be a small business in your primary industry based on SBA size standards
- Be at least 51% owned, controlled, and primarily managed by one or more women who are U.S. citizens
How Do You Get Certified as a WOSB?
Program Application Process
Prior to October 15, 2020, there was a self-certification process for the WOSB Program. Today, there is a formal certification process that can be completed at no cost through SBA’s platform, WOSB.Certify.sba.gov or with the help of an approved Third-Party Certifier (TPC). In order to compete for WOSB set-aside contracts, you will need to complete SBA’s free online certification process.
Below is a high-level overview of the steps needed to become an SBA-certified WOSB/EDWOSB
- Determine your eligibility. Take SBA’s online eligibility questionnaire here.
- If your company does not have an active entity registration in the System for Award Management (SAM), you must do this first
- Review the checklist provided on SBA’s website to ensure you have the documentation needed
- Create a Login.gov account if you don’t currently have one
- Create an account on https://wosb.certify.sba.gov/ (WOSB.Certify) and claim your business
- Complete your WOSB or EDWOSB application on WOSB.Certify
- SBA will screen your application to ensure it’s complete
- An analyst will review your application and may conduct a request for information prior to submitting their final recommendation
- A director will make the final decision on whether to approve your application or not. If approved, you’ll receive a signed letter
Once you’ve submitted your application, SBA will then review it and make its determination within 90 calendar days. During the review process make sure you are on the lookout for any feedback from an SBA representative. They may reach out requesting clarification or additional documentation if your application is deemed incomplete.
As of May 1, 2022, SBA placed a hold on the requirement to annually attest to your WOSB Program eligibility. However, certified WOSBs must still recertify every three years and notify SBA of any material change that could impact eligibility within 30 days of said change.
Need Assistance with the WOSB Certification Process?
If you need outside assistance to prepare your application, there are four organizations listed below that have been approved by the SBA to provide a third-party certification (TPC).
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- National Women Business Owners Corporation
- U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
These organizations can help alleviate the administrative burden of obtaining your WOSB certification. You will however need to contact them to learn more about their individual process and any associated costs that they may have.
Upon approval, you will need to upload your TPC-certified documentation and proof of citizenship to WOSB.Certify.sba.gov before you can bid on any WOSB set-aside contracts.
Where Can I Find More Information About the WOSB Program?
For any questions you have about the WOSB program you can use the Local Assistance Finder to find your local Womens Business Center or visit the WOSB.Certify Knowledge Base. Both of these are great resources to use in preparation, during, and post-WOSB certification.
Are you a WOSB looking for GSA Contract Help?
Whether your company is looking to get a GSA MAS Contract or update your GSA MAS Contract, we can help! FEDSched not only specializes in the GSA MAS Contract, we also have first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to be a women-owned small businesses. FEDSched started out as a woman-owned small business in 1986, and continued as one for more than two decades before transitioning to a 100% employee-owned small business.
Contact us today!