What is it?
To help level the playing field and create more opportunities for women entrepreneurs, the women-owned small business (WOSB) set-aside was established. This means that from the over $500 billion the government allocates for contracts every year, 5% is obligated for prime and subcontracts for WOSB. Another set-aside that’s similar is the economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB).
Businesses certified as EDWOSBs qualify for extra funding and may be selected in smaller set-aside solicitations pools than businesses certified as WOSBs. Contracting officers must meet annual contracting goals by specifically limiting or setting aside certain solicitations for WOSBs or EDWOSBs.
WOSB, EDWOSB, WBENC: What are they?
WOSB - Woman-Owned Small Business
The WOSB program was created to provide opportunity for woman-owned businesses competing for federal contracts. Just like a qualified veteran-owned business, the Small Business Administration (SBA) sets goals for spending in these categories.
EDWOSB - Economically-Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business
EDWOSB is part of the WOSB program. The EDWOSB is a certification for woman-owned business owners who qualify as economically-disadvantaged. Unlike the 8(a) program, there is no limit on participation in the WOSB program as long the business is eligible.
WBENC - Women Business Enterprise National Council
The WBENC is an SBA-approved third party WOSB program certifier. A WBENC Certification confirms that a business is 51 percent owned and operated by a woman or multiple women. To achieve the certification, women-owned must complete the required documents and open for a site-visit by one of fourteen WBENC regional locations. Once approved, the women-owned businesses can bid on specific opportunities held by government agents as well as WBENC members.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal government must award 5% (roughly $25 billion) of its prime and subcontract dollars to WOSBs/EDWOSBs. In 2017, a little over $20 billion was awarded to WOSBs.
Due to the newly signed National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, WOSBs now have uncapped contracting potential allowing contracting officers to award contracting dollars above the original Small Business Act limitations. These uncapped contracts are valid to any and all WOSBs and EDWOSBs that are currently registered in System for Award Management (SAM).
When a solicitation is designated with WOSB or EDWOSB, you will have exclusive bidding rights. This means you could be the first in line or the only one in line for the opportunity.
Benefits of the WOSB program include:
- Sole source, non-compete contracting opportunities
- More bid opportunities and subcontracting opportunities
- Increased visibility in the federal marketplace
To qualify for the WOSB set-aside, the business has to be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens. These women also have to manage day-to-day operations as well as make long-term decisions. Like any other government contractor, you also need to be registered in the System for Award Management.
If you’re interested in registering as an EDWOSB, the criteria mentioned above applies and includes the following:
- The women owner-operators each have to have a net worth of less than $750,000
- In the last 3 years, each of these owner-operators need to have an adjusted gross income of $350,000 or less
- Their personal assets must be less than or equal to $6 million each
Get Certified with USFCR
When you’re running a business, your hands are already going to be full. Why not call in the experts to help you get your set-aside certifications and other registrations processed? US Federal Contractor Registration has helped many businesses like yours thrive in government contracting. We’ll get your WOSB/EDWOSB done right and in a timely manner, saving you time and the hassle.
Our WOSB Registration includes filing and organizing of the following documentation to the WOSB Program Repository:
- Submission of Identity Verification
- Completion of Joint Venture application, if applicable
- Completion of Organization, Corporation or Partnership Agreement
- Organization includes – certification of organization, amendments and operating agreement
- Corporation includes – Articles, by-laws, any/all issued stock certificates (front and back copies), and any amendments; As well as an Operating agreement
- Partnership includes – any agreements and amendments
- Completed Documentation of the WOSB Certification
- Verification of DBA (doing business as), if applicable.
- WOSB Verification Filing – WOSBs Completion
Length of Registration
The WOSB/EDWOSB certification is to be updated once a year to maintain your set-aside status. This must be done through SAM.gov and certify.SBA.gov.