To help level the playing field and create more opportunities for women entrepreneurs, the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) set-aside was established. From the over $500 billion the government allocates for contracts every year, 5% is obligated for WOSBs.
Another women-owned set-aside 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 solicitation pools than businesses certified as WOSBs. Contracting officers must meet annual contracting goals by specifically setting aside certain solicitations for WOSBs and EDWOSBs.
Understanding the Basics
WOSB - Women-Owned Small Business
The WOSB program was created to provide opportunities for women-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. The WOSB program authorizes contracting officers to specifically limiting, or setting aside, certain requirements for competition solely amongst women-owned small businesses.
EDWOSB - Economically-Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business
EDWOSB is part of the WOSB program. The EDWOSB is a certification for women-owned business owners who qualify as economically disadvantaged. Unlike the 8(a) program, there is no limit on participation in the WOSB program, provided 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 women 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 will still need to register with the SBA in order to bid on specific opportunities held by government agents as well as WBENC members.
Learn About the WOSB Certification from USFCR
Watch this short video to learn about the USFCR set-aside qualification and certification process.
According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the federal government must award 5% (roughly $25 billion) of its prime and subcontract dollars to (ED)WOSBs. In 2018, $23 billion was awarded to WOSBs.
Due to the 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 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 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
To be deemed “Economically Disadvantaged”, owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the rules
USFCR can help you determine which certification option is right for your business
Get Certified with USFCR
We’ve worked with tens of thousands of businesses to get them properly registered in the federal marketplace. As a business owner, your time, attention, and resources are limited. Mistakes with federal registrations can cause delays and may result in fines. USFCR saves you time, money, and eliminates non-compliance risk.
The benefits USFCR’s (ED)WOSB certification:
Registration in the System for Award Management (SAM)
Dedicated Case Manager to manage the certification
Review of all supporting documentation
Addressing of common issues with compliance
Preparation and submission of application
Length of Certification
The WOSB/EDWOSB registration must be updated once a year to maintain the set-aside status. USFCR manages the renewal process for clients.
USFCR is Here to Help
If you have any questions or would like assistance with federal registrations and contracting, call USFCR at:
For any questions about SAM registrations, SBA set-aside certifications, or federal contracting, call (877) 252-2700 or complete the form below.
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