Empowering Afghan Businesswomen
How to Participate in the Women Owned Federal Contracting Program
The Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Federal Contract Program helps to expand the opportunities available to WOSB by setting aside certain contracts for conducting business with the federal government. It also helps Economically Disadvantaged WOSB (EDWOSB) to compete for federal contracts by setting them aside in specific industries. If you are a small business owned by women, you can determine your WOSB eligibility and certify your business as such if you meet the requirements. Once your business is certified, you will be able to participate in, and compete for, various federal contracts that are set aside for you and other WOSB.
Determining WOSB Program Eligibility
Determine eligibility online.Before you can certify your business as a WOSB or EDWOSB, you must determine whether you are eligible for certification. The US Small business Association (SBA) has an online tool to help you determine your eligibility. Simply visit the SBA website and click on the "Am I eligible?" link. You will be asked a series of questions and, based on your answers, the computer will tell you whether you are eligible to certify as a WOSB or EDWOSB.
Meet small business requirements.WOSB certification is only available to those businesses that can be defined as "small" under SBA standards. SBA size standards are usually stated in the number of employees you have or the average annual receipts you receive. The definition of "small" will vary depending on what industry you are in. The SBA website offers great resources for calculating your business's size and finding applicable standards based on your industry.
- For example, if you are in the business of farming soybeans, what, or corn, your business will be considered small if your annual receipts are no more than 0,000. In another example, if you are in the business of rice milling, your business will be considered small if you have no more than 500 employees. You can check the SBA's table to determine the standards applicable in your industry.
Check your industry's North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code.The federal government restricts competition (i.e., sets aside federal contracts fro WOSB and EDWOSB) only in certain industries. Every so often the SBA will release a list of NAICS codes that are eligible for WOSB and EDWOSB status. If you know your business's NAICS code, check the list to see if your industry is eligible. If you do not know your NAICS code, you will need to review the NAICS manual, which is available on the government's Census Bureau website.
- An NAICS code is a six-digit number that uniquely identifies a specific business industry. For example, if you are in the business of support activities for forestry, your NAICS code would be 115310. If you own a sewage treatment facility, your NAICS code would be 221320.
Ensure your business is owned by women.In order to be eligible for WOSB EDWOSB status, one or more women must unconditionally and directly own and control at least 51% of the business. In addition, those individuals must be US citizens. A business is controlled by a woman if that woman has both long-term decision making authority and the ability to manage the day-to-day operations.
- The 51% ownership requirement may not be met if that percentage is created through another business entity, trusts, or other agreements that may put ownership interests in other peoples' hands.
Make sure a woman holds the highest officer position in the company.The woman or women that own at least 51% of the business must also hold the highest officer position in order to be eligible under the law. In most businesses, this will be the position of chief executive officer. In addition, this woman must work in that position full-time during normal working hours.
- Therefore, it is not enough to simply have a passive investor that is a woman. The business must be owned, controlled, and ran by the woman or multiple women.
- If you meet all of the above requirements, you will be eligible to certify as a WOSB.
Determining EDWOSB Program Eligibility
Calculate the personal net worth of the business’s owner.To be eligible as a EDWOSB, all of the WOSB requirements must be met plus you will have to meet a couple extra requirements. To qualify as an EDWOSB, the woman or women owning 51% of the company must also be economically disadvantaged. To determine the woman's economic disability, you first need to calculate her personal net worth. In order to qualify under this standard, the woman must have a net worth of under 0,000 excluding their ownership interest in the business at issue and excluding the equity interest in her primary residence.
- Net worth is calculated by adding together all of the individual's assets and subtracting their liabilities.
Determine the owner’s gross income average.To be eligible as an economically disadvantaged woman, the business owner must have an annual income average of less than 0,000 (calculated over three years).When making this calculation, you can exclude the woman's reinvested income and any money used to pay the business's taxes.
Assess the fair market value of all the owner’s assets.The woman's total assets must be valued at less than ,000,000 in order to be eligible. To calculate this number, you will add together the fair market value of all the owner's assets including her primary residence and the value of the business. However, you can exclude certain assets including individual retirement account funds and other retirement accounts.
- If the woman owning the business in question meets these three requirements, in addition to the WOSB requirements, your business will be eligible for EDWOSB status.
Obtaining WOSB Program Certification
Obtain a DUNS number.Any business wanting to contract with the federal government, regardless of their WOSB status, must obtain a DUNS number in order to do so. You will need your DUNS number in order to certify your WOSB or EDWOSB status. This DUNS number will be required before you can bid on any federal contract. The DUNS number is a unique identifier for each physical location of your business. The number is free to obtain and can requested online.When you are going through the request process, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your legal name
- Headquarters location
- Any Doing Business As names
- Physical business addresses
- Mailing addresses
- Number of employees in your business
- Contact names and addresses
- Whether you are a home-based business
Register with the System for Award Management (SAM).If you believe your business is eligible for WOSB or EDWOSB status, you will have to get certified. You can get certified on your own or by using an approved third-party certifier. In either scenario, the first step to certification is registering with SAM. To register, establish a user account and register your business on your account. It can all be done online through the SAM website.
- The SAM site is important because it is where you and every other business will represent your eligibility for federal contracts. Therefore, once you register with SAM and certify as WOSB or EDWOSB, you will hold that information out on your account.
Pay a fee if you are going through a third-party certifier.If you self-certify, you will not need to pay any fee for certifying. However, if you use an approved third-party certifier, you will have to pay a fee for their service. When you go through a third-party, they will help you through the process of compiling and uploading the required documents. As of 2019, the only third-party certifiers available are:
- The US Women's Chamber of Commerce
- The Women's Business Enterprise National Counsel
- The National Women's Business Owners Council
- The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Upload required documents.Once you have registered with SAM, you must upload a series of required documents to the SBA certification website.You will need to create an account before you can begin uploading documents. Once you create an account on the SBA certification website, you will need to link your SAM account by providing your DUNS number, your Taxpayer Identification number (TIN), and your Marketing Partner ID number (MPIN) (which is created in SAM). Once the linking process is complete, you will upload the required documents to your account.The documents you are required to upload will vary based on what type of business you have. for example, if the business at issue is a corporation, you will need to upload the following:
- An active SAM registration
- Proof of US citizenship
- A copy of your corporation's articles of incorporation and bylaws
- Copies of issued stock certificates
- A copy of your stock ledger
- A copy of any voting agreements
- A copy of joint venture agreements
- A signed copy of your WOSB or EDWOSB certification
Represent your status in SAM.Remember that SAM is used to represent your eligibility for certain federal contracts. Therefore, once you have uploaded all the required documents to the SBA certification website and have been certified, you need to represent your status as a WOSB or EDWOSB on SAM. To do this, login to SAM and check the appropriate boxes.
- Make sure you upload all of the required documents before making these representations. False representations can mean severe civil penalties.
Compete for contracts.Once you have represented your WOSB/EDWOSB status on SAM, you will be able to compete for contracts set aside for you and your fellow WOSB. Keep in mind that you can always compete for general federal contracts even if they are not set aside for WOSB/EDWOSB competition.
Video: Ivanka Trump addresses the World Bank forum on woman owned businesses. FULL. Oct 14
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