On February 4, 2011, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) implemented under Federal Acquisition Regulation the Women-Owned Small Businesses Federal Contract Program (WOSBs).
The WOSB program was established to help women-owned businesses procure sole-source government contracts in the manufacturing and goods and services sectors. This is achieved by setting aside certain contracts for WOSBs in conjunction with assisting with training, counseling, and other resources.
The ultimate goal is to help WOSBs build their industrial and competitive proficiency.
To meet the SBA’s requirements for becoming a WOSB, your company must be at least 51 percent women-owned and controlled by a U.S. born person. Also, the company’s daily operations must be under the direct advisory and control of at least one economically disadvantaged woman.
The SBA qualification guidelines stipulate, economically disadvantaged women as having a personal net worth of less than US $750,000, a personal income over the three year period preceding certification not exceeding US $350,000, or a total net worth, including all of her assets, of less than US $6,000,000.
She must also maintain the highest title and role within the company and not engage in outside employment.
How to become a registered WOSB
Businesses can receive certification through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which is an approved third party certifier.
If your business is currently certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), you can apply for the WSOB certification by accessing your account and using the FASTrac system.
The WBENC certification deems businesses eligible to compete for Federal, state and local government contracts, and grants access to supplier diversity and procurement executives at major corporations and government agencies.
Certification through WBENC also gives businesses access to the WBENC professional network and eligibility for the Dorothy B. Brothers Scholarship.
Once you are ready to apply, gather all required documentation. Be prepared to provide written explanations for requested documents that do not apply to your business.
Required documentation includes:
- trust agreements
- owner’s proof of identity and citizenship status
- complete history of the business
- copy of bank signature authorization card
- copy of corporate resolution
- financial statements
- tax returns
- debt instruments
- payroll for the previous month
- resumes of owners
- signed and notarized sworn affidavit
- signed user agreement
- list of management and employee personnel
- W-2s and/or 1099s of personnel
- applicable fees
For a detailed list of requirements, visit the WBENC’s website at: www.wbenc.org.
Register a new user account with the WBENC and follow the WOSB Application page.
The online application includes a summary view, sworn affidavit and a link to the WBENC User Agreement. Print the summary view, sworn affidavit and user agreement for later use.
After your registration is complete, you will receive an email notification with the address and phone number of a Regional Partner Organization (RPO). Contact the RPO, as they will determine applicable fees based on your area.
Complete and sign the Summary View and User Agreement, Sworn Affidavit and have it notarized. Mail the application fee and all required documentation by certified mail to your assigned RPO.
Upon receipt and review of your documentation you will then be required to schedule a site visit. Your RPO will notify you by email about the status of your application.
Qiana Chavaia is the CEO and Founder of Q Arts & Media, LLC, a New York City-based marketing firm. She’s also a digital and interactive marketing strategist, and small business and personal finance columnist for mint.com and quicken.com.