Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved WBENC as a Third Party Certifier for Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification as part of the SBA’s WOSB Federal Contracting Program. WOSB certification allows access to federal contracting opportunities.

Application for WOSB certification MUST be submitted with a New or Recertification WBE application. To move forward, please ensure you meet the criteria then follow the steps below to apply.

If certification is granted, the owner and contact on file will receive an email informing them the company has been granted certification. If certification is denied, the owner will receive a certified letter.

Criteria for WOSB Certification

  • The applicant company must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry, as identified in 13 CFR 127. Please view the listing of NAICS and their size standards for verification.
  • The applicant company must be at least fifty-one percent (51%) unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens.
  • Management and daily operation must be controlled by one or more of the women owners.
  • The women owners must make long-term decisions for the business.
  • One of the criteria below must also be true for CORPORATIONS ONLY:
    • Women must make up a majority of the Board of Directors OR have a majority of the Board votes through weighted voting.
    • Women must make up 51% of the voting power, sit on the Board AND have enough voting power to overcome any supermajority requirement.
  • WBENC uses a two part process to ensure that the applicant company meets the WBENC WOSB Standards. This will include a thorough review of the documentation presented and a site visit interview with the female owner/s.
  • Please review the WOSB Ready site as a resource for requirements associated with the program.
  • Click here for a comprehensive listing of the WOSB Program NAICS Codes.
  • NOTE: If the applicant company is currently debarred or suspended from Federal Government Contracting, the company is not eligible for WOSB certification.

Additional Requirements

  • Applicant must possess a DUNS #
  • Applicant must be registered in SAM* (System for Award Management)
  • *NOTE: There is NO FEE for the SAM registration. Please ensure the correct site is accessed, www.sam.gov.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty registering in SAM, please click here for supplemental instructions.

Documentation Required:

  • Proof of ACTIVE registration in SAM (Printout of Entity Overview)
    • Go to www.sam.gov
      • NOTE: The is NO FEE required for SAM registration when using the correct government website provided.
    • Click on “Register/Update Entity” from My SAM menu
    • Click “Completed Registrations”
    • Select Company Name under Entity List
    • Click “View” under Registration Details
    • Opens into Entity Overview for printing
    • SAM registration must be validated before the status is listed as Active. This process normally takes 3-5 business days; however, due to the new requirement (see below), the process is taking multiple weeks. If interested, please begin the SAM process immediately to not delay the certification process.
      • ALERT – As of June 11, 2018, entities registering in SAM must submit a notarized letter appointing their authorized Entity Administrator.

One of the following documents must be submitted:

  • Printout of 1st page of IRS Form 941 (for previous 4 quarters)
  • W-3 from previous year
  • Current list of employees (ONLY if the previous two items do not apply to our company)
    • If you are a sole owner of the applicant company, please provide a statement listing yourself as the only employee
    • NOTE: In order to be processed for the WOSB certification, the company’s Primary NAICS Code must align with the Principal Business Activity listed on the company’s federal tax return.

How to Apply for WOSB Certification

  • If interested in WOSB certification, the applicant MUST select ‘Yes’ when answering the first question of the online application in Section 1: General Information, “Would you like to apply for WOSB certification?”
    • NOTE: Applicants may only apply for WOSB Certification when applying as a new or recertifying WBE applicant.
  • Upload the WOSB Documentation listed in ‘Required Documents’ section

Once WOSB/WBENC Certification is Granted

Once WOSB/WBENC certification is granted, applicants must complete the additional United States SBA required steps to be eligible to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program. Click here to determine if you are eligible.

  1. Represent status in System for Award Management (SAM) as WOSB*
  2. Go to https://beta.certify.sba.gov/ 
    1. Scroll down and click on Get Started
    2. Click Create Account
    3. You will be redirected to SBA Connect site via Login.gov
    1. Click Create an account and follow the prompts to claim your business then submit an application and upload your WBENC-issued WOSB certificate.
    2. Once your certification is confirmed, you will receive a formal confirmation from the SBA.

*If not eligible to participate in the set aside program, only Step 1 needs to be completed.

Any questions regarding the SBA site should be directed to betacertifyhelp@sba.gov.