If you are a woman-owned business, you may be eligible for federal contracting opportunities under the WOSB (woman-owned small business) and/or EDWOSB (economically disadvantaged woman-owned small business) programs. These programs authorize contracting officers to restrict competition or award sole source contracts to eligible WOSBs or EDWOSBs in certain industries where SBA determines that WOSBs are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented in federal procurement.

To qualify as a WOSB or EDWOSB, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a small business as defined by SBA for your primary industry classification.
  • You must be at least 51 percent unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more women who are United States citizens.
  • If you are applying for an EDWOSB certification, you must also demonstrate that the women owners are economically disadvantaged according to the criteria set forth in 13 CFR 127.203.

To be considered economically disadvantaged to qualify as an EDWOSB, each woman owner claiming economic disadvantage must demonstrate:

  • A personal net worth of less than $850,000 (excluding her ownership interest in the applicant business, her qualified retirement accounts, and her equity interest in her primary residence);
  • An adjusted gross yearly income (AGI) over the past here years of less than $400,000 (with some exceptions for pass-through income); and
  • The fair market value of all her assets (including her primary residence and the value of the business concern) do not exceed $6.5 million (but not counting qualified retirement accounts.

There are several options to obtain certification. Of course, you can apply through the SBA’s online platform. There are also four SBA-approved third-party certifiers:

With some of the third-party certifying agencies, you can also obtain your women business enterprise (WBE) certification at the same time.

You must also register in the System for Award Management (SAM) and update your EDWOSB or WOSB status annually.

Once certified, you must comply with the ongoing obligations to maintain your eligibility, such as notifying SBA of any material changes that could affect your status, recertifying your status every three years, and meeting the limitations on subcontracting and the performance of work requirements for each WOSB or EDWOSB contract you perform.

If you have any questions about WOSB or EDWOSB certification, the application process, or the appeal process, please contact Danielle Dietrich, Esq. at ddietrich@potomaclaw.com or 412-449-9141.

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