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Did you know there is a federal program to increase government contracts for women? We didn’t, either! That’s why HealthMarkets reviewed the program and wants to share this information with you.

The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program was implemented in February 2011. The program strives to enable women to compete for government contracts in an increasing amount of industries.1 For more information about this program, read on.

HealthMarkets Reviews the WOSB Federal Contracting Program

WOSBs are often underrepresented in certain industries. By setting aside a particular amount of contracts for WOSBs and Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs), the government is increasing women’s presence and ability to compete.

In order to identify and contract WOSBs and EDWOSBs, Federal Contracting Officers use a repository. This repository informs Federal Contracting Officers which WOSBs and EDWOSBs are available for their industry. The repository also gives small business owners the opportunity to self-certify as a WOSB, manage documents, complete forms, get deadline notices, and review helpful certification PowerPoint presentations online.1

Before a Federal Contracting Officer can choose your small business, you must first confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

Before a small business can register as a WOSB, it must meet specific guidelines. These eligibility guidelines are in place to make sure that the program fulfills its goal of increasing women’s presence in underrepresented industries.

HealthMarkets Reviews the WOSB Requirements

In order to register as a Woman-Owned Small Business, that business must meet the following conditions:2

  • Meet the small business primary North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and contract size standard
  • Be at minimum 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned by female U.S. citizens
  • Have day-to-day operations managed by women
  • Have women making long-term company decisions
  • Have a woman hold the company’s highest officer role. This officer has to work full time, during business hours, at the company

There are no requirements on the amount of time that the company has been in operation.

HealthMarkets Reviews the EDWOSB Requirements

What You Need for Registration

For WOSB or EDWOSB Registration, you should have the following items ready:3

  • Active registration on SAM.gov
  • Proof of U.S. citzenship
  • If applicable, any Joint Venture agreements
  • If your company is a corporation:
    1. Articles of Incorporation
    2. Stock certificate copies (front and back)
    3. Stock ledger
    4. Corporate bylaws and any amendments to these bylaws
    5. Certificate of Good Standing
  • If your company is a Limited Liability Company:
    1. Operating Agreement and any amendments to this agreement
    2. Articles of Organization and any applicable amendments
    3. Certificate of Good Standing
  • If your company is a partnership
    1. Partnership Agreement and any amendments to this agreement
  • If your company is a Sole Proprietor:
    1. Doing Business As (DBA) or Trade Name Certificate

For EDWOSB Registration, you will also need the following:3

  • Resume (not required)
  • Personal Financial Information (this is required for each woman and her spouse
    1. IRS Form 4506-T (completed and signed)
    2. Most recent IRS Form 1040s with all schedules (3 must be submitted)
    3. Most recent W-2s (3 must be submitted)
    4. Information detailing the value of all assets, liabilities and income

EDWOSBs have more eligibility requirements than other WOSBs. Why? Because in order to be an Economically Disadvantaged WOSB, you must confirm certain financial standings. To register as an Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business, that business must meet the following conditions:2

  • Meet the small business primary NAICS code and contract size standard
  • Be at minimum 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned by female U.S. citizens
  • Have day-to-day operations managed by women
  • Have women making long-term company decisions
  • Have a woman hold the company’s highest officer role. This officer has to work full time, during business hours, at the company
  • Have less than $750,000 in personal net worth, not including:
    1. Main personal home
    2. Ownership in the company
    3. Any income reinvested in the company or used to pay the taxes of the company
    4. Any money reinvested in retirement accounts (like an IRA)
    5. Any assets transferred to or for an immediate family member (for limited reasons) in the last 2 years
  • Have an average of $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income in a three-year period, not including any income reinvested in the company or used to pay the taxes of the company
  • Have $6 million or less in fair market value for all assets

Again, there are no requirements on the amount of time that the company has been in operation.

Smiling small business owner in the foreground holding her tablet with employees gathered in backgroundHow to Participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program

Now that you know if you are eligible to receive government contracts, HealthMarkets reviewed how to register for the program in order to participate. Read the step-by-step-process below.2

Register

  1. Go to the System for Award Management, SAM.gov, and register. (It may take 24 hours before you can access your registration for step 2.)
  2. Visit certify.sba.gov and create an account. Be prepared to fill in the following information exactly as it was in SAM.gov:
    • MPIN
    • Taxpayer Identification Number
    • Primary DUNS number
    • Marketing Partnership ID Number

Certify

  1. There will be a link available to begin your self-certification.
    • If this is your first time, you will need to upload new documents as you complete the questionnaire(s). You cannot add more after you submit without emailing [email protected], so make sure everything is completed.
    • If you have been certified in the past by a Small Business Administration (SBA)-approved third-party certifier (TPC), you will need to upload your original certification letter as well as your current certification. You don’t have to upload any additional documents.
    • If you are an active participant in the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, you will need to upload your original letter of certification as well as your most recent annual review letter from SBA. You don’t have to upload any additional documents.

Update

  1. Update your profile in SAM as a WOSB or EDWOSB.
  2. Annually, update your WOSM or EDWOSB certification information.

Once you have registered, certified, and updated, you are ready to participate! Federal Contracting Officers will be able to see your small business, and you will have a competitive edge in industries where women are often underrepresented.

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References

1 https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/women-owned-small-businesses
2 https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/women-owned-small-businesses/what-you-need-know-if-you-are-women-owned-small-business
3 https://www.certify.sba.gov/prepare#wosb

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