Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Contracting

The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) federal contract program is designed to provide greater access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) by allowing contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for certified firms in an effort to achieve their statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to women-owned small businesses.

WOSB Program Requirements

To qualify as Women-owned, a business must be:

  • Considered “small” as defined by the relevant NAICS code
  • Be at least 51% directly owned and controlled  by one or more women who are U.S. Citizens
  • To be deemed “Economically Disadvantaged”, owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the rule (see below)

Certification Options

Your local PTAC counselor can help you determine which certification option is right for your business.

Self Certification: Businesses may self-certify as Woman-owned by registering as such through the System for Award Management (SAM) and uploading additional documentation into the WOSB Program repository through SBA’s General Login System (GLS).  Contracting officers will use this information to determine if your business is eligible for a WOSB set-aside when making an award.

Third Party Certification:  You can apply for WOSB or EDWOSB certification through one of SBA’s approved third party certifiers.  These organizations will, for a fee, thoroughly review required documentation in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements to determine if you are eligible for WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides under the law.  Obtaining third party certification can offer women small business owners a greater degree of certainty with regard to their eligibility before being awarded a contract under the program.  The organizations approved by SBA as third party certifiers are:


Webinar Overview:
WOSB Program History, Requirements, and Resources Available through the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC)

Webinar sponsored jointly by APTAC and USWCC, recorded June 26, 2014



Presented by Margot Dorfman, CEO of the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce

Learn more about the USWCC at www.uswcc.org

WOSB Picture from Vermont PTAC

At no cost, your local PTAC can help you:

  • Determine if you may be eligible to be certified as a WOSB or EDWOSB
  • Identify the information and documents you’ll need to apply for certification
  • Decide whether to self-certify or obtain a 3rd party certification
  • Understand women-owned small business opportunities for state and local government contracts
  • Market your WOSB or EDWOSB Certification
  • Find contracting opportunities even if you don’t certify as a WOSB!

Contact your local PTAC today!


Additional Resource Links

SBA’s WOSB Program page

WOSB Program Regulations in the Federal Register

WOSB Program Compliance Guide

Contracting Officer’s Guide for the WOSB Program

WOSB and EDWOSB NAICS Codes (2012)

SBA ChallengeHer Program: Woman-owned small business opportunity forums sponsored by SBA in partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) and American Express Open.  Click here for more information as well as dates and locations of upcoming events.

4 Steps to participate in the WOSB program*

Contact your nearest PTAC before you begin – they can provide invaluable help with this process!

  • Read the program regulations in the Federal Register and the WOSB Compliance Guide.
  • Register and represent your status in the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • Log onto SBA’s General Login System (GLS). (Obtain an account now if you don’t already have one)
  • Go to the WOSB program repository (through GLS) and upload / categorize all required documents**.

**A complete list of required documents to upload to the Repository can be found in the Compliance Guide for the WOSB Program.

All eligible firms who would like to participate in this program must complete and sign the WOSB certification form or EDWOSB certification form and upload it into the repository.

*The 4 steps are taken from the SBA website.