What is the WOSB and how is it different than the WBE?
The Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) certificate is an additional certificate specifically for businesses interested in federal government contracting. It qualifies you to work with the Small Business Administration’s WOSB program.
Is WOSB Right For Me?
If you’ve answered yes to the below questions, read on about how to add the WOSB onto your WBE application.
1. Am I interested in federal government contracting?
– The WOSB program is run by the SBA and is only applicable for federal government work. This does not apply to contracting with states, counties, cities, or transportation agencies.
2. Is my business on the list of industry NAICS codes below?
– Qualifying NAICS codes
– The WOSB program is intended to help level the playing field for women in traditionally male dominated industries. If your industry NAICS code is not on the list in the link above, the WOSB program will not benefit you. You should use the NAICS code that is listed on your federal tax return.
How to Get WOSB Certified
As of summer 2020, the SBA is no longer allowing businesses to self-certify. There are now two ways to get WOSB certified:
1. Add on the WOSB to your WBE certification (this is the easier option!):
– Select “Yes” on question 1 of your WBE application or recertification to add on the WOSB
– Upload your active SAM.gov registration. You must be active in SAM.gov before becoming WOSB certified. There is no fee for signing up with SAM.gov
– Upload an additional piece of supporting documentation such as your quarterly tax return or list of employees.
2. Apply directly with the SBA:
– This option requires you filling out an additional application and uploading many of the same documents for the WBE application that will be processed by the SBA
– This option also requires that you be registered with SAM.gov
Upload Your WOSB Certificate to the SBA Set-Aside Program Portal
The SBA has created a new central location for all WOSBs to upload their certificate, whether you are certified directly through the SBA or certified through us (this is called third-party certified).
FIRST double check that you are eligible for the set-aside program: https://www.wbenc.org/am-i-eligible
I’m eligible and have my WOSB certificate:
All businesses must create a new account, submit an application and upload the required documents including your WOSB certificate to the new SBA site. These steps are required even if you are already WOSB certified to ensure eligibility.
- Go to https://certify.sba.gov
- Scroll down and click on Get Started
- Click Create Account
- You will be redirected to SBA Connect site via Login.gov
- Click Create an account and follow the prompts to claim your business, then submit an application and upload your WBENC-issued WOSB certificate
- Once your certification is confirmed, you will receive a formal confirmation from the SBA
I’m not eligible and have my WOSB certificate:
If you’re not eligible because your industry is not listed in the accepted NAICS code list, the program will not benefit you. However, you can still update your status in System for Award Management (SAM) as WOSB.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an additional cost to add on the WOSB?
Can I get WOSB certified without the WBE?
We will only add on the WOSB certificate for those eligible for the WBE. If your WBE application is denied, we will not complete your WOSB certificate. You can choose to apply for WOSB directly with the SBA (see above).
Please also note that you cannot add on the WOSB mid-year. It must be added on at the time of submitting your certification or recertification application.
I forgot to add WOSB onto my WBE application. Can I add it on later?
No, once you have submitted your application we cannot retroactively add on the WOSB application this year. We recommend that for this year you apply directly with the SBA.
However, you can add it on next year on your WBE recertification by selecting “yes” on question 1 of your WBE application and uploading your supporting documents.
SAM.gov is taking a long time to process my registration. Will this affect my WBE application?
No. While we recommend you register with SAM.gov well in advance of submitting your WBE application, we understand that sometimes SAM.gov can take awhile to get back to you. We process the WBE and WOSB certificates separately, so we will continue to process your WBE while you wait for SAM.gov to come through.
How long after receiving my WBE can I expect my WOSB?
As long as we have the necessary documents, including your SAM.gov registration, you can expect the WOSB certificate to come through in about 1-2 weeks after you’ve received your new WBE certificate.
I am currently WOSB certified through WBENC. Do the changes to self-certification and the new SBA certification process affect me?
No! Please continue to check yes on question 1 of your WBE recertification each year to request the WOSB and we will make sure your WOSB certificate stays in good standing. This is called third-party certification and will remain a perfectly valid way to obtain your WOSB certificate.
Where can I download the WOSB logo?
The SBA does not officially have a WOSB logo that they provide for businesses to use. However, most WOSB certified businesses use the logo at the top of the page, which can be found on Google.
Can you also certify me as an EDWOSB?
No, we do not provide the EDWOSB certificate (Economically Disadvantaged WOSB). You must apply directly to the SBA for this program. Here’s a great short article on the difference between WOSB and EDWOSB.