What You Need To Know if You Are a Women Owned Small Business

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify as a women-owned small business (WOSB), a business must meet the following requirements identified in 13 CFR 127.200, 201, and 202.

·       Meet small business size standard for primary NAICS code and contract;  

·       At least 51% unconditionally and directly owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens.

·       Women must manage the day-to-day operations;

·       A woman must the hold highest officer position in the business;

·       This woman must work at the business full-time during normal working hours;

·       Women must make the long-term decisions for the business; and

·       No minimum amount of time for the business to be operational.

·       There are entity-specific ownership and control requirements. They may be viewed at the electronic code of Federal Regulations (hyperlinked to https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=5c38f281d83692288ae34329eeefd077&mc=true&node=sp13.1.127.b&rgn=div6) website. 


In order to qualify as an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB), a business must meet all the requirements for a WOSB and its owner(s) must demonstrate economic disadvantage as set forth in 13 CFR 127.203.

  •   Personal net worth (assets minus liabilities) is less than $750,000 excluding:

•       Ownership in business and primary personal residence;

•       Income reinvested or used to pay taxes of business if documentary evidence is provided; and

•       Funds reinvested in IRA or other retirement account if unavailable until retirement age without a significant tax penalty.

  • Adjusted gross income averaged over three years is $350,000 or less excluding:

•       Income reinvested or used to pay taxes of business if documentary evidence is provided.

  •   Fair market value of all assets is $6 million or less excluding Income reinvested or used to pay taxes of business if documentary evidence is provided.


Am I Eligible for the WOSB Contracting Program?


WOSB Program Certification

To be eligible to compete for WOSB set-asides or receive sole source awards, you must either self-certify or be certified by an SBA-approved Third-Party Certifier (TPC) . Please note that SBA also accepts 8(a) certification into the WOSB Program. 

Note:  The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 eliminated the self-certification process for the WOSB Program, although the change is not currently effective.  SBA is currently reviewing how to implement this change. Until the change is implemented, eligible WOSB or EDWOSB firms may continue to self-certify. This website will be updated when a change to this process occurs.  Additionally, elimination of self-certification will only apply to set-aside contracts or sole source awards made under the WOSB Program. Under federal regulations, a WOSB may still self-certify for other small business contracting opportunities that are not WOSB or EDWOSB set-asides (or WOSB/EDWOSB sole source contracts). 




A self-certification for purposes of the WOSB Program means has not used a TPC; has provided all the required documents identified below to the WOSB Repository, currently available at Certify.sba.gov; is registered in the System for Award Management (SAM); and has made a representation as a WOSB or EDWOSB eligible under the WOSB Program in SAM.  When all of these conditions have been met, then the WOSB/EDWOSB can affirm to the contracting officer that it is self-certified. Please note that SBA Forms 2413, 2414 and 413 are no longer required as these forms are completed online at Certify.SBA.gov.





Sole Proprietorships

Birth certificates; naturalization papers, or unexpired passports for women who are U.S. citizens

Articles of incorporation and any amendments

Articles of organization and any amendments

Partnership agreement and any amendments

Assumed/fictitious name certificate(s)¹

By-laws and any amendments

Operating agreement, and any amendments



All issued stock certificates ( front and back copies) signed in accordance with the by-laws




Stock ledger




Voting agreements, if any




Assumed/fictitious name certificate(s), if applicable


Joint venture agreement, if applicable



Third Party Certification

Only SBA-approved TPCs  can give you an authorized “certificate” of eligibility as a WOSB or an EDWOSB. There are currently four SBA-approved TPCs. They are:

If your firm is certified as a WOSB or an EDWOSB by one of these four entities, you are required to complete the online equivalent of SBA Form 2413 or 2414 at Certify.SBA.gov and provide your current TPC certification when prompted.

8(a) Certification

If your firm is an active participant in the 8(a) Business Development Program, it meets the eligibility requirement as an EDWOSB and a WOSB, provided that it is owned and controlled by one or more women. You are required to complete the online equivalent of SBA Form 2413 or 2414 at Certify.SBA.gov and provide your initial 8(a) certification letter and most recent annual review letter from SBA when prompted.


4 Steps to Participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program:

1.     Register in SAM.gov).

Note: Your SAM.gov registration status must be “Active” for at least 24 hours in order for the records to be available in certify.SBA.gov.

2.     Create a new user account at certify.SBA.gov. You will be prompted to create a UserID and a passphrase.  Log onto SBA’s certify.SBA.gov. Once you log into the system, you will be required to associate your business’s information with the UserID that you just created. In order to associate your new account with the information and documents from the old system, you will need to input the following information – this information should exactly match your record in SAM.gov:

  • Your primary DUNS number
  • Your Marketing Partner ID Number (MPIN) number (see below for further information)
  • Your Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) number (may be your Social Security Number (SSN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN))

Please make sure that *all* information appears exactly as it does in your SAM.gov profile (e.g. no dashes or spaces). The MPIN is case sensitive.

An MPIN is a personal code that you created while registering in SAM.gov. To view your company’s MPIN:

  • Go to the SAM.gov Homepage: www.sam.gov
  • Enter your user ID and password, then click the “Log In” button.
  • View the Business Information Page to locate your MPIN.

 If you had already created an account in the legacy WOSB  Repository at the General Log-in System (GLS), you will be prompted to associate the documents from the legacy system or upload new ones as you are completing the WOSB or EDWOSB certification questionnaire(s) at Certify.SBA.gov. GLS was shut down on March 23, 2016.

3.     You may initiate the process by clicking the Programs button from the Dashboard to begin your self-certification or provide your TPC certification.

  • If it is your first time registering in the new certify.sba.gov system, you will be able to upload new documents as you are completing the questionnaire(s).
  • If you had an account in the legacy WOSB Repository but do not see any of your documents migrated to Certify, you must start as if new. Only the GLS accounts where at least one document had been updated since October 2014 were migrated to Certify.
  • You will not be able to upload additional documents once you click on the “Submit” button. If you need to add documents, please contact wosb@sba.gov and request that your account be released.
  • You are no longer required to upload SBA Form 2413 (WOSB), 2414 (EDWOSB) or 413 (EDWOSB) as the forms are completed in certify.sba.gov.
  • If you are certified by one of the four SBA-approved TPCs, you are required to upload to certify.sba.gov your current certification. You are not required to upload any other documents.
  • If you are an active participant in the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, you are required to upload the original letter of certification and the most recent Annual Review letter from SBA. You are not required to upload any other documents.

4.     Once you have uploaded all required documents, update your profile in SAM as a WOSB or an EDWOSB. Please note that EDWOSB is a subset of WOSB. As such, all EDWOSBs are WOSBs but not all WOSBs are EDWOSBs.

5.     The WOSB Program regulations require  businesses to update your WOSB or EDWOSB certification information at least once a year. You will receive a notification from the Certify.sba.gov regarding the annual update. The user guide with screenshots may be viewed at the WOSB Update (Insert a hyperlink to WOSB Renewal).

6.     WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside opportunities may be viewed at the Federal Business Opportunities (hyperlinked to www.fbo.gov) (or FBO). Members of the public may register with FBO.gov and create a search engine in order to receive notifications on set-aside opportunities.


Note: SBA does not certify businesses into the WOSB Program. As such, businesses that complete self-certification on the Certify.sba.gov site will not receive a certificate letter from SBA.

For more information: