What You Need To Know if You Are a Federal Contracting Officer

WOSB Contracting

Contracting officers are allowed to conduct WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside or sole source procurements if the NAICS code assigned to the procurement is authorized for use under the WOSB Program. It is critical that you know which NAICS codes you can use to protect your agency and small business. Contracting officers cannot make an award under this program without verifying that the awardee has provided all the required documents to the WOSB Program Repository.  

Contracting Officers should note: 

  • The effective date for the new 2017 NAICS is October 1 2017. See the Federal Register Notice. (Insert the hyperlink to ttps://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-10-11/pdf/2017-21925.pdf)
  • For solicitations published ON or AFTER the effective date for the newly authorized EDWOSB and WOSB NAICS codes, use
    • 2017 WOSB NAICS Codes (Hyperlinked to 2017 WOSB NAICS)
    • 2017 EDWOSB NAICS Codes (Hyperlinked to 2017 EDWOSB NAICS)


  • The guidance for WOSB and EDWOSB set-asides is similar to that for SDVO SBC and HUBZone SB set-asides. The Rule of Two applies to the WOSB Program, as it does to all other set-aside programs. A crucial difference is that the NAICS code assigned to the solicitation must be authorized for use under the WOSB Program.  Detailed guidance on set-asides is provided in FAR 19.1505.


  • An EDWOSB is a WOSB whose owner and/or manager claims economic disadvantage and automatically meets the eligibility requirements as a WOSB. Accordingly, contracting officers may accept an offer from an EDWOSB in a WOSB set-aside. However, they may not accept an offer from a WOSB in an EDWOSB set-aside. In other words, you limit competition to WOSBs that meet the economic disadvantage requirements. If you accept an offer from WOSBs, you would end up expanding competition without SBA’s authorization.


  • WOSB or EDWOSB sole source requires you follow the same rules that you do for Service-Disabled Veteran- Owned Small Business or HUBZone sole source procurements. Contracting officers must ensure that the NAICS code assigned to the procurement is authorized for use under the WOSB Program. Detailed guidance is provided in FAR 19.1506.
  • If you have questions about the Program, your local Procurement Center Representative (PCR) is available to provide guidance on the WOSB Program requirements. 
  • Contracting Officers’ roles and responsibilities in connection with the WOSB Program are discussed in FAR 19.15. You may also refer to contracting officers’ guidance on utilizing the WOSB Program (hyperlinked to 2017 WOSB PROGRAM CO GUIDANCE).
  • Contracting Officers can accept self-certification or third-party certification including 8(a) certification to comply with the FAR 19.1503 requirement for WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside contracts or sole source awards. They must verify whether offerors have provided all the required documents to Certify.SBA.gov.

 Verifying Eligibility Documents on the WOSB Repository

Contracting officers now have access to the WOSB Repository available at Certify.sba.gov. Pursuant to FAR 19.1505(e), contracting officers must check whether the apparent successful offeror provided all the required eligibility documents set forth in 13 CFR 127.300(d) or (e). Contracting officers must take the following steps in order to verify that the apparent successful offeror has submitted the documents establishing its eligibility as a WOSB or EDWOSB.


  1. Go to https://certify.sba.gov and click on the “Login or create an account” link for Federal government employees.
  2. Click the Login button if you have a Max.gov account. Register your PIV or CAC card in Max.gov if you do not have a MAX.gov account.
  3. On the Request Access page, please select the Contracting Officer/Contract Specialist role.
  4. Click on the Request Access link on the left menu bar and enter in the text box the DUNS number of the apparent successful offeror.
  5. Complete the request form by entering the solicitation number, the NAICS code, and the type of procurements.


Once the apparent successful offeror approves your request, you can review the eligibility documents by using the My Requests link on the landing page. Contracting officers should note that businesses have different document requirements depending upon whether they are self-certified or third-party certified. The following Matrix will enable contracting officers to understand what documents, based upon the business type, they should validate must be present in the offeror’s file.







Sole Proprietorships

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

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

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

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


¹ You should be looking for the certificate if the sole proprietor operates under an assumed/fictitious/doing business as name.


Third Party Certification (TPC): Firms certified by third party certifying entities as a WOSB or EDWOSB are only required to submit their TPC to the WOSB Repository. Please note that SBA only accepts a certification from one of the following approved certifying entities: El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation; US Women’s Chamber of Commerce; and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.


8(a) Certified Firms: Firms that SBA certified into the 8(a) Business Development Program qualify as an EDWOSB and as a WOSB. 8(a) certified firms are required to provide their initial approval letter and most recent annual review letter from SBA.  An annual review letter provides that firms have demonstrated their continuing eligibility to participate in the 8(a) BD Program.


Detailed step-by-step instructions are provided on the Help (Insert a hyperlink to http://s3.amazonaws.com/sba-public-production/original_co_creates_account_views_wosb_documents_-_v2_1.pdf) page of the Certify website. For technical questions, please contact help@certify.sba.gov. For program questions, please contact wosb@sba.gov

WOSB Status Protests


  • ·       Only an interested party may protest the WOSB or EDWOSB status of an apparent successful offeror on a WOSB or EDWOSB procurement.  An interested party includes offerors, the contracting officer, or SBA. The protest must be in writing and filed with the contracting officer.
  • ·       In a negotiated acquisition, the contracting officer must receive the protest prior to the close of business on the fifth business day after notification by the contracting officer of the apparent successful offeror. In a sealed bid acquisition, the contracting officer must receive the protest prior to the close of business on the fifth business day after bid opening.
  • ·       The contracting officer must forward all protests to SBA regardless of the timeliness or specificity. All WOSB status protests must be sent to the Director for Government Contracting, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416, or by fax to (202) 205-6390, Attn: Women-Owned Small Business Status Protest.
  • ·       A referral letter from the contracting officer must include the following information including but not limited to: the solicitation number; the NAICS code assigned to the procurement; contact information of the contracting officer, the protested concern and the protestor; the date of notification on the apparent successful offeror; and the received date of the protest. For more information, please send an email to wosb@sba.gov (link sends e-mail). 
  • ·       SBA will determine the WOSB or EDWOSB status of the protested concern within 15 business days after the receipt of the protest, or within any extension of that time that the contracting officer may grant SBA. If SBA does not issue the decision within 15 business days, it may award the contract if he or she determines in writing that there is an immediate need to award the contract. The contracting officer must include the determination in the contract file and send a written copy to the SBA Director for Government Contracting.
  • ·       SBA will notify the contracting officer, the protestor, and the protested concern in writing of its determination. The determination is in full effect unless an appeal is made and the decision is brought to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.