In this four-part article, our Houston contractor attorneys are discussing how women-owned small businesses (WOSB) can procure projects through federal contracting opportunities. In the first section, we explained some of the disadvantages women-owned businesses have traditionally faced when bidding on government contracts. In the last section, we discussed opportunities for WOSBs to work on projects through the Small Business Administration (SBA). In this section, a Houston contractor attorney will explain how women-owned businesses can become certified.
How to Classify as a WOSB
In order to compete for federal contracts and be classified as a WOSB in an underrepresented field, your business must first be classified under the SBA requirements as a women-owned business. Here are the eligibility requirements in order to be considered a WOSB:
- Women-Owned: The business must be owned and under operational control of at least 51 percent by one or more women. Further, these business owners must be U.S. citizens.
- Management Control: The day-to-day management of the business and primary business decisions must be made by a woman or group of women.
- Small Business: The business must be classified by the SBA as a small business. Business owners can visit the SBA website to see if they qualify for small business government contracts.
For businesses that are owned and operated by a woman or group of women, they can also meet eligibility requirements as an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB), meaning that their personal assets do not exceed $6 million with a personal net worth of $750,000 or less. For more information on EDWOSB qualifications, you can visit this website.
How to Become Certified
To become eligible as a WOSB to procure government contracts, you need to be certified. First, WOSBs need to successfully register their business within the government’s System for Award Management (SAM) website. In order to achieve certification from here, you can either attain self-certification or third-party certification. Here is a little more information on each of these processes:
- Self-Certification: Visit SBA.gov and upload all of the required documentation (including proof of U.S. citizenship, corporate documents, and limited liability company (LLC) information, among other critical documents). You can also become certified through a contracting officer on a project.
- Third-Party Certification: WOSBs can also become certified by applying through an approved third-party organization. For example, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce is one certifying entity that can assist you with the application process.
For more information on federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs, please read section four.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.