What is the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program?
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.
Participating in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) WOSB Program helps women-owned businesses compete for federal contracting set-asides, while still competing for contracts under other socio-economic programs for which they may be eligible. The benefits of this program are real. Nearly five thousand women-owned small businesses have been certified by the SBA to participate in the WOSB Program. In 2020, the federal government awarded $27.14 billion in federal contracts to WOSB
To be eligible for the WOSB Federal Contracting program, a business must:
- Be a small business according to SBA size standards
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens
- Have women manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions
To qualify as an EDWOSB within the program, a business must:
- Meet all the requirements of the WOSB Federal Contracting program
- Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with a personal net worth less than $750,000
- Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each with $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years
- Be owned and controlled by one or more women, each $6 million or less in personal assets
Economic disadvantage standards have been aligned between the 8(a) Business Development program and the WOSB Federal Contracting program. Additionally, funds invested in an official retirement account are excluded from the assessment of an economically disadvantaged individual’s personal net worth in both programs.