Having the courage to embrace your identity as a woman in business involves knowing who you are and why you do what you do. It also means knowing how you can use your vision to impact the community around you.
As a result of their contributions, organizations benefit from the presence of strong female executives. If you want to empower your woman-owned small business to government contracting, this article will guide you to be a successful contractor.
What is the WOB and WOSB program?
The Women-Owned Businesses (WOB) is a term used that states that a woman owns most of the business. To assist competition for women entrepreneurs, the government limits competition for specific federal contracts to WOSBs.
Women-owned small business (WOSB) is a federal government contracting program that aims to open opportunities for women entrepreneurs. This program allows contracting officers to put aside specified requirements for competition only among WOSBs or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs).
All WOSB must have accreditation from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Having certification from the WBENC can open doors to both private and public sector contracts.
The following is a list of certificates for WOB:
- Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)
- Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB)
- Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)
Who is responsible for the program?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is responsible for the program’s implementation and administration. The SBA publishes regulations, screens for eligibility makes decisions on protests, and investigates eligible industries with other federal agencies.
SBA also collaborates with other agencies to support WOSBs and EDWOSBs.
What is WBE Certified?
A Women Business Enterprise (WBE) is another certification for a woman who owns and runs a business. There are three types of WBE certificates: federal, state, and local. The requirements for applying for each one will differ depending on where the certificate is issued.
The following minimum standards must be met to qualify as a WBE with the WBENC or a local, county, or state WBE program:
- a US-based for-profit company
- A woman must have authority over 51 percent of the company unless they inherited it.
- A woman or a group of women controls the governing board.
- The chief operating officer is a woman with technical expertise (experience) in the firm’s core business activity.
- American-born or legal-resident women entrepreneurs.
What is the difference between WOSB and WBE?
Private companies and some government agencies often accept the WBE certificate. In comparison, the WOSB certificate is more beneficial for federal programs.
The WOSB program only allows businesses to be certified if they work in specific NAICS codes, but the WBE usually doesn’t. Certifications can be given by third-party organizations or the person who got them. An organization usually needs to fill out an application and send in supporting documents in both instances.
What does Wbenc certified mean?
The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) seal of approval signifies that at least 51% of a company’s ownership, control, operation, and management are women or women. It means that one or more women must have the majority authority over the company, have a track record of successfully managing day-to-day operations, and have made a corresponding financial or technical investment.
Business owners who want to be certified must go through a screening process that includes examining their company’s records and a site visit. The SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program has also certified WBENC as a third-party certifier.
What advantages does a woman-owned business have?
Many business women gain access to government and private contracts by obtaining accreditation as a women-owned enterprise. Accreditation for women-owned businesses has numerous advantages and the opportunity to win corporate or government contracts.
Offers tax benefits
There are numerous tax advantages to working with a WBENC-certified small business. Tax breaks are available from the federal government for companies who do business with minority and women-owned enterprises.
With a woman-owned business certification process, tax liabilities are lowered for projects sponsored by the federal. It is also possible to get tax breaks in some states. The WBENC certification information you need for tax purposes is included in each final billing binder when working with Miller Tanner.
Encourages new ideas
Smaller businesses tend to bring new ideas to the market to leverage their competency. With woman-owned small business certification, companies can make adjustments and execute creative solutions to fulfill the demands of their clients more quickly and efficiently.
Elevate business in competition
A company can compete for federal contracts designated for the WOSB Federal Contracting Program by becoming a program member. If a company is eligible for other socio-economic initiatives, it can compete for contract awards there.
With your WOSB certification, you are eligible to apply for and win competitive set-aside contracts. Additionally, you may be able to secure sole-source deals. Small company entrepreneurs can turn to the SBA for assistance in navigating the government procurement programs.
Enhanced certifications for WOSBs and EDWOSBs
For Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Small Businesses (EDWOSBs), the certification process for 2020 will be different. The SBA adopted the improvements Congress had requested to the WOSB Federal Contracting program (NDAA).
In May 2020, new rules for the WOSB Federal Contracting Program were published in the Federal Register. The certification process has been altered by these regulations.
How to become a Certified Woman-Owned Business?
Step 1: Decide whether or not you qualify
To be eligible for WOSB certification, a company must fit the criteria of a small business and be owned and operated by women who are U.S. residents. As a woman firm owner, you must have control of at least 51% of the company, oversee daily operations, and take long-term decisions.
You must be eligible for other qualifications to obtain WOSB certification. Visit the SBA website and use the online tool to see if you qualify for SBA programs.
Step 2: Complete the requirements
When applying for government certifications, you’ll require considerable paperwork. The TCP and SBA both offer resources for small business owners, including checklists and certification-specific materials. Included in the files are:
- Duplicate your most recent U.S. government-issued photo identification document
- Company’s tax I.D. number (EIN)
- P&L (profit and loss) and balance sheet statements
- Federal income tax returns from the previous years.
- Evidence that women have the financial resources to invest.
- The DUNS (data universal numbering system) identifies your computer or other devices.
- All business licenses and registrations
Step 3: Apply for WOSB, EDWOSB, or WBE certification
Analyze whether a WOSB or an EDWOSB qualifies. A business can only be classified as a WOSB if it is owned and managed by one or more women who are U.S. citizens. There must be no conditions attached to ownership.
A woman must handle the company’s day-to-day operations and long-term business choices. During regular business hours, the woman must work full-time in the company and be the highest-ranking executive. She may not have any other jobs. A company must meet all of the WOSB eligibility criteria to be considered an EDWOSB.
A third-party certifier can certify a company as a WOSB or EDWOSB. The SBA has approved third-party certification companies to assist in implementing the SBA’s WOSB Federal Contracting Program.
WOSB certification best practices
Being a government contractor has pros and cons. However, you can make your WOSB certification easier by considering these tips:
- Getting a third-party certification can help you and any women small business owners determine their eligibility for a program contract.
- Study the history of your organization’s certification programs to learn more about their reliability.
- Avoid setbacks in the certification process; otherwise, earning the credentials is a waste of time.
- Check if your company has adequate capital to cover you while you wait for payment from a government contract, and be aware of how and when you will be paid.
- Identify what distinguishes you from everyone else. Make sure you explain the benefits of doing business with your company.
- Larger companies constantly seek to improve their market share, save money, and provide more value to their stakeholders. Identify how you can assist them in this regard.