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The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) runs a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program, under which WOSBs and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) can be certified as such and can compete for set-aside contracts in certain industries where WOSBs and EDWOSBs are under-represented.
The criteria for becoming certified as such by the SBA are listed at https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/women-owned-small-business-federal-contract-program and include a variety of requirements related to the ownership and management of the business. Certification may be done through certain SBA-approved third party certifiers, or through a defined process of self-certification.
Through the SBA's online portal, currently at https://wosb.certify.sba.gov, WOSBs and EDWOSBs can perform a variety of tasks relating to managing their certifications.
Does this program require bidders attempt to make a good-faith effort to meet participation goals? The federal government maintains it as a goal to award at least 5 percent of all contracting dollars per year to women-owned small businesses, however, this is a goal of the federal government's.
Are there multiple agencies that offer this certification in the state? Certifying organizations that are approved by the SBA to offer third-party certification are: the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Women Business Owners Corporation, the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.