Profile side view photo of intelligent stylish boss in a gray checkered jacket sitting in office chair in workstation on industrial style half a turn with a tablet in hand. Concept: wosb
Timothy R
By: timothy-ronaldson
Read in 7 minutes

What a WOSB Certification is and How to Get Yours

It can be difficult for women entrepreneurs to succeed, but there are programs, such as the WOSB certification, that support female business owners to expand their companies. 

These certifications and programs can be especially important in industries where women are under-represented and find difficult challenges, industries such as tech, finance, and even law.

Female owners who are looking to grow their small businesses may find some great benefits in obtaining a WOSB certification. Like other business certification programs, the Women-Owned Small Business certification program is designed to give qualifying businesses access to resources that would help their business grow.

What is WOSB?

The Women-Owned Small Business program is coordinated through the Small Business Administration (SBA). Much like other business certification programs, the SBA designed the WOSB to help female-owned businesses access public and private contracts that they might have had trouble accessing otherwise. 

The program provides businesses with an official certification from the SBA. This, in turn, helps WOSB-certified companies to compete for contracts at the federal level and also obtain access to other free resources the SBA provides.

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The benefits of a WOSB certification

The main benefit of a WOSB certification is that it allows women-owned businesses to compete for federal contracts. The federal government has a goal of giving 5 percent of all contracts to small businesses that are owned by women. 

In addition to the overall 5 percent of contracts the government aims to award to WOSBs, other contracts are often designated purely for industries in which WOSB are under-represented. 

Who can apply for a WOSB certification?

To be certified as a WOSB, you must meet certain requirements as set by the Small Business Administration. 

  • At least 51 percent of your company must be owned by a woman or women who are citizens of the U.S. 
  • A woman or women must be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the company.
  • The company’s highest officer position also must be filled by a woman. 
  • A woman or women must also be responsible for making the business’ big decisions.
  • You must not have a personal net worth greater than $750,000. 
  • The fair market value of your total assets must not be more than $6 million. 
  • Your adjusted gross income average for three years must not be more than $350,000.

A great thing about the WOSB certification process is there is no requirement that states you need to have been in business for a certain amount of time before being eligible for the program.

The SBA also offers an EDWOSB program that caters specifically to women-owned small businesses that can classify as economically disadvantaged. 

WOSB certification: ways of getting certified

The SBA provides two ways you can get certified as a WOSB. 

Two women analyzing documents while sitting on a table in office. Woman executives at work in office discussing some paperwork. Concept: WOSB


The first is a self-certification process.

The first step is to register at the System for Award Management (SAM) website. Once you do that, wait 24 hours and then register at the SBA website to complete the self-certification.

To complete the self-certification for WOSB, women will need to have a DUNS number, an EIN and an MPIN.  If you are in business, you should have one of these already.

An EIN is easy and free to obtain through the IRS.

The MPIN number is a personal code that you’ll create for yourself when you start the SAM registration process, so that’s easy, too. 

The DUNS number is easy to obtain as well, but it may take 30 days to get. The federal grants website, though, does say DUNS numbers may take as little as two business days.

Third-party certification

The second way to obtain a WOSB certification for your business is to enlist the services of a third-party agency to help you. The SBA has a list of third-party organizations that are approved to help you obtain WOSB certification. 

These include the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National Women Business Owners Corporation, and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

If you would like assistance in applying for your WOSB certification, you should contact one of those organizations. It’s important to note that they all charge a fee for helping you complete your application, as well as a fee to handle your annual renewal.

Obtain WOSB Certification and Watch Your Business Grow

As a woman entrepreneur, you know the many challenges that women in today’s workforce face every single day. That’s why it’s so important to constantly stay up on the trends of the day, and take advantage of all the various programs, resources, and incentives that are available exclusively for women.

Group of multiracial businesswomen in casuals together at office desk and looking at camera. Female startup business team portrait.. Concept: WOSB

The WOSB certification program is one of the best ways to do so. 

It helps you stand out from your competition on a day-to-day basis. 

Besides, it opens up a new world of possibilities for you that didn’t exist before. You will be given access and priority to several federal government contracts once you’re WOSB certified, and you’ll be able to network and engage with potential customers you might not have been able to access before.

Another great way to keep on top of trends and tips on how to manage and grow your business is by joining a community of over 30,000 passionate entrepreneurs just like yourself.


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