SMALL BUSINESS CERTIFICATION for Veterans, Women in the US and Canada


Before you can initiate a business with the government, your business must obtain the proper certifications. Small business certification is like professional certifications, they document a special capability or status that will help you compete in the marketplace.

Unlike permits and licenses, you do not need to obtain certifications to legally operate. However, in order to take advantage of business opportunities, such as government contracts, you may need to obtain some certifications.

Federal, state, and local governments offer business opportunities to sell billions of dollars worth of products and services.

Having your business certified can definitely aid you in successfully competing for government contracts.

We encourage you to take your time as you read through. You will learn in a way that will benefit you.

Why Get Small Business Certification

The SBA Certification Program provides benefits:

  • Bringing more dollars to an eligible company through contracts awards mechanisms;
  • Targeting competition to specific industries where there are disparities; and
  • Increasing economic activity in distressed communities.

Veteran Owned Small Business Certification

In 1999, the Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created. This act has a goal to generate about $15 billion of all prime and subcontracting government contracting dollars for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.

The veteran-owned small business program provides a number of sole-source contract advantages and exclusive awards only made available to contractors accepted into the program.

Veteran-owned small business requirements

Here are veteran-owned small business requirements:

  • Must be considered small by the SBA
  • The Veteran Owned Small Business requires a business owner to prove ownership and control, as well as establish guidelines for sole source and set-aside procurement opportunities.
  • The veteran has no federal debts or obligations outstanding
  • Must be in business for 3 years
  • A veteran must unconditionally own 51%, control and manage daily operations, and hold the highest officer position in their business.

Benefits of a Veteran-owned Small Business Certification:

The benefits of veteran-owned small business certification are as follows:

  • Ability to bid on Veteran-owned small business set-aside solicitations because 5% of all federal funding is federally mandated to be awarded to a veteran-owned small business, certified contractor.
  • Once obtained, you can advertise your business as a VOSB. You can boast it on your storefront, signage, business card, website letterhead and email signature to attract new business
  • You can drastically reduce the number of competitors you are up against and gain an advantage by concentrating on these types of opportunities where federal regulations are in your favor.

Women Owned Small Business Certification

The Woman Owned Small Business Certification (WOSB) is designed to authorize government contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for competition solely amongst WOSBs or Economically Disadvantaged Women owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs).

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Federal Government must award 5% (roughly $25 billion) of its Prime and Subcontracting dollars to WOSBs and EDWOSBs.

Economically Disadvantaged Women-owned Small Businesses

The Small Business Administration defines “economic disadvantage” as having a personal net worth of less than $750,000, adjusted gross yearly income averaged over three years not exceeding $350,000, and the fair market value of all assets not exceeding $6 million.

Requirements for WOSBs Certification

To qualify as a women-owned small business or WOSB, your business must meet the following requirements:

  • Your company must qualify as a small business based on SBA small business size standards.
  • Your company must be 51 per cent owned by women who are U.S. citizens.
  • Women must manage the operations on a daily basis.
  • To qualify as an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business or EDWOSB, your business must meet the WOSB requirements, and the owner of the company must demonstrate economic disadvantage in the following ways:

Benefits of a Woman owned Certification (WOSB):

  • 5% of all Federal Monetary funds per year must be spent across WOSB-certified businesses
  • Having a WOSB Certification creates significant contracting opportunities for women entrepreneurs as Government Contracting Officers have Federally Mandated quotas to meet
  • Opens doors as a subcontractor with businesses needing the WOSB Certificate on a bid proposal
  • Opens opportunities to contract directly with Prime Contracting Officers

Small Business Certification California

A business primarily located in the State of California and doing business in the State can self-certify itself on the State of California website. Getting your business into the liberal state database also opens up opportunities for your business to sell products and services to the State.

How to Get Small Business Certification in California

The Office of Small Business and DVBE Services (OSDS) is responsible for the Small Business certification process and will assist you with any questions or concerns about the process.

The Small Business certification and eligibility requirements are available on the OSDS website.

The California government also issues incentives to certified small businesses. By becoming a certified small business, you will become eligible to receive this incentive if offered, and to partner with prime contractors who wish to receive this incentive.

Small Business Certification Canada

Canada is the world’s tenth-largest mixed economy allowing people to establish and carry out business. Company registration in Canada is a straightforward procedure.

The resources provided in Canada make it simple for any investor or entrepreneur to start a business. Any person across the globe can incorporate and start a business in Canada.

The government offers different forms of incentives to entrepreneurs to operate in Canada. Apart from this, many investors migrate to Canada as the opportunity provided makes it easier for company registration in Canada.

Small Business Registration Requirements In Canada

You will need to provide the following for your business registration :

  • The name of your business
  • Business address
  • Principle place of business
  • The name of the owner or partners and addresses
  • What type of activity does the business conduct
  • Business activity – A brief description of what makes most of your revenue, e.g. operating a restaurant, house painting, etc.
  • Will you have employees or hire contractors?

Canada Online Business Registration

You’ll need a Visa or MasterCard credit card, as well as an email address, to register your business online.
The “Integrated Business Services Application” service is always open at any time; however, if it’s done between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., you’ll get a temporary, printable Master Business License you can use right away.
You’ll receive your MBL via email within 2 days if you provide an email address. If you don’t provide an email, it will arrive by mail within 10 business days.
If you need access to a computer you can use the ServiceOntario center to find a public computer near you

Canada Mail Business Registration

To register by mail or in person, fill out Form 1. Complete the form and mail it with a payment of $80 in check or money order made out to the “Minister of Finance.”

Disadvantaged Small Business Certification

the Federal Government awards about 10% of all federal contract dollars, or roughly $50 billion in contracts, to Small Disadvantaged Businesses. SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development monitors the progress of 24 Executive Branch agencies in contracting with Small Disadvantaged Businesses.

You may register your business as a Small Disadvantaged Business if you meet the following criteria: 

  • The firm must be 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged persons. 
  • The disadvantaged person or persons must be socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged.  
  • The firm must be small, according to SBA’s size standards. 

You can find the full qualification criteria in this code issued by SBA. Or go to to register to contract with the federal government as a small, disadvantaged business.

How Do You Get a Small Business Certification?

To apply for SBA, you can start by creating a profile at and using the website. The Women-Owned Business certification is for one year. You can also update your certification information the same way you apply.

Can You Self Certify as a Small Business?

It is possible to self-certify apply for your business as a small business, but you must also meet the federal government’s definition of a small business.

What Does It Mean to Be Small Business Certified?

A small business certified, is any business that meets the laydown criteria of SBA and also obtains the necessary certifications. SBE eligibility requirements vary among contracting. agencies depending on the funding source used on their projects.

What Is SBA 8 a Certification?

The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a wide range of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled by at least 51% of socially and economically disadvantaged individuals


To be eligible for government contracts reserved for small businesses, your business must meet the size requirements set by the SBA. These size standards define the maximum size that a business — and its affiliates — can be to qualify as a small business for a particular contract.

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