WOSB: Certification, Checklist, Grants, Cost (+ Quick Tips)


Women who wish to take their businesses to the next level need to get certified as WOSB certification. Women entrepreneurs can use the certification to find new possibilities, earn money through government contracts, and receive access to training tools to help them grow their businesses.

Ever since WOSB was introduced, the quantity, variety, and earning power of women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) have been growing.

Moreso, women entrepreneurs are now significantly contributing to the growth of the economy and defence by expanding their businesses through the WOSB program.

Hopefully, you’ll do well on your way to becoming a certified woman-owned business after reading this helpful information.

Finally, if your company qualifies, the advantages of certification in terms of commercial potential and federal government contracts make the application procedure worthwhile.

WOSB Certification

WOSB ( Woman Owned Small Business) certificate is a company-level diversity certification based on the Small Business Association’s requirements (SBA). The WOSB program’s goal is to ensure that women-owned small businesses have equal access to government contracting opportunities. WOSB certification may have different requirements than other Woman-Owned certifications, such as WBE.

The WOSB program, unlike the WBE program, normally does not confine certified firms to certain NAICS codes. Furthermore, some WBE certified companies have no size limits, but WOSB mandates that the company fulfil the SBA’s size criterion.

Depending on whether the organization is being certified at the national or local level, there may be additional or reduced requirements. For example, some states do not require a woman-owned firm to be a small business, although the federal SBA requires it. Third-party organizations can provide certifications, or individuals can self-certify. Also read

How to get certified as a women-owned small business

Before competing for WOSB Federal Contracting Program set-aside contracts, businesses must apply for certification at beta.certify.sba.gov or through an approved third-party certifier. For both techniques, businesses must visit the beta.certify.sba.gov website.

On the beta.certify.sba.gov website, businesses can quickly understand the changes to the certification process, ensuring that they remain eligible.

On the website, businesses can:

  • Access checklists that provide guidance prior to applying
  • Explore their company’s eligibility
  • Request information from SBA program experts
  • Create an account and proceed with their application

WOSB program requirement

To be eligible for the ”WOSB” program, a business must:

  • Qualify as a small business as per the SBA small business size standards, which generally use employee size and/or revenue as measures.
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by a woman or women who are U.S. citizens.
  • Women must also be the ones making long-term decisions for the company.
  • The highest officer position in the company must be held by a woman on a full-time basis, during normal work hours.

In addition, to be an Eligible EDWOSB, a company must: 

  • Meet all the requirements of the women’s owned business contracting program
  • 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

WOSB program benefits

  • The program enanles an equal oppourtunity for women business owners because the government limits competition for some contracts to businesses that participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program.
  • These contracts are for specific industries where women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The SBA maintains a list of those eligible industries and their NAICS codes.
  • Partaking in WOSB Program makes a business eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for the program. Firms can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.


SBA WOSB is a small business concern that is at least 51 per cent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are citizens (born or naturalized) of the United States.

To qualify as an EDWOSB or WOSB, the 51 per cent ownership must be unconditional and direct. In addition, the management and daily business operations of the concern must be handled by one or more economically disadvantaged women (for EDWOSBs) or women (for WOSBs).

That means, that both the long-term decision-making and the day-to-day management and administration of the business operations must be conducted by a woman.

Despite the fact that the woman manager does not need technical skills or a license, she must demonstrate that she has ultimate management and supervisory control over those who do. Also, read project management reporting.

WOSB Certification Checklist

These checklists provide information before you start the application or continue the eligibility process. You may have to take action and gather documents before starting.

  • Active registration in the System for Award Management for the firm, available at SAM.gov 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (i.e., birth certificate, naturalization paper, or unexpired passport) for qualifying individual(s).
  • Resume (optional)
  • Joint Venture agreements if applicable
  • Corporation
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Copies of stock certificates (front and back)
  • Stock Ledger
  • Corporate Bylaws and any amendments
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Operating Agreement and any amendments
  • Articles of Organization and any amendments
  • Partnership
  • Partnership Agreement and any amendments
  • Sole Proprietor
  • DBA (Doing Business As) or Trade Name Certificate

WOSB Grants

The following are the top 10 grant opportunities for women-owned business that you can choose from:

  • Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program
  • SBA InnovateHER
  • Cartier Women’s Initiative Award
  • Zions Bank’s Women’s Financial Group Smart Women Grants
  • Grants.gov
  • GrantsforWomen.org
  • Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)
  • #GIRLBOSS® Foundation Grant
  • The Halstead Grant
  • Amber Grant

The Amber Grant

Since 1998, the Amber Grant has given funding to 12 female entrepreneurs each year. Each month, a $10,000 prize is awarded to a deserving female small company owner. One of the 12 recipients will get an additional $25,000 at the conclusion of the year.

Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant Program

The Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant helps female-owned enterprises that are past the beginning stage and have a good social and environmental effect. Learn more

Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award targets “innovative and impact-driven women-led businesses.” The Awards support and encourage projects by female entrepreneurs. The competition is open internationally to for-profit businesses in any sector

SBA InnovateHER

InnovateHER gives female entrepreneurs the chance to show off their goods and services that have economic potential. The SBA holds a competition every year in which the top three finishers are awarded cash prizes of $40,000, $20,000, and $10,000, respectively.

Zions Bank’s Women’s Financial Group Smart Women Grants

Smart Women Grant applicants do not need to be Zions Bank clients; nevertheless, employees and direct family members of the organization and its affiliates are not eligible. Since 2005, the program has awarded grants to women entrepreneurs in order to boost the empowerment of women-owned businesses.


Grants.gov is the greatest place to look for local and state government grant opportunities. You can search for grants on Grants.gov by eligibility, category, and agency.


Women’s grants, funds, and scholarships are listed on GrantsforWomen.org. Grant opportunities can be found alphabetically.

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is a division of the Department of Commerce that works to assist minority business owners and entrepreneurs. Although the organization does not dole out grants, it does have a number of grant funding initiatives aimed at assisting minority firms in creating jobs and obtaining contracts and capital.

#GIRLBOSS® Foundation Grant

The #GIRLBOSS® Foundation aims to support female entrepreneurs in the arts, design, music, and fashion industries. Their grant program gives out one grant every two years. Each grant recipient will get a total of $15,000 for their project.

The Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant is a prize for up-and-coming jewelry designers. Each summer, the Halstead Gift gives a new jewelry designer who predominantly works with silver a grant of $7,500 in start-up cash and $1,000 in product.

WOSB Certification Cost

SBA offers a free application process that can be completed at beta.certify.sba.gov.  Moreover,the United States SBA is charged with implementing and administering the program.

This means that United States SBA publishes regulations that provide framework for the program, develops and maintains the WOSB Program.

SBA,also conducts eligibility examinations of WOSBs, reviews and makes decisions on protests, approves third party certifiers, conducts studies to determine eligible industries, and works with other Federal agencies in assisting WOSBs and EDWOSBs. But if you are applying through a third party it will cost you between $350 to $1,250, depending on the size of your company and income

WOSB Directory

Finding competent WOSB Federal Contracting Program contractors is as simple as following a few simple steps and conducting market research. To begin, use the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search to locate organizations that participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program (DSBS).

Also, you can:

  • Contact your agency’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization or your Agency Small Business Specialist.
  • Get guidance or training from the SBA’s WOSB Federal Contracting Program office.
  • Issue a sources sought announcement in beta.sam.gov seeking interested WOSB Program participants.
  • Use the GSA Schedule program to find WOSBs.

WOSB Contracting Opportunities

Federal agencies, such as the Department of Defense, are also working hard to meet their targets of awarding 5% of prime contracting dollars to WOSBs. More options can be found on the SBA’s website.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and American Express (AMEX) have partnered to provide information and resources to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) about the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) Program, which aims to increase federal government contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses.

FAQs about WOSB

The Small Business Administration (SBA) does not have an official WOSB logo that enterprises can use.

What happen if i forgot to add WOSB onto my WBE application

Once you have submitted your application you cannot add on the WOSB application again for that year.

What are the different types of women-owned business certification?

There are four different sorts of certifications available. The first is the SBA’s essential certification for women-owned small businesses. The National Women’s Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the United States Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce are among the third-party providers.

How much does it cost to become a certified women-owned business?

The cost of WOSB certification varies, but it typically ranges from $350 to $1,250, depending on the size of your company and income. For businesses that are already members of some certifying authorities, it may be free.

How long does it take to become a certified women-owned business?

It can take anywhere from 15 to 90 days from the time the whole documentation is received, depending on the type of certification, but you should plan ahead of time because timing can be unpredictable.

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