SBA WOSB and EDWOSB Certification – Self-Certifications vs. Third-Party Certification.

By: M. Gonzalez – M&A SDC

Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) have opportunities to benefit from government contracting programs set aside for their specific designation. WOSBs and EDWOSBs must be aware of the Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations, third-party certification, and compliance requirements to maximize these opportunities. Here’s an overview of key considerations:

1. SBA Certification Programs:

        a. Self-Certification vs. Third-Party Certification:

            •  WOSBs and EDWOSBs can self-certify or opt for third-party certification through approved certifiers:

                   • National Women’s Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC)


                   • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)


                   • The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce


                   • El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


            •  Third-party certification adds credibility and may be required for certain contracts.

      b. Eligibility Criteria:

            •    Ensure your business meets the eligibility criteria for WOSB or EDWOSB status, including ownership, control, and size                               standards.

    c. Maintaining Certification:

            •  Regularly review and update your documentation to ensure compliance with certification requirements.

2. Compliance to Maintain Eligibility:

    a. Size Standards:

       •  Regularly monitor and certify that your business remains within the size standards defined by the SBA for your industry.

    a. Affiliation Rules:

       • Understand and comply with SBA affiliation rules, as affiliation with other businesses may impact your eligibility for set-aside                   contracts.

    c. Reporting and Record-Keeping:

       •  Maintain accurate and up-to-date records to demonstrate compliance with SBA requirements. This includes financial records,                       ownership documentation, and other relevant information.

    d. Site Visits and Audits:

       •  Be prepared for potential site visits and audits by the SBA or other government agencies to verify compliance.

    e. Timely Updates:

       • Notify the SBA promptly of any changes in ownership, management, or other factors that may affect your eligibility.

3. Sole Source Contract Awards:

    a. Sole Source Opportunities:

       •  Take advantage of sole source contracting opportunities available to WOSBs and EDWOSBs. These contracts can be awarded                       without competition in certain circumstances.

    b. Documented Justification:

       •  Ensure that sole source contract awards are supported by documented justifications outlining why the contract should be awarded                without competition.

    c. Maintaining Good Standing:

       • Meeting contract requirements and delivering quality services will contribute to maintaining a good standing with government                     agencies.

4. Ongoing Education:

       • Stay informed about changes in SBA regulations and government contracting policies. Participate in training programs and                           workshops to enhance your understanding of compliance requirements.

4. Conclusion:

       • Maintaining eligibility for set-aside and sole-source contract awards requires a proactive approach to compliance. Regularly review SBA guidelines, stay informed about updates, and engage with SBA resources to ensure your WOSB or EDWOSB remains in good standing for government contracting opportunities. Additionally, seek legal or professional advice to navigate complex regulations and make informed decisions tailored to your business circumstances.