U.S. Small Business Administration

  • Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification
  • Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) Certification


  • Certification Designation: WOSB/EDWOSB
  • Race Conscious: No
  • Gender Conscious: Yes
  • Re-Certification: Annual
  • Graduation: Nome
  • Approval Timeline: 90-180 Days 
  • Cost: Free
  • Website: www.sba.gov/wosb

Overview (Download PDF)

On October 7, 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration published a final rule effective February 4, 2011, aimed at expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs). The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain Federal contracts for eligible:

  • Women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or
  • Economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs)

The WOSB Federal Contracting Program provides greater access to Federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and EDWOSBs.  The program allows contracting offices, for the first time, to set-aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help Federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent (5%) of Federal contracting dollars be awarded to women-owned businesses.


To be eligible for certification as a WOSB, a firm must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens. The firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry. In order for a WOSB to be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” its owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the requirements set forth in the final rule.

Certification Process

The SBA has approved four organizations to act as Third Party Certifying agencies under the WOSB Program. The four organizations and contact information are:

Women Owned Small Businesses may elect to use the services of a Third Party Certifier to demonstrate eligibility for the program, or they may self-certify using the process outlined here on this website. SBA will only accept third party certification from these entities, and firms are still subject to the same eligibility requirements to participate in the program.  Please note, at the request of WBENC, SBA has approved WBENC only for the certification of WOSBs and not for the certification of Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs.

  1. Read the WOSB Compliance Guide (available at CertAssist.net or online at www.sba.gov). 
  2. Register and represent your status in www.sam.gov as a WOSB or EDWOSB.
  3. Register in the SBA’s General Login System (GLS). Once you are in GLS, click the “Access” button at the top of the screen. Then select “Women-Owned Small Business Program Repository” and press submit. You should then be able to access the repository. Once you are in the repository, you can click the “Help” button at the top of the screen for instructions on how to use the repository. A complete list of required documents to upload to the Repository can be found in the WOSB Compliance Guide. 

The WOSB/EDWOSB Certification Applications

Agency contact information is included in the PDF Overview above.