A women-owned business certificate is a certification that gives women-owned businesses access to special programs and opportunities that can help empower female business owners.
Getting certified as a women-owned business can give you access to additional resources like mentoring and development programs, allows you to connect with additional support like other female business owners, gives you increased eligibility for national and regional awards, provides additional marketing avenues, and can lead you to more business opportunities.
Types of Women-Owned Business Certifications
There are two types of certifications: women-owned small business (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB). Here’s what you need to qualify.
Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB):
- Your business must be at least 51% owned and operated by one or more women who are U.S citizens
- Your business must be managed by a woman on a daily basis
- A woman must hold the highest position in your company
- Your company must qualify as a small business as outlined in the SBA standards
Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB):
- Your business must have a fair market value of assets worth $6 million or below
- Your business must have a personal net worth that doesn’t exceed $750,000
- Your business must have an adjusted gross average income that doesn’t exceed $350,000 over three consecutive years
How to Register for a Women-Owned Business Certification
If you’re ready to register your business, here are the steps you can take today.
1. Determine if your business is eligible
Before you get started, you need to determine if your business is actually eligible. Remember, as long as your business is at least 51 percent owned and operated by a woman, you should be eligible. But, don’t forget to check out the specific guidelines outlined above depending on which certification you’re applying for.
2. Gather the document needed to register your business
If you found out you qualify, congrats! Now it’s time to start gathering all of the necessary documentation and paperwork needed before you start the application process. Gathering these documents ahead of time is going to make filling out the application that much easier. These documents include things like:
- Federal income tax returns
- Documents that provide proof of U.S citizenship
- Employee W2 or 1099 forms
- Balance sheet
- Proof of equity and/or capital investment
- Business License
- Business History
WBENC is a great online resource that outlines all of the necessary documents you’ll need.
3. Complete the application online
After you’ve compiled all of the documents you need, it’s time to start the online application. There are two ways you can go about doing this: self-certification or third-party certification. Either work and it just comes down to personal preference.
- Self-certification: You can apply for both WOSB and EDWOSB certifications directly through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). If applying through the SBA, you will need to be actively registered in the System for Award Management.
- Third-party certification: You can also apply for both certifications through a third-party site. Some examples of these sites include the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National Women’s Business Owners Corporation, and the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce.
The application processing fee is non-refundable, so make sure to thoroughly review you application before submitting it.
4. Provide proof of certification to the SBA
Once the application is submitted, you must provide proof of certification to be able to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program and receive access to the benefits of a WOSB. To do so, provide your proof to the SBA through their website. Once your certification is approved, they will send you a formal notice and confirmation.
Certifying your business as a women-owned small business can help open doors and create more opportunities for you as a business owner. If you’re on the fence, look at your eligibility. If you’re eligible, take advantage of the offerings this type of certification can have on you and your business.
Interested in registering as a certified women-owned business? Download this checklist to determine if you’re eligible and help you keep track of all of the necessary documents you need to complete the process.short url: