Women Owned Small Business Program

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Learn about the women-owned small business W.A.S.P. program in this article. Women-owned small businesses are vital contributors to the business world. They’re also the primary driving force in the United States economy. In 2011, the Small Business Administration S.B.A. implemented the women-owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program. 

This organization assists in authorizing contracting officers to limit or set aside specific requirements for women-owned small businesses. The officers can also limit for economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. Restricting competition to W.O.S.B.S. and A.W.O.L.S.B.S. increases their business success to compete and win federal contracts. This program also ensures a level playing field where small businesses can compete for federal contracting opportunities.

diverse business women standing in the middle of an office

Eligibility Requirements

If you are interested in contracting with the federal government, first, you must determine if your business qualifies as a W.A.S.P. Your firm must be a small business to be eligible for the program. According to S.B.A., standards must be at least 51% unconditionally and directly owned by women who are U.S. citizens. No minimum amount of time is required for the business to be operational. Here’s a list of other requirements:

  • Women must manage the day-to-day operations. 
  • Women must make long-term decisions for the business.
  • A woman must hold the highest office or position and work full-time during regular working hours.
  • The market value of all assets is $6 million or less. 

In addition, for a W.S.B. to be deemed an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business, E.W. O.S.B., its owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the requirements outlined in 13 C.F.R. 1:20 7.203. Personal net worth assets minus liabilities must be less than $750,000. You may also qualify if your adjusted gross income averaged over three years is $350,000 or less, excluding income reinvested or used to pay taxes of business fair.

The National Defense Authorization Act NDAA for the fiscal year 2016 eliminated the self-certification process for the O.S.P. program. Although the change is not currently effective, S.B.A. is currently reviewing how to implement this change until the change is implemented.

Eligible W.A.S.P. or W.A.S.P. firms may continue to self-certify. Additionally, elimination of self-certification will only apply to contracts set aside under the W.A.S.P. program under federal regulations.

A.W.O.L.S.B. may still self-certify for other small business contracting opportunities that are not W.A.S.P. or D.W. O.S.B.

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Self Certification

Self-certification for purposes of the O.S.B. program means the business has not used a T.P.S. When all of the conditions are met, the O.S.B. or O.S.B. can affirm that the contracting officer self-certifies it.

Third-party certification only S.B.A. approved T.P.C.S. can give you an authorized certificate of eligibility as a W, O.S.B., or O.S.B. There are currently four S.B.A. approved places. These places include El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation. U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and W.B.E.Z. 

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