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WOSB Eligibility

To qualify for WOSB certification, the applicant company must meet specific criteria. Firstly, the company must be considered “small” according to SBA’s size standards for its primary industry, as outlined in 13 CFR 127. It is recommended to refer to the NAICS listing and its corresponding size standards for verification. Additionally, the applicant company must have at least 51% unconditional and direct ownership and control by one or more U.S. citizen women. Management and daily operation must be under the control of one or more women owners who make long-term decisions for the business.

For corporations, specific criteria apply: Women must either constitute a majority of the Board of Directors or hold a majority of the Board votes through weighted voting. Alternatively, women must represent 51% of the voting power, serve on the Board, and possess enough voting power to overcome any supermajority requirement.

The WBENC certification process ensures compliance with WOSB standards through a comprehensive two-part approach involving thorough documentation review and a site visit interview with the female owner/s. It is recommended to review the WOSB Ready site for additional program requirements. A comprehensive listing of the WOSB Program NAICS Codes is available as well.

Note that if the applicant company is currently debarred or suspended from Federal Government Contracting, it is not eligible for WOSB certification.

In addition to meeting the above criteria, applicants must be registered in the SAM (System for Award Management) and obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) issued by It’s important to note that there is no fee for SAM registration, and applicants should ensure they access the correct site: If experiencing difficulties with SAM registration, supplemental instructions are provided.

Regarding WOSB Federal Contracting eligibility, the federal government restricts competition under the WOSB Program only in specific industries as specified in 13 C.F.R. 127.500. SBA has identified these industries based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. If any NAICS code listed on the WOSB certificate corresponds to a WOSB code on the NAICS listing for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program set-asides, the applicant is considered eligible.


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