11 March 2024

Becoming a Certified Woman-Owned Small Business: A Step-by-Step Guide Just for You!

By Ronald Smith

Are you a woman who owns a small business? Well, if you are, I’ve got something really exciting to share with you. Did you know that you can get certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business? Cool, right? Getting certified can open up a whole world of opportunities for your business. So, let me break it down for you and show you how it’s done.

Step 1: Understand the Benefits

First things first, let’s talk about why you should consider getting certified. When you become a certified Woman-Owned Small Business, you join a special group of entrepreneurs. You gain access to exclusive government contracts that are set aside just for women. These contracts can help your business grow and succeed. Plus, being certified can give your business more visibility and credibility. It’s a win-win situation!

Step 2: Check Your Eligibility

Now, before you jump in, let’s make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible, you must be at least 51% owner of the business, and you have to actively manage and control its day-to-day operations. Your business should also be considered small based on the SBA’s size standards. If you meet these criteria, you’re good to go!

Step 3: Gather Your Documents

Alright, now that we’ve established your eligibility, it’s time to gather all the necessary documents. You’ll need things like your business formation documents, financial records, and personal identification. Don’t worry, I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s important to have everything organized and ready to go. You’ve got this!

Step 4: Choose an Accredited Third-Party Certifier

Once you have your documents in order, it’s time to choose an accredited third-party certifier. These certifiers are the ones who will review your application and determine if you meet the requirements for certification. There are a few different organizations to choose from, so do your research and find the one that best suits your business needs.

Step 5: Complete the Application

Now comes the fun part, completing the application! This is where you get to showcase all the hard work you’ve put into your business. Be thorough and provide all the necessary information. Don’t be afraid to show off a little – let your business shine!

Step 6: Submit and Wait

Once you’ve completed the application, it’s time to submit it to the certifying organization. After that, all you have to do is wait. The certifier will review your application and make a decision. It may take some time, so be patient. Trust me, it’ll be worth the wait!

Step 7: Celebrate Your Certification

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for – you’ve been certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business! This is a big accomplishment, so take the time to celebrate. Let everyone know about your certification and the amazing things your business has in store. You’ve worked hard for this, and now you’re reaping the rewards.

So, there you have it! A step-by-step guide to getting certified as a Woman-Owned Small Business. I hope you found this helpful and inspiring. Remember, being a certified business can open doors and help you achieve your goals. So, go out there, own your business, and make a difference!

Becoming a Certified Woman-Owned Small Business: A Step-by-Step Guide Just for You!

Did you know that the number of women business owners in the U.S. is on the rise? According to the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), there are now 12.3 million women who own businesses. That’s a lot of women making their mark in the business world! And get this, these women not only employ nearly 9.4 million people, but they also generate a whopping $1.8 trillion in annual revenue. Impressive, right?

But here’s the thing – despite their success, most of these women haven’t gone through the process of getting their companies certified as women-owned businesses. In fact, less than 1% of them have received this certification. That means they’re missing out on some amazing opportunities!

So what exactly does certification do? Well, it opens doors for women business owners to work with and compete against larger companies for contracts. Imagine the possibilities! To make sure more opportunities are available, both the federal government and numerous state and local governments have set up special programs called set-aside programs. These programs reserve a certain percentage of contracts specifically for small businesses, including those owned by women.

Discover the Different Types of Certifications for Women-Owned Businesses

Let me tell you about the two main categories of certifications for women-owned businesses: Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).

1. Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) is a special status given by various private sector companies, organizations, and even some state and local governments. These entities are dedicated to providing opportunities for contracts to businesses owned by women. In the past, women could certify their own businesses, but now, you need to go through one of the SBA’s approved third-party organizations:

  • El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC)
  • U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

If you want to get WBE certification, you can go to a State Office for Minority and Women Business Enterprises or a local government office. Just make sure to ask if the certification is valid in the place where you want to do business because some state offices are only certified to do business in their own states.

  • You need to be located in the United States
  • You must be a for-profit company
  • You and your team must be U.S. citizens or legal residents

Also, your company has to meet some requirements. First, at least 51% of it must be owned by a woman or a group of women. Second, there must be a woman-controlled governing board. Finally, a woman must be in charge of the daily operations.

2—Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) is a special designation by the federal government that helps women-owned companies get contracts. The government has a goal to give 5% of contracts specifically to female business owners and at least 25% to small businesses. If you meet certain criteria, you can also apply for the Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) designation, which is a special category within WOSB.

  • Your business needs to be small according to SBA size standards
  • At least 51% of your company must be owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens
  • A woman or group of women must manage the daily operations and make important decisions

To be considered an EDWOSB, your business must meet all the requirements of the WOSB Federal Contracting program.

  • To qualify as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), it’s important for me to be owned and managed by one or more women. Each of these women must have an average adjusted gross income of $350,000 or less over the previous three years.
  • Additionally, if I want to be classified as a Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB), I need to be owned and controlled by one or more women with personal assets totaling $6 million or less.
  • In order to ensure the legitimacy of WOSB certifications, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has appointed four organizations to provide third-party certification. Keep in mind that each organization has their own process and associated costs.

    How can I apply for certification?

    If I want to do business directly with the federal government, it is necessary for me to register my business on SAM.gov. SAM stands for System Award Management, the central database for government contracting opportunities.

    If you want to be a subcontractor, you might not have to sign up for SAM. But you still need to get a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number, which you can do for free on SAM. This number takes the place of the old DUNS numbers that used to be on SAM.gov.

    Getting registered on SAM is the first step in the certification process. Once you’re registered, you can tell them which contracting program your small business can compete for.

    When you sign up your small business on SAM.gov, the SBA takes that info and puts it in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) database. This database helps government agencies find small business contractors, and it also helps small businesses find others to work with.

    Government agencies have to use SAM to let everybody know about contracts that are worth more than $25,000.

    Before we move on to the next step, let’s make sure your SAM account is active.

    Documents You Need

    To complete the application, you will need some or all of the following information and documents:

    • The name of your company and any fictitious business name you use (Doing Business As DBA)
    • Your name, address, and the website for your company
    • The legal structure of your company
    • The date your company was incorporated
    • A list of anyone who has been a proprietor, partner, shareholder, or member within the past 12 months
    • Any affiliate relationships your company has
    • Contact information for your regular clients
    • Information about any business or personal loans you have
    • Details about your employees
    • Your birth certificate, current passport, or naturalization papers
    • Driver’s licenses for all owners
    • Your EIN (Federal Tax ID)
    • I need the resumes for everyone who owns, directs, or is a key person in the company. We want to know who we’re working with.
    • Please provide the most recent bank statements for all of our deposit accounts. We also need the statements for any loans we have.
    • Can you give me the signature cards from our financial institution? We need those on file.
    • I’m going to need some documents that show how our company was funded. Can you provide any information on that?
    • We need to see the financial statements for the past three years. This includes the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement.
    • Please give me the tax returns from the last three years. We need to make sure everything is in order.
    • Do we have the certificate for our assumed or fictitious name? We need that to make sure our business is properly registered.
    • I need proof that we are authorized to do business in the state. Can you provide the certificate of good standing issued by the Secretary of State?
    • Make sure to give me the articles of incorporation and any amendments that have been filed with the Secretary of State.
    • We need to have a copy of our bylaws and any amendments that have been made.
    • I’ll also need a statement of information that lists all of our officers, directors, managers, members, or general partners. This should be filed with the Secretary of State.

    To get certified, I need to gather some important documents as proof of my business’s existence. These include copies of all the stock certificates, the minutes of meetings with shareholders and directors, shareholder agreements, and partnership agreements. I also need to have professional, industry, and business licenses in order.

    In addition to these documents, I must provide a copy of either the lease or deed for the location of my business. These documents will verify that the business has a physical presence.

    After gathering all these documents, I need to update my information annually through the Dynamic Small Business Search database and beta.certify.sba.gov. This way, I can keep my certification up to date and ensure that my business is visible to potential partners and clients.

    The process of getting WBE certification is similar, although each agency may have its own specific guidelines to follow. It’s important to carefully follow these guidelines to increase the chances of achieving the certification.

    Finally, once I have successfully completed the certification process, I will proudly receive a message that says, Certification Achieved! This will be a moment of accomplishment and recognition for my business.

    If you’re certified as a woman-owned business, it can open up a whole new world of opportunities for making money. But to really benefit from this designation, you need to make sure you take full advantage of it. That means including the certification logo on all your marketing materials and website. It’s also important to stay active on government contracting websites and attend as many contracting and networking events as you can. This way, government agencies and companies will know about your company and the services you offer.

    It’s true that pursuing procurement opportunities takes a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it. Landing a contract is a major accomplishment that can lead to more contracts and increased sales for your business as it continues to grow.

    Here at CorpNet, we offer a wide range of services for business formations, filings, state tax registrations, and corporate compliance in all 50 states. If you need express or 24-hour rush filing services, we’ve got you covered. Click here to find out more about what we can do for you.