Are you ready to grow your woman-owned small business? Certification can help. When you document your business as a woman-owned small business (WOSB), you’re eligible for a wide array of advantages.
The federal government is the largest buyer of products and services in the USA. Policymakers created the WOSB program to help level the playing field for women entrepreneurs in industries where women are underrepresented.
WOSB certification is a nationally recognized designation. It can help your business to:
- Access training, educational resources, and networking events
- Bid for set-aside contracts and funding opportunities
- Achieve increased visibility, trust, and respect for your business
- Compete with larger businesses and corporations
Each year, the government sets aside 5% or more of contracting dollars for WOSBs. Some contracts are reserved for economically disadvantaged WOSBs, called EDWOSBs. This certification requires extra steps to prove that you meet certain net worth, ownership, and financial guidelines.
You’ll find WOSB opportunities in areas ranging from crop farming, food manufacturing, and commercial baking to book printing and power generation. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees WOSB contracting. Go to the SBA site for a current list of eligible WOSB industries.
Women in business serve the Lord by serving others
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.”
[Colossians 3:23 (ESV)]
Since Biblical times, women have excelled in enterprises of all shapes and sizes. They’ve spun linens (Exodus 35:25), made tents (Acts 18:2), sold garments and supply belts to tradesmen (Proverbs 31:25), planted vineyards (Proverbs 31:16), or tended sheep (Genesis 29:9). Godly women share diverse talents with their families, communities, and world.
Whether you’re an established woman entrepreneur or a mompreneur with a new business plan, you’re familiar with the challenges women entrepreneurs face, and you’re up for the adventure. Whatever your calling, you’re most likely to succeed if you seek God’s guidance first and work diligently, as for the Lord (Proverbs 14:23).
When grounded in faith, women at work can serve God by serving others.
Where and how to get certified as a woman-owned business
Is WOSB certification right for you? You might qualify if you’re a for-profit, US-based small business that’s 51% or more woman-owned and operated.
If you want WOSB certification, brace yourself for a lot of time, energy, and paperwork to complete lengthy application and documentation steps. You’ll need to verify ownership, business size, financials, and other details.
If approved, you’ll take additional registration steps before you can compete with other certified WOSBs for contract work:
WOSB certification checklist
The SBA’s interactive WOSB-qualification questionnaire guides you through qualification basics. Then you can register to create business profiles and accounts:
- Register in the System for Award Management (SAM) – You need to start and maintain an active SAM.gov registration to participate in the WOSB program.
- Create an SBA Account – Create a standard login.gov account before registering, using the same SAM email, plus your legal name as a business owner.
- Claim your business – After you enter your SAM.gov ID, the majority woman business owner or other designated woman business owner must claim your business on the WOSB certification site. The system guides you through these steps once you’ve created your SBA and WOSB accounts as outlined in the steps above.
Before you begin, take a look at the WOSB preparation checklist so you’ll have the right documents and data on hand.
Christian businesswomen: striking a balance
Programs like WOSB support current entrepreneurial trends. About 40% of U.S. businesses are women-owned, and women start over 1,800 new businesses daily.
The concept of working women isn’t new. Biblical women worked in the trades, agriculture, and service arenas. They were shopkeepers, vendors, jewelry-makers, shepherds, and even builders and city planners (1 Chronicles 7:24).
For women entrepreneurs – especially Christian women – the trick is finding work-life balance. When grounded in faith, women at work can serve God by serving others.
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