Women -Owned Business Owners Are Now Being Certified – They Now Have Choices
Over a year ago, the SBA implemented the long awaited Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program. Coincidently, at about this same time, the SBA also implemented the proposed changes to the more than 40 year-old 8(a) Business Development Program.
How do each of these certification programs compare? The table below provides the answer to the eligibility side of this question.
Eligibility Criteria WOSB Program 8(a) Program
Citizenship U.S Citizenship Required U.S Citizenship Required
Market Limitations 45 NAICS Codes for Underrepresentation; 35 NAICS Codes for Substantial Underrepresentation None
Provision for Sole-Source Awards None $6.5M: Manufacturer: $3.5M Otherwise
Award Ceilings $5M Manufacture; $3M Otherwise None: $5.5M: Manufacturer: $4.0M Otherwise for Sole source Awards
Business Size Small business Small Business
Social Disadvantage Required? No Yes
Economic Disadvantage Required? No for WOSB’s; Yes for EDWOSB’s Yes for All Applicants
Ownership 51% by Qualified Women 51% by Qualified Applicants
Control 51% by Qualified Women 51% by Qualified Applicants
Certification Status Attested to Self Certification, Third Party Certification SBA Only
The WOSB program contains a provision for women-owned businesses who can demonstrate their “economic disadvantage” that provides expanded opportunities over other WOSB’s who are not economically disadvantaged. In fact, this program is called the EDWOSB program.
Some of EZCertify’s clients and prospects have asked the question about what the differences in proving your economic disadvantage are between the EDWOSB and 8(a) programs? The table below provides the answer to this question.
Measure of Economic Disadvantage EDWOSB Program 8(a) Program
Personal Net Worth $750,000 $250,000 upon applying
$750,000 throughout program term
Adjusted Gross Income $350,000 averaged over the previous 3 years $250,000 averaged over previous 3 years prior to application. $350,000 averaged over the previous 3 years
Personal Assets Less than $6,000,000 Less than $4,000,000 upon applying Less than $6,000,000 throughout program term
A careful analysis of the above tables results in the following conclusions about these programs.
• All three programs provide participants with a competitive advantage, although the 8(a) program provides by far the larger advantage due to the sole-source and unlimited dollars ceiling of competitive 8(a) procurements and the fact that this program is well established and familiar to Federal government buyers and contracting officers.
• The eligibility requirements of the 8(a) program are much stricter than either of the WOSB programs, especially for non-minority women due largely to the requirement to prove an applicant’s social disadvantage.
• As you can see, there are not major differences among the criteria determining an applicant’s economic disadvantage between the EDWOSB and 8(a) programs.
The follow-up question that I am asked is, Which program is best? Most people are surprised when they hear from me that you need not choose from among these two programs. First of all, if you are a woman applicant, who unconditionally owns and controls her business, and is considered to be socially disadvantaged, it is almost certain that if you qualify for the 8(a) program, you will also be considered eligible to be EDWOSB and if not, certainly WOSB certified. That’s right, you get “two certifications” if you qualify for the 8(a) certification.
I am next asked whether if you qualify for the EDWOSB certification, do you automatically qualify for the 8(a) certification? The answer to this question is largely dependent on whether the women business owners are also considered to be “socially disadvantaged”. For women who are members of what the SBA refers to as members of a “designated group”, i.e. Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific, Subcontinent Asia or Native American, the answer is yes. Members of these groups are presumed to be “socially disadvantaged”.
If you are not a member of a designated group, proving your “social disadvantage” could be difficult. However, EZCertify will make a determination whether or not together, you and we can prepare a narrative that will be accepted by the SBA.
The good news is that this determination will be made by us at absolutely no cost to you. If it is acceptable, we offer to prepare both your 8(a) application and your EDWOSB application at the same time, and at a cost to you much less than the combined costs of preparing each application separately.
Get 8(a) and/or EDWOSB or WOSB certified and enjoy the competitive benefits of these two Federal certifications.