WOSB Certification

The Power of WOSB Certification: Finding the Untapped
Potential in Women-Owned Businesses

In the dynamic world of entrepreneurship, women are taking their spot at the table. Despite launching new businesses at twice the rate of men, there is a critical gap that needs attention: Less than 1 percent of all women-owned businesses hold a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification from the Small Business Administration.

The WOSB Certification provides preferential access to federal contracts, increased visibility, and enhanced business growth opportunities. The reasons behind the underutilization of this certification are puzzling. While some female entrepreneurs may not know about the certification, others may struggle to navigate the application process.

The underrepresentation of certified WOSB businesses also mirrors the broader challenges women face in the business world. Gender bias, lack of funding, and limited networking access often get in the way of women’s entrepreneurial success.

Are you a woman leading a small business?

The WOSB certification aims at leveling the playing field by providing women with better access to federal contracts. Getting SBA certifications starts with understanding what aligns with your current circumstances and future business goals. Two SBA certifications for women include the Women-Owned Small Business Certification (WOSB) and the Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Certification (EDWOSB).

  1. 1
    Women-Owned Small Business Certification (WOSB)
  • You must own at least 51% of your small business and control its management and daily operations.
  • The business must meet SBA's small business size standards.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  1. 2
    Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Certification (EDWOSB)

 If your business is woman-led and you're economically disadvantaged, the EDWOSB certification can give you access to federal contracts set aside, especially for EDWOSB-certified businesses.

  • You must meet all the criteria for WOSB.
  • You should have a net worth of less than $750,000, excluding personal residence and business value.
  • Your adjusted gross income averaged over three years should be $350,000 or less.

Smoothing the Path to Certification

The St. Louis Small Business Empowerment Center works with business owners to clarify any questions about the WOSB and EDWOSB, highlight their benefits, and provide support during the application process. We can also point you in the direction of local and national women’s business organizations to help shore up your network.

Sabrina Westfall, owner of J West Electric, holds a WOSB certification. “The SBEC has been my partner in setting goals,” Westfall explained. “The executive director, Kevin Wilson, asked me, ‘What do you want your legacy to be on St. Louis?’ Even as a new company at the time, armed with the information that SBEC gave me and the WOSB certification, I felt empowered and confident enough to go after federal contracts.”