How to Apply to Be an Official Women-Owned Business Part 1

When it comes to being able to apply for government contracts, there are small things you can do to set yourself up for success. If you are a small women-owned business in the United States, there is a certification option that will make you eligible for preference when it comes to government contracts.

Depending on the current economic status you find yourself in, there are two different certifications that you can receive through the Small Business Association: Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Business (EDWOSB). 

GrantWatch has put together a two-part series on becoming a women-owned business. The first part of the series will cover the benefits of being a women-owned business and how it can help with the success of your small business. In the second part, we will discuss the documentation needed to apply and give a step-by-step, easy guide for completing the application.

If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment or contact the Small Business Association directly. 

Benefits of Women-Owned Business Designation 

Two types of businesses fall under this designation, and there are separate applications (and benefits) to both. If a women-owned business applies for the EDWOSB designation and is denied, their application will be automatically be processed for the WOSB designation. If you are nervous that you may not be qualified to apply for either of these designations, it is important to carefully read the requirements beforehand.

So what are some of the benefits of being SBA certified? 

1. Increase both your visibility and exposure

Similar to a Better Business Bureau accreditation, having this designation can make your business more appealing to potential partners and customers. It shows them that you are credible and that you not only took the time to complete the application but also that you had all the necessary documents.

2. The ability to bid on federal government contracts

The federal government has required that a percentage of contracts they offer go to small businesses (the goal is 25%), and a small percentage goes to women-owned businesses (the goal is 5% at minimum). In fact, there is a program called the WOSB Federal Government Contracting Program. This program requires you to have this designation and can help businesses increase their customer base. 

3. Access to mentorship programs

By having either the WOSB or EDWOSB certifications, you are able to apply to mentorship programs through the SBA. The program is referred to as the Mentor-Protege program. This program allows you to connect with other, more experienced business owners to gain help in several key areas relevant to your business including: 

  • Marketing, accounting, technical training 
  • Possibilities for financial assistance in form of loans, investments, or donations 
  • Support through the contracting application process 
  • Any business development strategies help 

We hope you’re already excited to apply for your certification! Next week, we’re going to explore exactly how to go through the process to make it as simple as possible.

It can seem daunting especially when it comes to applying to programs that involve the federal government. That’s why we’ll walk you through each step, and hopefully, it’ll make the process a whole lot easier. Just a quick heads up, you’ll need both a DUNS Number and to be registered with SAM.GOV to be able to start this application. Our team has put together articles on how to go through both of these processes, and we’ve linked them here. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also reach out to us directly at

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