Being a woman entrepreneur in itself can be a daunting task for many. On top of that conducting business with the federal government can be an extra burden that you may not be equipped to handle.
The WOSB or Women-Owned Small Business certification is a tool provided by the federal government for women entrepreneurs. The tool allows these small businesses to form federal contracts with government agencies.
However, it is normal for you as a woman business owner to be inquiring about the amount of time taken for the Small Business Administration to approve your application. Despite the certificate providing numerous benefits, there are significant drawbacks for an entrepreneur during the application process.
In this web blog, we will be exploring the average timeframe taken by the Small Business Administration to approve an application. The blog will also provide you with the benefits that you will receive after the certification is complete. Finally, we will also be providing you recommendations to ensure that you have a smoother process for your certification.
As a women entrepreneur, you have a clear idea of the challenges that you face in the marketplace. These challenges oftentimes create barriers and hurdles for women-owned small business firms. In order to mitigate this issue, the Small Business Administration has created the WOSB certification program for women entrepreneurs.
The Women-Owned Small Business Certification is a program started by the US Federal Government to provide women entrepreneurs in the US a level playing field. The government does this by utilizing set-aside projects and contracts for businesses having the WOSB certificate.
The main purpose of the WOSB Certification is to provide women business owners the incentives required so that they are able to improve their economic condition. At the same time, it provides these businesses with further growth opportunities. The WOSB Certification cost is around $350. There is, however, a fee discount for economically disadvantaged women.
In order to qualify for the WOSB Certification, your business should be at least 51% owned by a woman or multiple women. Additionally, in order to qualify the women should also be a citizen of the US. Furthermore, according to the SBA, a business can only be considered a women-run business if a female leader or entrepreneur is taking an active role in the running of the firm.
In order to receive the benefits, you first have to submit the WOSB certification application to the SBA. The SBA offers certification to women entrepreneurs from different industries.
In order to start the application process, you need to meet the WOSB certification checklist. The following are some of the business requirements you need to meet as a woman business owner:
● Business Size: In order for your business to be eligible for the certification, you need to meet the business size requirements. The SBA and the Federal Government set the size standard for a company. According to the SBA, you are a small business, if the business has an annual revenue of around $7.5 million. Additionally, if your business has 1500 to 1000 employees, then the SBA considers you as a small business. However, it is important to note that each industry has its own specifications and requirements. For example, a manufacturing company can be considered a small business if they have 500 employees.
● Ownership and Control: According to the SBA, a business can be eligible for the certification program, if a woman or multiple women have 51% stakes in a company. Furthermore, these women entrepreneurs have to be citizens of the US and the company needs to be primarily managed by women.
● Management of the Organisation: The final requirement on the WOSB certification checklist for eligibility is that the company also has to be primarily managed by women. According to the SBA, you will be eligible for the certification, if women owners such as you are taking an active role in running and managing the organization.
There is no straightforward answer to this question. This is mainly because the time taken for the application varies from industry to industry. The WOSB certification process is a complex and lengthy one and this affects the timeframe of the certification process. Various factors can influence your WOSB certification.
Therefore, it is first important for you to get a conclusive idea of the certification procedure.
The Small Business Association of the Federal Government provides various avenues to begin your application process. You start the certification process by completing the application on the online portal of the Small Business Association.
Before you can apply for the certification program, as a business owner you first have to register yourself with the System for Award Management (SAM) of the Federal Government. This is a database that lists various commercial vendors from all fifty states. You either will be able to register to the SAM via their online website or can send your details and documents via the mail.
After you have registered your business with the SAM, you will receive a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number for your business. The SBA to locate your business on the SAM Database will utilize this DUNS number.
It is imperative that you maintain updated as well as accurate information on your SAM profile. This is done because the SBA officials can access your company’s information in the database.
Based on the medium chosen, the time taken also is influenced. It usually takes around two to three days to complete your SAM registration. After you have completed your SAM registration, you are eligible for the WOSB Certification process.
In order to reduce the time taken for completing the certification process. We recommend that you prepare the following documents that need to be sent to the SBA. The documents required are:
● 3 years of Personal Tax Returns
● Business documents such as articles of incorporation, agreements, and clauses.
● US citizenship proof can be a birth certificate, naturalization papers, and passport.
● Employee Lists and their job roles as well as responsibilities.
● Control and Management Proof
Having the documentation ready is likely to reduce the time it will take you for completing the application process for your company.
According to the SBA, it is crucial that you as the business owner should be the one that applies for the certification. This is because it involves creating an account that has to be claimed by the business owner. After that, you can delegate the rest of the application process. This will allow you to save time during certification.
After you have gathered your documentation and have completed your SAM registration, the next is to submit your application to the SBA. Before submitting your documents, you need to ensure that your documents are authentic and attested. Following this, you need to attest to the Program Certification Summary in the application document.
Once you have submitted your application, it should immediately appear on the database. However, in this stage, the certification is still not complete. The SBA officials in this stage are tasked with verifying your submitted documents. As a result, it will show you a pending status on the SBA website.
The verification stage of the WOSB certification is the longest phase in your entire application process. It typically takes around 15 to 20 days to get your credentials and documentation to be verified by the Small Business Association. However, it is important to mention that time taken for the verification process is also dependent on the workload of the SBA employees and the funding the Federal Government allocates to the Small Business Association.
The WOSB certification cost is around $350 for women not belonging to economically disadvantaged societies. After you have completed the payment of the application fee, the SBA states that it takes around 90 calendar days to approve your application. It is again important to mention that the 90 calendar days are again dependent on the funding of the association.
After the completion of your application, you will be notified from the Small Business Association. Once the SBA approves your application after 90 days, the Dynamic Small Business Search database will now show your company profile.
After the SBA approves your application, your certification as a WOSB is valid for one straight year. You need to renew your application annually from the day of the acceptance of your application.
The SBA rule states that you need to submit a renewal application for the certification 30 days prior to the expiration date. However, this annual attestation is now no longer necessary for new women business owners. Instead, the Small Business Association now hires third-party officials for company examination.
According to the new regulation of the SBA, you as a business owner needs to submit yourself and your business to third-party examination after every 3 years. This examination is done to verify the company credentials as well as take a gauge of the performance of your organization.
The WOSB certification requires you to maintain up-to-date information on the SAM and Dynamic Small Business Search database. If you are not maintaining your profile, there is a chance that your certificate may be rescinded.
Therefore, it is imperative that you maintain an accurate database of your business profile. This will allow receiving Federal contracts for your business. According to the recent SBA regulations, a previously self-certified firm has to undergo the certification process from the beginning.
In order to improve their process ofproviding WOSB certifications to businesses, the Small Business Administration has approved third-party affiliates to complete the certification more efficiently. This allows small women business owners to reduce the time taken for the certification process.
Furthermore, these affiliated organisations provide self-help guides and training programs to women entrepreneurs so that they are able to complete the certification process without any difficulties.
Even after a third-party has given approval for your certification, you still need to provide the SBA with the documentation. This will allow you to bid on Federal set-aside project contracts.
The web blog serves as a guide for women business owners such as yourself on the way to completing the WOSB certification for your business. The Federal Government provides entrepreneurs a valuable tool to women. It allows you to bid on specific government contracts, thereby, removing any red tape and competition. However, we have also seen during the blog, that the application process for the certification can be gruelling and time-consuming. It generally takes around 90 calendar days for approving any WOSB application. Additionally, we also recommend that you should also check out third-party certification before applying on the SBA website.