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The Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business Blog Feature
Carter Bowman

By: Carter Bowman on July 25th, 2018

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The Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business

Government Business Development | 3 Min Read

[This blog was last updated on October 16, 2020]

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has several contracting assistance programs to help small businesses win a fair share of the federal government's dollars. One of these programs is the Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business (EDWOSB). The EDWOSB is a small business concern that is at least 51% owned by one or more women and is considered economically disadvantaged. If you qualify as an EDWOSB, you automatically qualify for the Women Owned Small Business Program (WOSB).

Both of these programs are very beneficial for small business GSA Schedule contractors, but you need to ensure you qualify and know how to properly certify your company. The EDWOSB certification is very similar to the Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) program, however, it does have a few distinctions. 

The Qualification

It is important to note that any EDWOSB also qualifies for WOSB qualifications, but not the other way around. Like a WOSB, in order to be considered an EDWOSB, a woman must control most of the company, at least 51%, but to be considered EDWOSB, she must also be economically disadvantaged. This economically disadvantaged woman must, like in women owned small businesses, make day to day decisions and long term, strategic decisions.

To be considered economically disadvantaged, you must meet certain requirements for personal net worth, adjusted gross income, and fair market value of all your assets. Looking more closely at what it is to be considered economically disadvantaged, you must have a personal net worth less than $750,000, your adjusted gross income per year averaged over the last three years prior to certification may not go above $350,000, and the fair market value of all your assets cannot surpass $6 million.

The Advantages:

These two programs share a goal of helping women acquire government contracts. Although many women are aware that they can qualify for a WOSB, some are unaware of the economically disadvantaged qualification that they meet as well. Because of this, many businesses that would qualify for EDWOSB have not applied, and therefore, the competition pool for those who do have the certification is smaller.

As an EDWOSB, you will be able to compete in both small business set-aside contracts and sole source contracts, so you will have plenty of contracting opportunities available to you with this designation. The federal government sets aside contracts for small businesses to compete in, and some contracts are restricted further for only EDWOSB. 

You will also be able to form Joint Venture partnerships with established government contractors or team-up with other businesses through a Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA)

If you believe you meet these qualifications, you should consider applying to the EDWOSB Program. There is no risk in applying for this certification. If you are rejected, then you continue with your contracting business as usual.

The Certification:

As of July 2020, the certification process has changed and you will not longer be able to self-certify as an EDWOSB. If you are a new applicant, you will need to fill out the following information on your certify.sba.gov account:

  • SAM.gov registration information
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship for the female owner(s)
  • Other business related documentation 
  • Joint venture agreements (if applicable)

You can also be certified through an SBA approved third party certifier, but you will need to file this on the certify.sba.gov portal. There are four organizations approved by the SBA for third-party certification:

  • El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • National Women Business Owners Corporation
  • US Women’s Chamber of Commerce
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

To learn more about the new certification process, visit our blog, "What You Need to Know About the Changes the SBA is Making to the WOSB Program."

Do You Want to Learn More About the EDWOSB and Other Benefits for Small Businesses?

Each year, the federal government sets aside over $100 billion for small businesses, and one of their annual goals is to award at least 5 percent of federal contract dollars to women-owned small businesses. As a small business GSA Schedule contractor, you have several tools, platforms, and contract opportunities available to you and you should take advantage of them. To learn more about how you can leverage your GSA Schedule as a small business, check out our recent blog on "How to Succeed as a Small Business Through a GSA Schedule." 

If you need help with your qualifications, the certifying process, or you have more questions about your small business designation, don't hesitate to reach out to one of our consultants.

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About Carter Bowman

At Winvale, Carter is involved with both the Business Development and Consulting departments where he assists with blog writing, analytical research and marketing for program initiatives and events. While assisting different Winvale teams, Carter has helped draft summaries and reports, worked on a variety of marketing strategies, and contributed to the daily needs and responsibilities of his team members.