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February 28, 2014 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Andi Lewis, Wyoming Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) specialist
“My wife and I own a small business, and we’d like to do business with the government under the WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside program. Could you explain the program’s requirements?” Bill, Buffalo
The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program authorizes contracting officers to specifically limit or set aside certain requirements for competition solely among women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs).
The program is restricted to 83 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes. There is a list of the applicable codes on the SBA’s website (www.sba.gov), along with instructions and rules that govern the WOSB/EDWOSB program.
The two most basic requirements of the WOSB/EDWOSB program are that a woman (or women) must be the majority owner of the firm and that a woman must control the business. As far as ownership is concerned, the woman must own at least 51 percent of the business and be a U.S. citizen.
The ownership must be unconditional -- that is, there are no restrictions on the ownership -- and it must be direct ownership. Direct ownership means ownership cannot be through another entity or through a stock ownership plan. A revocable trust is acceptable.
To “control” the business means that the management and daily operations must be controlled by a woman. The woman in control does not need to be the same woman who owns the firm. Control means that the woman cannot be a figurehead -- she must be running the daily business and making long-term decisions that concern the business’s future.
Also, the woman must hold the highest officer position, and she must be engaged in the company during that type of business’s normal working hours. For instance, normal working hours for a plumbing business are during the day -- not in the evening.
In order for a WOSB to be deemed economically disadvantaged, the woman must meet thresholds for personal net worth, adjusted gross income and fair market value of all assets.
Other requirements of the program include uploading documents that verify the status of the company to the SBA’s WOSB program repository. These documents must be kept up to date. Firms can self-certify or have an SBA-approved third-party certifier certify for them. Any amendments to your eligibility documents also must be uploaded.
Contracting officers are required to verify all required documents are uploaded. Contact the Wyoming PTAC for assistance with the program at (307) 637-5029. Recommended reading is the SBA’s Compliance Guide for the WOSB program, available at: http://www.sba.gov/content/contracting-opportunities-women-owned-small-businesses.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.