UACES Facebook Big Changes Coming for Certification Programs for Woman-Owned Businesses
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Big Changes Coming for Certification Programs for Woman-Owned Businesses

by Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center - June 9, 2020

Green and White Arkansas APEX Accelerator graphicHistorically, a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) could self-certify by merely ticking a box during SAM registration and providing supporting documentation - the add-on to self-certification that came a bit later.

But in 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act set the course for eliminating WOSB self-certification. To ensure a smooth transition, the Small Business Administration still allowed WOSBs to self-certify "with documentation" for the time being, but this option is effectively going away on October 15, 2020.

Instead, the WOSBs will have two primary pathways to certification.

Pathway 1: On July 15, 2020, WOSB/EDWOSB firms can begin submitting applications through SBA's new, free online certification process at

Pathway 2: WOSB/EDWOSB firms can continue using a fee-based SBA-approved third-party certifier.

There are two alternative pathways for certification, and those are for WOSB firms who have been certified through the 8(a) program or the VA's CVE process for military veterans.

On October 15, 2020, the SBA will begin issuing decisions on certification.

If you are currently a certified WOSB firm, here's what you should do:

Between now and July 15, 2020, download your documentation, presently housed in the WOSB Program Repository. Doing this is especially important if you don't have copies of all originally submitted documentation, as it will be used again through the new certification process.


Carefully read the full article covering these new changes directly from the SBA's webpage dedicated to the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program and Certification at While on this page, make sure to grab additional resources such as the "certification options table."

DON'T WAIT! Carve out some time in June to gather your relevant documents and be among the first to submit your application(s) through the new, free online process at

If you have questions or need assistance, contact your Arkansas APEX Accelerator counselor at 501-671-2390 for assistance.