To help stimulate economic growth, the US government supplies about $500 billion in contracts to businesses every year. The SBA (Small Business Act) set a goal for twenty-three percent of all government-contracting dollars to be awarded to small businesses that meet certain requirements; namely women-owned small businesses, Small Disadvantaged Businesses, HUBZone small businesses, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Each of these groups has its own specific goal. The SBA set a goal of five percent of all prime and subcontracts for women-owned small businesses. For eligible businesses, these contracts are “set-aside,” restricting potential competition. However, this federally mandated goal has yet to be realized.
WOSBs (women-owned small businesses) and EDWOSBs (economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses) must meet certain requirements in order to qualify for government contracting programs. At least fifty-one percent of the business must be owned and controlled by one or more women, these women must be US citizens, and the business must be defined as a “small business” according to the SBA and the NAICS (North American Industry Classification System). Furthermore, an EDWOSB can qualify for WOSB program awards and EDWOSB awards, but a WOSB can only qualify for WOSB program awards. Certification for these programs can be applied for directly, or through a third party.