Currently women may “self-certify” their businesses as woman-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small business (EDWOSB). There are forms and data one provides to the Small Business Administration to do so. A small percentage of federal contracts are awarded only to these businesses (3500 contracts in FY19).
Regulations enacting the new EDWOSB/WOSB certification requirements will be published approximately June 30, 2020, and will be effective 30 days later. As of that date, you will no longer be able to self-certify as a WOSB or EDWOSB. You will be required to go through the SBA’s formal certification process, which is administered by several third-party entities and for which there are fees.
To read more, and also learn about other certification programs (e.g., certain minority-owned businesses, historically underutilized business zones) go to https://certify.sba.gov/am-i-eligible and follow the links to the certifications in which you are interested – you may apply for more than one.