Women Business Enterprise

1. What is a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE)?

  • A WBE is a business concern that is at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women.
  • Must be U.S. citizens or Legal Resident Aliens; whose business formation and principal place of business are in the U.S. or its territories;
  • And whose management and daily operation is controlled by women.

2. Are there any length-of-time in business requirements applicants must meet before applying for certification as an WBE?

  • The owner is required to have operated the business for at least a full year (365 days) either calendar or fiscal.
  • The owner is required to have filed a federal business tax return consisting of a full year (365 days) either calendar or fiscal.
  • The business must have been continuously operating for at least one year (365 days).
  • The owner is required to have filed federal business and personal tax returns for the most recently completed tax year.

3. What does the WBE certification process entail?

Application are filled with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Small Business Program (OSBP). Applications can be obtained from EPA, OSBP, from regional DBE Coordinators, and from EPA OSBP’s website, www.epa.gov/osbp. The application includes the following:

  • An attestation to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information on the application for by sworn affidavit, or an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.
  • The application must include evidence demonstrating that the entity is owned and/or controlled by one or more individuals claiming disadvantaged status of such individuals.
  • The application must include documentation of a denial of certification by a Federal agency, State government, local government, Indian tribal government, or independent private organization, if applicable.

4. Does the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accept other certifications?

Yes. Under the new Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program entities can no longer self-certify. EPA will accept certifications from:

  • The United States Small Business Administration (SBA), under its 8(a) program certificates and SBA Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Program self-certifications;
  • The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) state implemented DBE Certification Program (with U.S. citizenship);
  • State and local governments, if their standards for certification meet or exceed our own; and
  • Independent private organization certifications if their standards for certification meet or exceed our own.

If an entity holds one of these certifications, it is considered acceptable for establishing WBE status under EPA’s DEB Program, and application for EPA certification is not needed.

5. What is the Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program?

The objective of the 8(a) program is to help minority-owned companies win contracts in the public sector. Furthermore, this federal program is geared towards helping provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities. In addition the 8(a) program offers specialized business training, counseling, and marketing assistance in addition to giving participants access to reduced competition and sole source contracts.

6. What are the 8(a) program qualifications?

  • Be considered a small business
  • Has not participated in prior 8(a) programs.
  • The owner is required to possess at least 51% of the business and be controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
  • The owner is required to have a personal net worth of $250,000 or less.
  • The owner is required to have an average adjusted gross income for three years of $250,000 or less.
  • The owner is required to have $4 million or less in assets.
  • The owner is required to manage day-to-day operations and make long-term decisions.
  • Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.

7. What is the primary function of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)?

The OSDBU is responsible for ensuring that small businesses are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of the agency’s contracting and subcontracting opportunities.

8. What is an WBE business enterprise directory?

By logging into https://www.omwbe.wa.gov you can either register your business as an WBE or obtain a printed compilation of certified women’s business enterprises which is retained and published by the minority business enterprise department and made available to contractors (s), vendor (s), and the public for use in identifying contractors, service providers, material supplies, etc.

9. What are one of the primary responsibilities of the National Women’s Business Enterprise Policy?

Directs all Federal agencies to act to strengthen woman-owned business enterprise and to ensure full participation by women in the free enterprise system.

10. What agency is responsible for performing an onsite review/visit to a WBE?

The onsite visit is conducted by the Finance and Administration Cabinet. This visit is conducted every three years. The onsite visit consists of a verbal and visual confirmation of the applicant’s ownership, management and control of the business. The applicant(s) must answer all questions posed by the Finance and Administration Cabinet and if requested the applicant must also submit supporting documentation relating to their business.