Wyoming woman-owned businesses can take one or several approaches when it comes to working with large companies, the state, or the federal government. It’s a good idea to determine what your goals are before you take the time to have your company certified for any of the programs your company might qualify for.
There are four approaches to consider:
- Going after Small Business Administration (SBA) WOSB/EDWOSB Set-Aside contracts (woman-owned small business/economically disadvantaged WOSB)
- Working with government Primes as a subcontractor
- Working with Fortune 500 companies to fulfill their diversity goals
- Working with the State of Wyoming as a DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) contractor
No matter which approach, or combination of approaches, you choose, qualifying as a woman-owned business generally means that the business is owned, controlled and managed by one or more women who are US citizens. In the case of the SBA’s set-aside program – only certain industries are included in the program – and the business must be “small” by SBA standards.
Some things to consider when determining your approach:
- Do you want to be solely responsible for the contract?
- Do you have the resources to handle the entire project?
- Do you want to work with the federal or state government, or would you prefer to work with another business?
- Does your company qualify as woman-owned, per each program’s requirements?
- Are you willing to pay for a yearly certification, such as WBENC’s?
If a company wins an SBA WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside contract, they will work directly with the federal government. They will need to manage the contract – and are solely responsible for its completion.
When a company opts to work with a Prime as a subcontractor on a federal contract, or directly with a Fortune 500 company as a subcontractor – it is a business-business relationship. If a company gets certified as a DBE with Wyoming – they will also be subcontracting with another, usually larger, company. DBE projects are all in the transportation industry – such as highways and airports.
The SBA’s WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside program’s goal is to level the playing field for women business owners by limiting competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the set aside program. Set-asides are limited to certain NAICS codes, which can be found here. The company must be a small business, be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens, and women manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions. They have recently changed their certification program – visit this page for more information.
Federal contractors, “Primes”, are required to maintain an acceptable subcontracting plan if they are an other than small business (including all subsidiaries and affiliates, both foreign and domestic) and the estimated dollar value of the base contract and all option periods exceeds, or is expected to exceed, $700,000. In its proposal to a large business, a small businesses must self-certify as small for the NAICS code on the solicitation. If a small business fails to do this, a subcontract will not count toward small business subcontracting goals. Small businesses need to be registered in SAM. Primes look for woman-owned firms to meet their subcontracting goals in the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search. Be aware that any large business can publish outreach events, notices of sources sought, and solicitations for subcontracting work to the subcontracting database, (SubNet) in an effort to locate small business subcontractors.
Fortune 500 Approach
Fortune 500 Corporations and other large firms actively seeking to diversify their supplier base often look for Woman Owned Small Businesses to work with, otherwise known as “Woman’s Business Enterprises (WBEs). Many Fortune 500 companies have Supplier Diversity Programs geared towards giving subcontracting opportunities to small and minority-owned businesses. Check with each company for acceptable documentation that your company is woman-owned. Some may accept documentation from a third party certifier (TPC), an organization such as WBENC or NWBOC. Others may accept the new SBA certification, or self-verification in SAM. WBEs do not need to be small by SBA standards. They are at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens or Legal Resident Aliens; their business formation and principal place of business are in the U.S. or its territories; and their management and daily operation is controlled by a woman with industry expertise. If a corporation uses a TPC that is one of the 4 the SBA uses for their set aside program, you can ask the TPC to certify your company as both a WBE and to be eligible for the WOSB set aside program.
Help is Available
If all of this seems a bit overwhelming – contact the WY PTAC for assistance. We’re happy to guide you through the approaches you can take in working with the federal and state government programs, subcontracting with the Primes, or working with the Fortune 500 companies. We also assist with the new SBA WOSB/EDWOSB certification program. To get started, click here.