• The Sharing Collective

Resources and Certifications for Women-Owned Businesses

There are many resources available for Women-owned businesses to help you navigate the complexities of starting and running a business and also provide support in helping you succeed.

We aim to bring you information and resources that can help your business move forward and thrive.

We will continue to add new resources as well as courses and programs for women-owned businesses. If you know of someone or an organization we should feature, please reach out and share.


8(a) Business Development Program: An SBA program that aims to provide at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year. Business owners who receive 8(a) certification may also enroll in the 8(a) mentor-protege program. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

ACDBE: Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. A certification for airport concession businesses that are at least 51 percent owned and operated by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged or, in the case of a corporation, in which 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals. For more information, visit www.transportation.gov/civil-rights.

DBE: Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. This certification is designed to level the playing field by providing small businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals a fair opportunity to compete for federally funded transportation contracts (e.g. highway, highway safety, transit and airport contracts). The business must be at least 51 percent owned, capitalized and operated by a person or persons who is a member of a presumed group or a woman and meets specific personal net worth and gross receipt criteria. For more information, visit www.transportation.gov.

EDWOSB: Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business. A certification available for economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. This is a subset of the WOSB program. To qualify, small business owners must meet all requirements of WOSB as well as have a personal net worth of less than $750,000, an adjusted gross yearly income averaged over the three years preceding the certification that does not exceed $350,000, and the fair market value of assets (including primary residence and the value of the business concern) that does not exceed $6 million. For more information, see the SBA’s frequently asked questions EDWOSB certification document.

Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone program): A program under the SBA that allows small businesses to have access to federal procurement opportunities. A business obtains HUBZone certification in part by maintaining a principal office in a HUBZone and employing staff that are residents of designated HUBZones. At least 3 percent of federal contract dollars must be allocated to HUBZone-certified businesses annually. For more information about applying for this certification, visit the HUBZone program website.

MBE: Minority Business Enterprise. This is a certification for businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by minority individuals and daily operations are controlled by those minority group members. For more information, visit https://nmsdc.org/mbes/.

NMSDC: National Minority Supplier Development Council. This is a corporate membership organization that advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) and connects them to corporate members.

NAWBO:National Association of Women Business Owners. This organization is due-based and represents the interests of all women entrepreneurs across all industries; and with chapters across the country. With far-reaching clout and impact NAWBO is a one-stop resource, propelling women business owners into greater economic, social and political spheres of power worldwide. https://www.nawbo.org

NAICS: North American Industry Classification System. Developed under the Office of Management and Budget, the NAICS is used by federal agencies to classify businesses for collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical information. Many small businesses use more than one NAICS code on their taxes and when applying for certifications. Find yours at census.gov.

NWBOC: National Women Business Owners Corporation. This organization offers WBE (Women Business Enterprise), WOSB (Women-Owned Small Business), MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) and VBE (Veteran Business Enterprise) certifications.

SDVO: Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. This is an SBA program to improve prime and subcontracting opportunities for veteran and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. For more information, visit www.sba.gov.

SAM: System for Award Management. A federal government website for businesses to track their bids and awards. You may log into this site and update your company’s information at any time. https://www.sam.gov/SAM/

WBE: Women’s Business Enterprise. A separate certification from WOSB/EDWOSB, WBE certification is available to businesses that are at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled by a woman or women. Business owners may apply for certification through WBENC or NWBOC.

WBENC: Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. WBENC is the largest certifier of women-owned small businesses (both WOSB and WBE certifications) in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit www.wbenc.org.

WOSB: Women-Owned Small Business. A certification for women-owned small businesses. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year. Certification is through the SBA or one of four SBA-approved organizations: the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), the US Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). For more information, visit the WOSB page on the Small Business Administration website.