Small Business Administration’s EDWOSB & WOSB Certification Process

SBA has rolled out a new process for free online certification as a WOSB and EDWOSB. Here is an account of how this process went for The Westmoreland Group. (Updated 12/23/2020) 


May 2020 

The WOSB and EDWOSB Contracting Program regulations were published online. The highlight of these new regulations is a free, online certification process. Sound hassle free right? I am a woman and I am economically disadvantaged according to the requirements hence I am eligible for this business designation. 

July 2020 

EDWOSB Initial Application submitted online at – this included attaching the requested documents. Here are some of the documents requested when you walk through the online application: 

1. Tax Returns (past 3 years) 

2. W2 (past 3 years) 

3. Retirement Account Statements 

4. Resume

5. IRS Form 4506T (this is a request for tax transcripts)

6. Passport (owner) 

As a legally operating business in the State of Maryland all of these documents we already had on file which made it pretty straight forward to complete the initial application. 

October 2020

I received a letter from the SBA (WOSB Program Analyst) stating that my initial application had been screened and found to be incomplete for further processing. Therefore, my application would be returned and that I had until 10/12/2020 to address the missing items. A note in this letter states that a full list of documents required for eligibility can be found at 13 CFR 127 Part B (no link included). The following documents were found to missing and incomplete in my application: 

1. Operating Agreement 

2. Articles of Organization 

I uploaded these documents the same day just under an hour after I received the communication and currently the status of my applicant is PENDING. 

Note: I walked through the online application step by step uploading the required documents and filling in the information requested and at that time there was NOT a request for an Operating Agreement and there was NOT a request for Articles of Organization. I understand this is a new process and there will be updates along the way, this is just a record of my experience. 

December 2020

I received a letter from SBA stating that my initial application has been approved for certification. This is wonderful news because I was able to navigate this process for free and succeed. This certification will help set my firm apart from others when competing for government contract awards. Here is a small section of the correspondence:

“Congratulations! Your firm has been certified as an Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSB Program), as set forth in Title 13, Part 127 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).”




Making Government Work for TWG, 

Sophoria Westmoreland 

Recruiting Lessons Learned

I recently went through the recruiting process from A to Z and here are some lessons I learned along the way. Disclaimer: I am not a HR professional and I do not hold any certifications in Human Resources.

1. Posting the position 

There are many places to post a job these days and also full service providers that will take care of the hiring process from A to Z. As a small firm I do not currently have the revenue to outsource my HR requirements so over the summer I started the recruiting process myself. The first step was for me to research and decide where I can post my job. I started shaking the family and friends trees by creating a position description and sending out emails to my network. In those emails I requested that my friends and family share my job opening within their own network so I can maximize the ripple effect. The State of Maryland and the State of Virginia both have free job posting websites that employers can utilize, this was  also a great resource. Indeed also allowed me to post the job and communicate with applicants for free. Finally, I signed up for a 7 day trial on and posted the job there. I also posted the job on The Westmoreland Group website, LinkedIN Page, and Instagram. 

2. Communication 

I get over 100 emails per day between The Westmoreland Group, my new client National Science Foundation, personal emails, and my families emails! It was imperative to me during this time that I respond to all applicants for my open position. The initial communication between a prospective employee and a company sets the tone for the relationship. I wanted to be a responsive employer even if I knew the applicant was not a fit for the position. Once the resume’s and cover letters started coming in I knew I would find the right applicant but I had to trust the process. I pre-screened about 100 resumes and finally narrowed the list down to 15 candidates that I wanted to interview. 

3. Interviews

Since I had time constraints I set up 30 minute phone interviews and most actually happened over the weekend because of my schedule. I was grateful that the candidates were flexible enough to have a job interview over the weekend. I printed out all the resumes and prepared questions for each candidate. I went through the standard interview – background on the position, questions about the candidate, questions from the candidate, and finally review salary and security requirements. Going through 5 – 6 interviews back to back makes for a long Saturday. 

4. Job Offer

Once I prioritized the candidates after I completed most of the interviews I decided it was time to make a job offer. My first offer made was accepted! The position I was interviewing for required a security clearance so I actually continued to interview while the application was processing. Once the interim clearance was granted to my top candidate then I concluded my interviews. I contacted every candidate that I interviewed to let them know the results of the hiring process and to ask them to keep in touch for future job opportunities. 

5. Benefits 

Every benefit has a cost and the next step was for me to count the cost of the benefits I planned to provide to my new employee. This required coordination and communication with my trusted partners related to Health Insurance, Retirement Planning, Life Insurance, Health Savings Accounts, Dental Insurance, and Accounting and Payroll. I had to make sure I was compliant with all State and Federal employment laws. New hire paperwork had to be filled out and forwarded to my payroll manager. 

Happy Recruiting,

Sophoria Westmoreland

Image by vishnu vijayan from Pixabay

My Favorite Things – 2020 Edition

When I purchase products that I love I don’t generally do product reviews, even when the manufacturer requests a review from me over and over again – I will do better.  Thinking about the upcoming holiday season I thought I would pen a blog about products that I recommend and have purchased and used in 2020. Since this blog can live somewhere on the internet forever and ever this is my way of writing a product review that will live in perpetuity. My goal is to only include items that are currently still available for purchase so that my readers can enjoy them as well.

Musee Relaxation Bath Bomb Trio ( $30 

2020 has been a HELL of a year, am I right? Trying to relax during uncertain times is not easy but these bath bombs always help me to relax and unwind. Musee also has other products that I haven’t tried yet but I probably will in the future. I highly highly highly recommend. 

iPad Air – 3rd Generation ( $599 

When it became clear that this pandemic was going to last for a while I knew that watching Netflix from my iPhone while I telework wasn’t going to be sustainable. Besides freeing up my phone during the workday this iPad has been great for connecting with family and friends while staying home to stay safe. I highly highly recommend. 

Panjore Lychee Jar Candle ( $30 

According to the website this candle has notes of panjore lychee, cassis, & juicy asian pear, out of those 3 notes I have only ever heard of one of them. I first received this candle a few years back as a gift from my good friends from college. First, I love pink! Second, I love the scent because it is EVERYTHING! Third, the jar is so pretty that it is reusable.  I highly highly highly recommend. 

Felt Letter Board ( $25 

We all knew something was going to appear on this list from consumer giant Amazon so the link above is a generic one. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this board. I use it in my office to write out my financial goals so I can see it everyday as a reminder to press towards that mark and meet my goals. It comes with a huge array of letters and fun symbols so your creativity can soar. I highly recommend. 

Dreamy Long-Sleeve Cotton Pajama Set ( $78 

These days pajamas are no longer just a nighttime look and these super soft pajamas are part of the reason – you will want to stay in them all day. I have been a fan of J.Crew since about 2005 but had become uninterested in the brand in the past 3 years until I recently saw these in an advertisement. Note: J.Crew is always always always going to have some sort of sale and they do it big for Black Friday so wait and get 30/40/50/60 percent off and usually free shipping. 

Customizable D.O.G. Tee ( $25 

This year we adopted a dog and he has become a wonderful 4-legged friend. Since he is older (7) and male and stubborn I don’t get to dress him in tutus or put pink ribbons in his hair – sigh. I was so delighted when I came across this company on Instagram and found this cute t-shirt that he actually sleeps in so I call it his pajama tee. Black Lives Matters. Go Vols. 

Celebration Masks ( From $5.99 

Celebrations have been different this year and some have been cancelled all together. I have attended some well thought out socially distanced celebrations this year and I am grateful for the care and planning consideration of the hosts. The cute mask in the picture I actually ordered as a favor for a baby shower from a seller on Etsy called mamabijou – it was soft, cute, and kept all the guests safe.  

Shilpey’s Donuts ( Local in Houston, Texas 

Almost every morning in high school I ate these donuts on the way to school, it almost became like a tradition. Half dozen glazed – HOT (from the OG location on Ella). I don’t live in Houston anymore but I visit often and Shipley’s Donuts is always on the list of places I stop. I highly highly highly highly recommend. Yum Yum Yum. 

The Home Edit Containers ( From $8.99 

Over the past 2 years our pantry has become a free for all, buy groceries and just stick them in where you can and close the doors quick! The first pandemic project that I completed this year was organizing the pantry and now everyday (sometimes twice a day) I go into the kitchen and open the pantry and just stand and smile.  I did go overboard and had to return many items to The Container Store but the final product was worth a few trips to Clarendon. 

ONE: Personally She T-Shirts ( From $25 

Anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you, and this is one friend and business that I continually support. Since the owner is my college friend and my line sister in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Alpha Psi Chapter we have many things in common and her line of t-shirts express our bougieness, dope style, and HBCU education. 

Happy Shopping! 

-Sophoria Westmoreland