As of February 4, 2011, women-owned small businesses (WOSB) can begin taking steps towards participating in a new federal contracting program that is aimed at expanding their federal contracting opportunities. Back in 2000, a study found that WOSBs were receiving merely 2.3% of the $200 billion federal contracts awarded annually—a far cry from the 5% goal projected by the federal government. While the process for increasing opportunities to small women owned business has been slow, this month the initiative has taken major steps. With this new initiative, referred to as SBA’s 8(m) program, contracting officers now have the capability to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible WOSBs or EDWOSBs (Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses). The WOSB Program identifies 83 four-digit North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) codes where WOSBs are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented. Starting July 2011, Contracting officers may set aside contracts in these industries if the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price, the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract and the anticipated contract price is not greater than $5 million for manufacturing contracts and $3 million for other contracts.
Are you eligible?
Every firm that wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. During the ramp up period over the next several months, SBA is encouraging small business owners to review program requirements and ensure their required documents are uploaded to the repository. WOSBs also will need to update their status in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and the Online Representation and Certification Application (ORCA) to indicate to contracting officers that they are eligible to participate. To be eligible, a firm must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women—and these women must be U.S. citizens. The firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry. In order for a WOSB to be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” its owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the requirements set forth in the final rule.
If you need help with these new 8(m) WOSB certification requirements, Winvale has developed an 8(m) guideline package for sale, with services tailored to ensure submission accuracy. Don’t be left out – please give us a call!