New Rule Sets Aside Billions for Women-Owned Small Business Contracts

Posted by Robert Kelly on Jan 27, 2011 9:28:00 AM

After an eleven-year debate, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has recently set forth a final ruling designed to expand federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs).  On October 7, 2010, the SBA published this Final Rule to be effective February 4, 2011.  On that future date, qualifying WOSBs will be afforded significant advantages in the competition for government contracts.  Ultimately, the SBA hopes 5% of all Federal contracting dollars buy goods and services provided by WOSBs.

This presents a phenomenal opportunity for WOSBs.  In the 2010 financial year the U.S. government spent over $535 billion on contracts (Source: usaspending.gov).  This means the SBA’s new ruling could facilitate the diversion of around $27 billion worth of federal business to WOSBs per annum.

To qualify for a piece of this contracting set-aside, firms must meet explicit requirements.  The SBA has outlined the following criteria as their basic, working definition of a Woman Owned Small Business.  First, the firm must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women, and be primarily managed by one or more women.  Additionally the women must be U.S. citizens.  The firm also must qualify as a “small” business and be deemed by the SBA to be “economically disadvantaged.”  The SBA outlines its size and disadvantage requirements in its Federal Register of Rules and Regulations.  The SBA allows WOSBs to self-certify their status or be certified by third-party certifiers, however the SBA reserves the right to confirm eligibility through a program examination.  Regardless of a firm’s method of certification, however, the SBA will require firms to submit proof of eligibility.

WOSB Set-aside ChecklistThe Final Rule identifies 83 specific industries in which Women Owned Small Businesses are underrepresented.  Qualifying firms in these industries will be given priority when bidding on government contracts where the anticipated contract price does not exceed $5 million for manufacturing contracts, or $3 million for all other contracts. 

As February 4th approaches, the SBA is currently educating and training federal contracting officers and creating the database that will be used to track eligible WOSBs.  The SBA is preparing for what they anticipate to be a rush of candidate firms seeking confirmation of eligibility and new preferential sales contracts. 

If you believe your firm might qualify for a share in this set aside under the basic definition, download our free eGuide, “Women Owned Small Business Self-Assessment Checklist.”  It contains a checklist designed to assess eligibility under the SBA’s detailed qualification framework as well as a full list of the 83 industries the SBA has targeted.  And as always, if you have any further questions or are interested in better availing your small business of government set aside programs, please contact us.  

See Follow On Article.

Topics: Government Contracts, Government Sales

    Subscribe via E-mail

    Latest Posts

    Federal Contractor Resources

     GSA checklist

      GSA Contract renewal Training



    Follow TurboGSA

    Blog Directory