On October 7, 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration published a final rule effective February 4, 2011, aimed at expanding federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses (WOSBs)
The Final Rule sets forth procedures authorized by the Small Business Act to help ensure a level playing field on which WOSBs can compete for Federal contracting opportunities, while helping achieve the existing statutory goal that 5 percent of Federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses. Some of the components of the Women-Owned Small Business Program include:
To be eligible, a firm must be 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The 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.
Based upon the analysis in a study commissioned by the SBA from the Kauffman-RAND Foundation (referred to as the Rand Report), the proposed rule identifies 83 industries (identified by 4 digit North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, codes) in which women-owned small businesses are under-represented or substantially under-represented. The Rand Report is available to the public at:
In accordance with the statute, the Final Rule authorizes a set-aside of Federal contracts for WOSBs or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) where the anticipated contract price does not exceed $5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and $3 million in the case of other contracts, if certain other conditions are met.
The Final Rule removes the requirement, set forth in a prior proposed version, that each Federal agency certify that it had engaged in discrimination against women-owned small businesses in order for the program to apply to contracting by that agency.
The Final Rule allows WOSBs or EDWOSBs to self-certify their status or to be certified by third-party certifiers, including government entities and private certification groups.
The Final Rule allows SBA to engage in program examinations to confirm eligibility of individual WOSBs or EDWOSBs.
Please see the following link for further details on qualifying for and and entering the program: