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To help provide a level playing field for women business owners, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the women’s contracting program.
These contracts are for industries where women-owned small businesses (WOSB) are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). The SBA maintains a list of those eligible industries and their NAICS codes.
Joining the women’s contracting program makes a business eligible to compete for federal contracts set aside for the program. Firms can still compete for contract awards under other socio-economic programs they qualify for.
Starting on July 15, 2020, the certification process for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs) will begin to change as SBA implements Congress’ changes to the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program (WOSB Federal Contracting Program), as put forth in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
These new regulations make it easier for qualified small businesses to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program by improving the customer experience. At the same time, the SBA is strengthening oversight and maintaining the integrity of the certification process.
Once the new WOSB Federal Contracting Program regulations go into effect:
We will provide regular updates on this page.
The timeline for implementation of changes to SBA’s WOSB Federal Contracting Program has been moved to July 2020 to accommodate those affected by the current pandemic. Below are important timelines for firms to keep in mind:
SBA will provide a new, free online certification process for WOSBs and EDWOSBs.
SBA will allow participation from firms certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center of Verification and Evaluations, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
SBA will allow continued participation from businesses that utilize approved ThirdParty Certifiers (TPC) to obtain WOSB or EDWOSB certification.
SBA will eliminate the current selfcertification option from certify.sba.gov, effective October 15, 2020.
Further instructions for the new certification process will be detailed prior to July 15.
The new WOSB Federal Contracting Program regulations will make it easier and more efficient for contracting officers to set aside contracts for, and make awards to, firms certified as WOSBs and EDWOSBs.
The new WOSB Federal Contracting Program regulations were published in the Federal Register in May 2020.
These regulations detail changes to the certification process.
The current self certification process will remain available for firms until October 15, 2020,
Between now and July 15, 2020, certified WOSBs must download their documentation, currently housed in the WOSB Program Repository, from certify.sba.gov.
On July 15, 2020, firms can begin submitting applications under the new certification process for initial processing.
On October 15, 2020, SBA will begin issuing decisions on certification.
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