Women owned businesses get more government opportunity
by BillGormley, Former Guest Blogger
- Created: June 22, 2011, 12:36 pm
- Updated: June 23, 2011, 9:13 am
Women-owned businesses have always had a place in the world of government contracting. Earlier this year, however, the Small Business Administration (SBA) implemented a new program that is designed to provide more contracting opportunities for women-owned businesses. As of April 1, 2011, agencies may now set aside contracts specifically for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. According to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) amendment, contracting officers are now allowed to:
- Restrict competition to WOSB or Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSB) in industries where women-owned businesses are substantially underrepresented.
- Restrict competition to EDWOSBs in industries where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.
Agencies can set aside these contracts on acquisitions where the anticipated contract award price (including options) is less than $6.5 million in manufacturing industries, or $4 million in all other acquisitoins. SBA has determined that women-owned small businesses are underrepresented (or substantially underrepresented) in more than 300 industries represented through the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). You can view those NAICS codes here: http://www.sba.gov/sites/defualt/files/files/gc_wosb_naics_grids.pdf Who is Eligible?There may be people reading this right now with companies that are eligible for additional contracts under this new ruling—and that is very exciting! It is important, however, to be sure you’re able to meet the women-owned small business requirements.To be eligible to benefit from a set-aside, a business must be:
- At least 51% owned and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens Considered “Small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry
There are two primary ways to certify as a women-owned small business: A firm can self certify its status or obtain third party certification.In order for a WOSB to be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” the company owners must also satisfy certain criteria. Specifically, a woman is presumed economically disadvantaged if she has a personal net worth of less than $750,000, her adjusted gross yearly income averaged over the preceding three years is less than $350,000, and the fair market value of all her assets is less than $6 million.Getting readyNew clauses implementing these new rules should be showing up soon in contract solicitations that fit the criteria. SBA's goal was to have the program ready for competition by women-owned businesses by the fourth quarter of this fiscal year- which ends September 30. So, in anticipation of these potential new opportunities, it's time to make sure you're ready for government business! If you are a WOSB or EDWOSB, make sure to take the administrative steps necessary to qualify your business for potential set-asides. Start now to gather the information and documentation you'll need so you are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities whenever they become available. Here are three quick to-dos:
- Register in Central Contractor Registration(CCR) as a WOSB or EDWOSB if you haven’t done this already.
- Upload the necessary documents to SBA’s WOSB Program repository that verify your eligibility as a WOSB. If your firm chooses to self-certify, you’ll be required to provide documentation, such as birth certificates, joint venture agreements, articles of incorporation, etc. Then, a contracting officer will have to ensure complete documentation is uploaded before awarding a set-aside contract under the WOSB program.
- Represent your status as a WOSB or EDWOSM in Online Representations and Certifications Application(ORCA)
Good luck!Additional Resources
- The ABCs of Government Contracting: Understanding the Acronyms
- Help for Small Businesses Looking for Government Contracts
- Government Contracting: Explaining the Process in 5 Steps
- Identifying and Capturing Government Year-end Dollars
- Top 5 Small Business Opportunities in Government for 2011
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