Are you a woman-owned business looking to get a slice of the more than $400 billion dollar federal contracting pie? If so, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has great news for you! In Fiscal Year 2010, the federal government awarded more than $17.46 billion dollars in contracts to women-owned businesses! The SBA also implemented a new contracting tool—the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program—in February 2011, to help get more federal contracts into the hands of women-owned businesses and to help the federal government meet and exceed its five percent women’s contracting goal.
Now for more good news! The SBA has just approved four organizations to act as Third Party Certifiers to help certify women-owned businesses to participate in women’s contracting program.
Third Party Certifiers-Who Are They?
If you are a woman-owned business seeking assistance with third party certification, you can contact the following organizations:
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – www.ephcc.org
- National Women Business Owners Corporation - www.nwboc.org
- US Women’s Chamber of Commerce - www.uswcc.org/certification
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council - www.wbenc.org
These organizations are the only organizations approved by the SBA for third-party certification at this time and small businesses using these organizations are still subject to the same eligibility requirements to participate in the women’s contracting program.
Eligible women-owned businesses can also self-certify and upload their required documentation into the program’s repository using the instructions provided on SBA’s Web site at: www.sba.gov/wosb.
How Do You Know If You Are Eligible for the Women’s Contracting Program?
You may be wondering, "How do I know if I am eligible for this program?" You are eligible for the program if your answer is yes to the following questions:
- Is my business 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women?
- Am I a U.S. citizen?
- Is my business considered to be small according to SBA’s size standards? To view the various size standards for individual industries, take a look at SBA’s Table of Small Business Size Standards by North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) industry on SBA’s Size Standards Web page at: www.sba.gov/size.
- Does my business meet the criteria of being “economically disadvantaged”, which is determined by specific financial requirements set forth in SBA’s program regulations?
Contracting Opportunities for Women-Owned Businesses
SBA’s women’s contracting program has identified more than 300 six-digit NAICS codes where women-owned businesses are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented. Under this new program, contracting officers at federal agencies may now set-aside or reserve contracts in these industries for women-owned businesses. This new program is a win-win for everyone because more contracts will get into the hands of women-owned businesses, which will ultimately help to create and retain jobs and therefore revitalize the nation’s economy and the program will go a long way in helping federal agencies meet and exceed the women’s federal contracting goal.
For more information about the Woman-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program, please visit www.sba.gov/wosb.