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SBA Announces Changes to Contracting Program to Help Women-Owned Businesses Compete for Federal Contracts

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SBA Announces Changes to Contracting Program to Help Women-Owned Businesses Compete for Federal Contracts

By TiffaniC, SBA Official
Published: January 22, 2013 Updated: December 30, 2013

Are you a woman-owned business looking to get a slice of the more than $400 billion dollar federal contracting pie? Under the new National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, the SBA will make changes to its Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program to help women-owned small businesses get more federal contracts and help the federal government meet and exceed its statutory five percent women’s contracting goal.  

How Will the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 Affect Women-Owned Small Businesses?

Prior to the new law, the anticipated award price of a contract for women-owned (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB) could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts. The new law removes these thresholds for WOSBs and EDWOSBs allowing them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations or restrictions to the value of a contract. 

The law also requires the SBA to conduct another study to identify and report industries underrepresented by women-owned small businesses. As a result, more eligible women-owned businesses may be able to participate in SBA’s Women’s Federal Contract Program and compete for and win federal contracts.

How Do You Know If You Are Eligible for the Women’s Contracting Program?

To be eligible for the program, you must meet the following criteria:

Third Party Certification and Self-Certification

Every firm that wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. There are four approved third-party certifiers that perform eligibility exams: El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Contracting Opportunities for Women-Owned Businesses

The WOSB Program identifies eighty-three four-digit North American Industry Classification Systems (NAICS) codes where WOSBs are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented. Contracting officers may set aside contracts in these industries if the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price and the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract.

About the Author:

Tiffani Clements

SBA Official

I'm a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of Communication & Public Liasion and the media liaison for SBA's Office of Government Contracting.


Thanks for the pointers --- great to see the SBA helping women get a piece of this business. There are also opportunities for women to get grants and financial help from private companies and non-profits, such as Cartier, Amber Grants, microfinancers and more. Worth looking into!
Love to see the continuous empowerment of women by the SBA. Some people do not realize, but women own 30% of the small businesses in America. Excellent article. Thanks
It is a great announcement for women-owned business. It is good to note that the threshold has been removed. Now the women could grab more contracts and bigger ones too.
Where do we see the RFQ's I am already a certified woman owned business by Women's Business Enterprise National Council and also an approved WOSB Tell me where to go to see if our digital print/promo capabilities are a match for any requests. That sounds really great
Thanks for the information Tiffany. Large corporations are requesting ONLY for Third Party Certifications to recognize WOSB and not self-certification. There is a fee charged to the small businesses to obtain Third Party certifications.
Tiffani, Thank your for this "valuable" information. My wife is starting a new business venture and I will definitely be passing this information on to help her. I just hope she passes the eligibility requirements.
I am new to the community and a brand new business. Other than registering in SAM as a woman owned business, are there other government registrations that I should be completing? I do not qualify for SBA 8a as this is my first year.
This is just one more avenue that women can assert their business prowess to build a life for themselves and their families. Those who are tech savvy, will reap the benefits. If anyone out there needs to build their online presence or sharpen their business and technology acumen, I would love to help them go after more opportunities like this. Do check out the business and consulting services we offer  This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices (http://www.sba.gov/community) for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you. Best of luck to everyone going after bigger federal contracts!
It is long overdue that the laws have been adapted here ....
Hi, I've completed the re-registration process to convert my data to SAM. Will my previous WOSB infomation be automatically incorporated into S.A.M. or will I be required to hire a 3rd Party Certification firm to start over again?


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