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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.


This is wonderful news. By taking away the limits, it can increase the amount of business that good, qualified women-owned businesses can compete for. Many of our bond clients are construction companies and they have grown past the limits, which seems to punish them for being successful on only a job or two. Now they can grow to a much more sustainable size.
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. Also in the plans are they going to make the GSA contract a shorter form? Most WOSB and WBE's cannot afford the companies that charge thousands to do the paperwork on the GSA.. Would love to see reform there or a short form for underutilized companies.
Hi, for information on federal contracting opportunities visit the following page: http://www.sba.gov/content/federal-contracting-resources-small-businesses
In working for a woman-owned small business, this is very exciting news and will create great opportunities. Very exciting!
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.
Hello Tiffani, Thank you for sharing this information!! As a woman in the workforce it's very encouraging to see change when it comes to women as business owners!!
It's always wonderful to see when women entrepreneurs are encouraged.
These are great news, But what about residents with an allien status? Or what about people who just got a green card? Will this be applicable to them?
Hi, the eligibility requirements state that the women must be US citizens, but you can get in touch with the program via email with any additional questions: wosb@sba.gov


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