WASHINGTON – Women-owned small businesses will have greater access to federal contracting opportunities as a result of changes included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program.
“Today, women own 30 percent of all small businesses up from just 5 percent 40 years ago," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. " As one of the fastest growing sectors of small business owners in the country, opening the door for women to compete for more federal contracts is a win-win.”
The NDAA removes the anticipated award price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses to allow them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract.
Prior to the new law, the anticipated award price of the contract for women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts.
The Women’s Federal Contract Program allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for certified companies and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to women-owned businesses.
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.
The SBA is working with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy under the President’s Office of Management and Budget on the implementation including changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
Every firm that wishes to participate 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. Additional information and links about approved third-party certifiers are available at www.sba.gov/wosb.
To qualify, a firm must be at least fifty-one percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards. To be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” a firm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the program regulations.
For more information on the Women-Owned Small Business Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, please visit www.sba.gov/wosb.