PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Bethesda, MD, United States, 2010/12/17 - The SBA has finally implemented a program for certified women-owned small businesses (WOSB) to win set-aside contracts; WOSBs can greatly diminish competition and win these set-aside contracts by becoming certified. Fedmarket offers various products.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has finally implemented a set-aside program for women-owned small business. The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program was published in the Federal Register on October 7, 2010; Final Rule is effective February 4, 2011. This means that Contracting Officers may begin setting-aside/awarding solicitations for women-owned small businesses beginning on February 4, 2011.
The key aspect of the new program is that not only does a company have to be a small business and at least 51% owned by women but it also has to be certified according to the new federal regulation. The new program provides for two types of WOSB’s: (i) Women-Owned Small Businesses; and (ii) Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses. Each of the WOSB and EDWOSB has its own specific certification requirements. Currently, the only way to become certified is to meet a stringent set of self-certification requirements that include assembling a set of corporate ownership and financial documents that are then made available to federal contracting officers contemplating an award to certified women owned small business (The Final rule also provides for certification via third party certifiers, however the SBA has not identified any third party certifiers to date.)
What does this really mean for certified women-owned small businesses (WOSBs)?
If you are a certified WOSB, this means that your competition has diminished greatly. If a solicitation is set-aside for a WOSB, only certified WOSBs may submit a response/proposal to the solicitation. The contracting officer has to have offers from only two small business concerns that meet the WOSB eligibility criteria. A large businesses and/or non-certified small businesses would not be eligible to submit a response.
In the first stages of the new program a limited number of women owned businesses would have met the self-certification requirements.
Contracting officers will be anxious to make awards to certified WOSBs because the federal government has never met its women owned contracting goals and it will be politically advantageous to make awards under the new program.
Contracting Officers will be seeking certified WOSBs; particularly in the early stages of the new WOSB program. Contracting officers will find certified WOSBs in two ways.
First, they will learn of certified WOSBs from sales calls made to them by certified WOSBs.
Second, they will go to the Federal government procurement website, FedBizOps (fbo.gov). FedBizOps is the federal government’s central repository for solicitations. Here, contractors may conduct searches for solicitations based on different criteria, amongst them, a search by “Set-Aside Code”. Presently, Set-Aside Codes include classifications such as: Competitive 8(a), HUBZone, Veteran-Owned Small Business, etc. Notably, a Women-Owned Small Business set-aside code classification does not presently exist. In the wake of the Final Rule, it is envisioned that the FedBizOps Set-Aside Code search field will be revised to include a “Women-Owned Small Business” search classification field. In other words, WOSB will finally be a Set-Aside classification at the federal-level.
What does this mean for WOSBs who have a WOSB certification through a private organization or at the State or Local Level?
Your WOSB certification through a private organization or from your State or Local government does not mean you are qualified for certification under the new SBA WOSB Program. Your certification may be valid at the State or local level, or per the specific private organization, however it is not presently applicable under the Federal WOSB Program.
You must certify and meet the eligibility criteria under the Federal WOSB Program, to be a WOSB under the Federal WOSB Set-Aside classification.
Fedmarket (fedmarket.com) offers services that provide a simple and easy way to obtain WOSB certification. Fedmarket’s services include a one-day, hands-on workshop, a do-it-yourself wizard, and a seminar on how to win WOSB set-aside contracts. Visit fedmarket.com and be among the first to self-certify and have the required document set ready for Contracting Officers.
WOSB 8(m) Seminars:
Self-Certify – Fedmarket 8(m) Workshop
Self-Certify – Fedmarket 8(m) Wizard
Self-Certify – Fedmarket 8(m) Full Service.