Small Business Administration designed WOSB program to permit federal agencies and government officers set aside 5% of prime contracts for businesses that are owned/controlled by women or economically disadvantaged women. It was implemented in 2011 with the purpose to create significant contract opportunities for businesses that meet the eligibility criteria for the respective type of small business. After the process of women-owned business certification, including economically disadvantaged, you can benefit from many advantages that come with the program.
Companies that are 51% owned and controlled by US citizen women can have access to many new business opportunities with federal agencies. This is a great possibility which impacts the growth and strengthening of an enterprise.
Back in 2015, Congress announced that in the near future they hoped to enable sole-source contracts and certification for this category of small business. However, the certification process can be very discouraging due to the long list of required documents. SBA has authorized third-party certifiers to ease the proceedings, currently only four TPCs including:
- El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
- National Women Business Owners Corporation
- US Women’s Chamber of Commerce
- Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
Congress is working to improve and ease some of the difficulties in order to enable both contracting officers and WOSBs that are interested in doing business with federal government. However, while the procedures of the certifications are becoming simpler in order to strengthen the small business contracting programs, there are other challenges that women-owned small business concerns encounter.
On October 2017 the U.S. Government Publishing Office issued a notice in the Federal Register regarding the North American Industry Classification System Code updates for WOSBs. The purpose of the update is to make the U.S. Office of Management and Budget contemplate on NAICS code revision for 2017. There are twenty-one new industries combined and reclassified in the NAICS 2017 and split from NAICS 2012. The changes affect eight industries that are appointed for use under economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. The new code reduced the number of four-digit and six-digit industry groups eligible for use under this category of set-asides and left eligible six-digit NAICS industry category codes for EDWOSBs unchanged.
To identify industries that are eligible for set-asides under the WOSB Program, the Small Business Act required the SBA Administrator to systematically conduct studies in order to determine the industries in which small business concerns owned and controlled by women are underrepresented in Federal contracting. For this reason, SBA issued the update notice for the revision of NAICS code of 2017, so that it can align with the program.
The document was posted on the GPO website and is available to download here.