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New Contract Opportunities Open Up Women Business Owners

NEW CONTRACT OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN OWNED BUSINESSES

If you are starting a business or if you are already in business, consider these business industry codes to increase your chances for contract opportunities.  Contracts have been set-aside for these industry codes. However, you must be certified as a woIf you are starting a business or if you are already in business, consider these business industry codes to increase your chances for contract oppoman owned small business (WOSB) or as an economically disadvantaged woman owned small business (EDWOSB).  See Contracts for Women Advocacy Member Discounts for assistance with certification and registration.

The WOSB Federal Contract Program includes 330 six-digit NAICS codes based on the 2012 list of NAICS codes. Each NAICS code is designated as either a WOSB or an EDWOSB. Only WOSB NAICS codes are eligible for WOSB contracts.  Only EDWOSB NAICS codes are eligible for EDWOSB contracts.

INDUSTRY CODES FOR NEW CONTRACT OPPORTUNITIES

SBA Announces New Contracting Program for Women Owned Businesses

WASHINGTON – Women-owned small businesses can begin taking steps to participate in a new federal contracting program on Friday, Feb. 4, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced today. The new Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program will be fully implemented over the next several months, with the first contracts expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011.

“Implementing the Women-Owned Small Business contracting rule has been a top priority for the Obama Administration and SBA,” said Administrator Karen Mills. “Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy. As we continue to look to small businesses to grow, create jobs and lead America into the future, women-owned businesses will play a key role. That’s why providing them with all the tools necessary to compete for and win federal contracts is so important. Federal contracts can provide women-owned small businesses with the oxygen they need to take their business to the next level.”

WOSB Federal Contract Program will provide greater access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The Program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.

On Feb. 4, SBA will release instructions on how to participate in the program, as well as launch the secure, online data repository for WOSBs to upload required documents, on its website.  SBA will also release an application to become an SBA-approved third party certifier for this program on that date. This will be the first version of the application. SBA welcomes comments and suggestions on this first version of the application.

During the ramp up period over the next several months, SBA is encouraging small business owners to review program requirements and ensure their required documents are uploaded to the repository. WOSBs also will need to update their status in the Central Contractor Registration
(CCR) and the Online Representation and Certification Application (ORCA) to indicate to contracting officers that they are eligible to participate. The General Services Administration is currently updating these systems and they are expected to be completed in April, 2011.

Similarly, the WOSB rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which is the companion to the SBA rule, is now going through final review, and is also expected to be issued by April. With these pieces in place, SBA expects to see the first contracts awarded through the program by the all-important fourth quarter, when the largest percent of federal contracts are awarded.

Every firm that wishes to participate in the WOSB program must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. At this time, SBA has not approved any third party certifiers. Regardless of their certification method, WOSBs must also upload required documents proving their eligibility to a secure online data repository developed and maintained by SBA.

To qualify as a WOSB, 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.

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, the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers for the contract and the anticipated contract price is not greater than $5 million for manufacturing contracts and $3 million for other contracts.

Each stage of implementation is part of SBA’s mission to make the Program efficient and user-friendly, and to ensure its benefits go only to qualifying WOSBs. SBA is excited to launch this new program to provide WOSBs with increased opportunities to compete for and win federal contracts, ultimately helping WOSBs create and retain more jobs.

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SBA Advocacy News Update

SBA Chief Counsel

As Acting Chief Counsel in the Office of Advocacy at the U.S. Small Business Administration, (SBA), Ms. Rodgers advances the views, concerns and interests of small business before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, federal courts and policymakers. She continues her role as Advocacy’s deputy chief counsel in which she coordinates and manages the daily operations and the statutory responsibilities of the office, including setting goals and standards for achieving Advocacy’s mission of encouraging policies that support the development and growth of small business. Furthermore, she coordinates presidential executive orders (EO) and congressional mandates as they affect the Office of Advocacy and is the lead on Regulatory Flexibility Act training and regulatory matters as they relate to EO coordination. Ms. Rodgers has been with the Office of Advocacy for 18 years. Prior to her role as deputy chief counsel, she was the Assistant Chief Counsel for Occupational and Industrial Safety, where she monitored safety regulations proposed by numerous federal agencies.

Over the past 21 years, Ms. Rodgers government service has included the Small Business Administration, the Domestic Policy Council at the White House and the Economic Development Administration at the U.S.  Department of Commerce.