By Government Contracts Editorial Staff
The Small Business Administration has finalized a proposed rule (¶70,425.633) implementing a statutory requirement for certification of women-owned small business concerns and economically disadvantaged WOSBs participating in the Women-Owned Small Business Contract Program. As set forth in section 8(m) of the Small Business Act (15 USC 637(m)), the program authorizes contracting officers to restrict competition to eligible WOSBs or EDWOSBs for federal contracts in certain industries. Section 825 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (PL 113-291) amended the Act to grant COs the authority to make sole source awards to WOSBs and EDWOSBs and shorten the time period for SBA to conduct a required study to determine the industries in which WOSBs are underrepresented. Section 825 also amended the Act to require certification of WOSBs and EDWOSBs by a federal agency, state government, SBA, or a national certifying entity approved by SBA, to receive a set-aside award or sole-source contract under section 8(m). The certification requirement applies only to participants wishing to compete for set-aside or sole source contracts under the program.
Applies to Set-Asides. The rule implements the new requirements at Subparts C and D of SBA Part 127, Women-Owned Small Business Contract Program. Under the new rule, non-certified WOSBs will not be eligible to compete for program set-asides. SBA can provide certification, accept certification from certain identified government entities, or allow certification by approved third-party certifiers. WOSBs that do not participate in the program may continue to self-certify their status, receive contract awards outside the program as WOSBs, and count toward an agency’s goal for WOSB awards, and in this situation, COs may accept self-certifications without requiring the concerns to verify any documentation. Additional changes amend SBA’s regulations on continuing eligibility and program examinations.
New Thresholds. Amendments to SBA 124.104 adjust the thresholds for determining whether an individual qualifies as economically disadvantaged. The net worth of an individual claiming disadvantage must be less than $750,000. SBA will presume that an individual is not economically disadvantaged if the individual’s adjusted gross income averaged over the three preceding years exceeds $350,000. Also, an individual will generally not be considered economically disadvantaged if the fair market value of all assets exceeds $6 million. The new thresholds will be used for assessing the economic disadvantage of applicants to the 8(a) Business Development Program, as well as applicants seeking EDWOSB status. Part of the rule goes into effect on July 15, 2020, and the remainder becomes effective October 15, 2020. SBA is delaying the effective date for amended SBA 127.355, which addresses SBA oversight of third-party certifiers. For the text of the rule, see ¶70,425.662.
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