Government Contracts SBA Proposes Certification Requirements for WOSBs
Friday, June 14, 2019

SBA Proposes Certification Requirements for WOSBs

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

The Small Business Administration is proposing to amend its regulations to implement a statutory requirement to certify 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 WOSBs and EDWOSBs to be certified by a federal agency, state government, SBA, or a national certifying entity approved by SBA, to be awarded a set-aside or sole-source contract under section 8(m) of the Act. The certification requirement applies only to participants wishing to compete for set-aside or sole source contracts under the program.

Set-Aside Prerequisite. The rule would implement the new requirements at Subparts C and D of SBA Part 127, Women-Owned Small Business Contract Program. Once the rule is finalized, non-certified WOSBs will not be eligible to compete for program set-asides. 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. COs would be able to accept self-certifications without requiring the concerns to verify any documentation. Under the rule, SBA could provide certification, accept certification from certain identified government entities, or allow certification by approved third-party certifiers. Additional changes would amend SBA’s regulations on continuing eligibility and program examinations. Finally, the rule proposes to amend SBA 124.104(c) to adjust the economic disadvantage thresholds for determining whether an individual qualifies as economically disadvantaged for participation in the 8(a) Business Development Program. This change would make these requirements consistent with the economic disadvantage requirements for firms seeking EDWOSB status. Comments on the proposed rule are due July 15, 2019. For the text of the rule, see ¶70,425.633.

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