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The Women-Owned Small Business Program is Your Firm Ready?

Jan 14, 2011

The US Small Business Administration recently published the final rule regarding the long overdue Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program, and it will be effective February 4, 2011. This means that in 83 North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes where women have been underrepresented or substantially underrepresented, if a contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers, and if the award price does not exceed $3 million ($5 million in manufacturing), and if the contracting officer believes she can award the contract at a fair and reasonable price, the contract may be set aside for restricted competition among women-owned small businesses.


The details are still being worked out, but according to the Small Entity Compliance Guide to the WOSB Program, the SBA does not plan to certify firms as it does for some of its other programs.  It appears that self-certifications with supporting documentation and certifications from yet-to-be-announced third party certifiers will both be acceptable.  However, one thing is quite certain: the first step will be for women-owned firms to get registered to do business with the Federal Government in the Central Contractor Registry and provide additional information about their firms in the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS).  The DSBS is a database contracting officers often use to find potential vendors for procurements under $25,000 because it is easily searchable and includes keywords, capabilities, and references. 


A DSBS search on January 14, 2011 for woman-owned small businesses located in Wyoming returned only 228 firms, out of 1,237 total small businesses in Wyoming.  This means that only 18% of the Wyoming small businesses that are ready to do business with the Federal Government are women-owned.  Join the Wyoming Entrepreneur Procurement Technical Assistance Center’s campaign to increase this number by over 50% in 2011, from 228 to 350!  Getting registered in CCR is free, and so are our services.  Contact Natasha Stahla in our Cheyenne office, Jeff Sneddon in our Casper office, or me in Thermopolis.  We’ll walk you through every step of the registration process.  We’ll also be ready to help you document your women-owned small business status as soon as additional guidance becomes available. 


The SBA has confirmed that it will be sending at least one representative to the 2011 GRO-Biz Conference & Idea Expo that will be held February 22-24 in Evanston.  This will be a great place to learn more about the WOSB program and other government contracting opportunities for your business.  I'll be there, and I hope you will too! 


Are is your business in CCR & DSBS?  What did it take for you to get through the process?


Amy Lea


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