Changes to Women-Owned Small Business Certification
Throughout the United States, businesswomen benefit from Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification. This certification allows qualified small businesses to participate in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program, which the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) oversees. This program strives to give women-owned businesses the resources they need to succeed. In fact, the U.S. government aims to award at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to WOSBs each year.
What Has Changed?
On October 15, 2020, the SBA issued revisions to the certification procedure. These updated regulations intend to improve the customer experience and strengthen the management of the certification process.
Previously, WOSBs were able to self-certify and subsequently qualify for federal funds allocated for the program. Under the updated regulations, which originate from congressional changes presented in 2015, WOSBs seeking certification will need to visit a new website (beta.certify.sba.gov) and complete a free application. WOSBs with active contracts through the Federal Contracting Program will remain certified for the remainder of the current agreements. However, all WOSBs should visit beta.certify.sba.gov to apply for future Federal Contracting Program funding. SBA provides valuable additional resources, including FAQs, checklists, and a certification option chart. Note that for businesses previously self-certified, all documents uploaded on the old website (certify.sba.gov) are still available through March 31, 2021.
What Has Stayed the Same?
SBA continues to allow WOSBs to use approved Third-Party Certifiers (TPCs) to obtain certification. These TPCs are as follows: El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce, and Women's Business Enterprise National Council. Please be aware, however, that these groups have costs and fees associated with their services.
By joining the WOSB Federal Contracting Program, businesses can compete for federal contracts designated for the program. For an organization to be eligible for this program, it must be considered a small business (visit this site to learn about size requirements: https://www.sba.gov/size-standards). Women who are U.S. citizens must own and control 51 percent of the business. Also, women must influence long-term decision-making for the company, as well as handle day-to-day operations.
If you have questions about WOSB certification or how the Federal Contracting Program works, please contact us at Cotney Construction Law. Our attorneys can explain the requirements and ensure you take advantage of all the resources available to you.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.