New Opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses in Government Contracting
Women own roughly twenty percent of all small businesses in the United States, but less than five percent of federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses. To address this disparity, the Biden administration has made it a priority to further expand the women-owned small business Federal Contracting Program, which authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible women-owned small businesses (WOSBs).
The eligibility requirements to qualify as a WOSB are set out in Title 13 Part 127 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). In brief summary, in order to be eligible for the WOSB Federal Contracting program, a business must:
- Be a small business according to Small Business Association (SBA) size standards (https://www.sba.gov/size-standards ),
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens, and
- Have women manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions for the business
Participating in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) WOSB Program helps women-owned businesses compete for federal contracting set-asides, while still competing for contracts under other socio-economic programs for which they may be eligible. The benefits of this program are real. Nearly five thousand women-owned small businesses have been certified by the SBA to participate in the WOSB Program. In 2020, the federal government awarded $27.14 billion in federal contracts to WOSBs.
Recently, the SBA released an updated list of industries eligible for reserved federal contracting under the WOSB Program, reflecting a 70% increase. If you do business in an industry the was previously ineligible for set-asides, you may be pleasantly surprised to find new opportunities available to you. Just a few newly-eligible industries include:
- Temporary Help Services
- Home Health Care Services
- Electronic Computer Manufacturing
- Air Transportation Support
The updated list of eligible NAICS industries can be found at https://www.sba.gov/document/support–qualifying-naics-women-owned-small-business-federal-contracting-program.
SBA’s free online certification process for WOSBs is available at beta.certify.sba.gov.
Our firm can answer questions and provide legal guidance to women-owned small businesses that wish to take advantage of these programs. We also can assist those who wish to form a new WOSB. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410) 489-1996.