SBA Proposes Certification Rule for Women-Owned Small Businesses

Seeking Comments by July 15

Release Date: 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Release Number: 

19-31

Contact: 

Tiffani.Clements@sba.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration published a proposed rule that will provide a free online application process for women-owned small businesses to be certified and eligible to participate in the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Program or access contracts as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB).

The SBA is seeking public comments on the proposed rule by July 15, 2019.

To submit comments, visit: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/05/14/2019-09684/women-owned-small-business-and-economically-disadvantaged-women-owned-small-business–certification.

The following proposals are included in the new rule:

  • Allow participation from an expanded list of federal and state entities with existing certification programs, and confirm the continued participation of approved third-party certifiers.
  • Eliminate the self-certification option consistent with the Small Business Act as amended within the  National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015, Public Law 113-291, and require approved third-party certifiers to notify applicants of its fees and the option to use SBA’s free online certification process.
  • Adopt a $750,000 net worth standard when assessing economic disadvantage for EDWOSBs and continuing eligibility for the 8(a) Business Development Program.

The proposed rule will bolster the number of federal contract awards to WOSB and EDWOSB-certified businesses and better empower agencies to meet the 5% federal contracting goal for women-owned small businesses.  Currently, contracting officers must review a contract awardee’s documentation to verify an applicant’s WOSB and EDWOSB eligibility. By establishing a transparent, centralized, and free certification process, the SBA aims to provide contracting officers with reassurance that firms participating in the WOSB Program are eligible for awards and encourage them to set aside contracts for women-owned small businesses.

 

About the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Program

To learn more about how the SBA supports women entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.