In 2000, Congress enacted a special small business contracting program for Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) by creating section 8m of the Small Business Act. This was enacted in response to the long time failure of government agencies to meet the 5% WBE federal procurement goals established in the 1980s. After 10 years of deficient studies, lawsuits and regulatory stalling, the implementation of that program was finally launched by the Small Business Administration on February 4, 2011.
The purpose of the program is provide additional contracting opportunities for women owned small businesses. This creates a restricted competition venue for WOSB to bid for direct federal contracts. This is NOT a subcontracting program. This is NOT a sole source set aside. It applies to:
- Federal prime contracts
- Limited to $3 million for Good and Services (Construction)
- Limited to $5 million per contract for Manufacturing
- Contract must be selected by agency/contracting officer for restricted competition • Restricted competition bids (2 or more bidders) • Only 83 NAICS categories apply
Who Can Participate
Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB) can participate.
Women Owned Small Business Defined
The woman/women disadvantaged owner(s) must own at least 51% of the business; The firm must be managed and controlled by the women owners. (Unlike the 8(a) program, the business may be operated on a part time basis if the owner controls and manages the business. This often happens with start-ups.) The business must be small as measured by SBA’s size standards; The applicant or applicants must be U.S. citizens.
Economically Disadvantage WOSB
Meets requirements for WOSB and Women applicants applying to the program must be found to be economically disadvantaged.
- The women's personal net worth is less than $750,000 after subtracting both the equity in the primary residence and the equity in the applicant business.
- The women’s Adjusted Gross Income averaged over three years does not exceed $350,000 per year.
- The women's personnel net worth, including her business and residence does not exceed $6 million.
Only EDWOSB may bid on restricted competition contracts in categories where women are considered underutilized. Both WOSB and EDWOSB may bid on restricted competition contracts in categories considered substantially underutilized.
How Contracts Are Designated
Contracting officers may designate a contract for this program if:
- The NAICS code is in an industry in which SBA has designated that WOSBs are substantially underrepresented. For EDWOSB underrepresented.
- The contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers.
- The anticipated award price of the contract does not exceed $5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and $3 million in the case of all other contracts.
- The contracting officer believes the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price.