Women-Owned Businesses: Federal Contracting Incentives for Women in Small Business

“Madeleine Albright said ‘there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’ It follows that there must also be a special place in hell for women who do not accept the help of entities, programs, and benefits specifically purposed to promote women and diversity in the business world.” (Incentives to Being Woman-Owned by Angela Baker)

All business owners encounter challenges, but often women are confronted with obstacles and barriers their male counterparts won’t experience. Fortunately, the US Small Business Administration is on their side. For your reference, here’s a roundup of updates discussing SBA-led advantages and opportunities for two kinds of favored entities in Federal contracting: Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB):

Women Owned Businesses: Opportunities Knock, Can You Answer? (Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green PA)

“[The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program] now authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain government contract opportunities for competition exclusively between qualifying women-owned entities. These set-asides are for contracts in one of 83 different industries where women are underrepresented. Awards can go as high as $5 million for manufacturing or $3 million for services.” Read more»

A Potpourri of Small Business Program Changes (Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC)

“As with certain other set-aside programs, the Final WOSB Rule requires a business to satisfy certification requirements which can be met by self-certification or certification by SBA approved third-party certifiers. There are special requirements for each type of certification, and self-certification requires a more robust submission of company documents to the SBA for review than certification by an approved third-party certifier.” Read more»

SBA Implements Final Rule Authorizing Women-Owned Small Business Set Asides (McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP)

“A WOSB must be at least 51 percent unconditionally and directly owned by a U.S. citizen woman (or women). Also, a WOSB must be controlled by a U.S. citizen woman (or women), meaning that a woman controls the management and daily business operations of the business concern, holds the highest officer position, controls the Board of Directors, and otherwise demonstrates that she holds the decision-making power over the entity.” Read more»

How Will SBA’s Final Rule on Women-Owned Businesses Impact You? (Thompson Coburn LLP)

“Skeptical competitors will be able to challenge both the size and the eligibility of a firm claiming either status, and the SBA has the ability to conduct ‘examinations’ to confirm the validity of a firm’s status. When procurements are set aside for either WOSBs or EDWOSBs, large businesses may still participate as subcontractors or joint venturers, just as they currently do with 8(a), HUBZone or SDVOB prime contractors.” Read more»

New Women-Owned Small Business Regulations: What Do They Mean for Your Federal Contracting Business? (Venable LLP)

“SBA has recently become tougher in cracking down on contractors that misrepresent their status in connection with contract awards. Notably, SBA has issued a Compliance Guide for the WOSB Program that clearly warns contractors that misrepresentation of WOSB or EDWOSB status could result in suspension, debarment, civil liability under the False Claims Act, and even criminal penalties… In light of these developments, contractors that knowingly misrepresent their status do so at substantial risk.” Read more»

Significant Changes for Small Business Administration 8(a) Program (Jackson Walker)

“The revised rules add clarity to the factors that determine whether an individual is ‘economically disadvantaged.’ Specifically, a rebuttable presumption against a new applicant now arises if the applicant’s average Adjusted Gross Income (‘AGI’) for the 3 years preceding the application exceeds $250,000. For continued eligibility after being admitted to the 8(a) program, the individual average AGI limit for the prior three-year period increases to $350,000.” Read more»

SBA Proposed Rules On Business Integrity and Subcontracting Plans Will Significantly Affect Government Contractors (Venable LLP)

“On October 7, 2011, the SBA issued its proposed rule implementing the Small Business Jobs Act’s business integrity requirements… Specific elements of the proposed rule include: There will be an ‘irrefutable presumption of loss to the United States based on the total amount expended’ whenever it is determined that a concern ‘willfully sought and received’ the contract, subcontract, cooperative agreement, or grant reserved for small businesses (or other classifications, such as 8(a), service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone, and woman-owned small businesses) by misrepresentation.” Read more»

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