The Small Business Administration (SBA) has now released all the information needed for woman-owned small businesses to self-certify as eligible to participate in the federal government’s newest contract set-aside program.
The rules for the woman-owned small business (WOSB) contracting program were published in the Federal Register on Oct. 7, 2010. The rules are designed to get federal contracts to women-owned businesses in 83 industries. Specifically, the program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and economically disadvantaged WOSBs to help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.
The rules allow WOSBs to either self-certify themselves as eligible to participate or secure certification through an approved third-party. While the SBA has not yet approved any third-party certifiers, WOSBs may now take steps to self-certify.
The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) recommends that you take these steps to qualify for the program:
- Familiarize yourself with the Compliance Guide for WOSB Program 02.2011.
- Determine whether your firm qualifies as a WOSB or an economically disadvantaged woman owned small business (EDWOSB), and then fill-out the appropriate certification forms: WOSB Certification Form – OMB Approved or EDWOSB Certification Form – OMB Approved. Be sure to assemble and compile all necessary documentation called for on the forms.
- Register in Central Contractor Registration (CCR) as a WOSB. (Note: Effective Feb. 22, 2011, CCR has added four new women-owned business types in support of the SBA WOSB program. These are: Women-Owned Small Business, Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business, Joint Venture Women-Owned Small Business, and Joint Venture Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business.) (Additional Note: CCR is currently experiencing a delay in processing new registrations and updates. If your renewal is affected, CCR will extend your expiration date by sixty (60) days. CCR is working to resolve the backlog by the end of March.)
- Register your WOSB status in Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA). (Note: Necessary changes in ORCA to allow for WOSB registration are not yet made; these changes are now estimated to be made in April 2011.)
- Establish an account in SBA’s General Login System so that you may upload your certification form and any documentation. You can familiarize yourself with the GLS by reviewing GLS Screen Shots – SBA WOSB Program – 02.2011, and you can set-up your account by clicking here.
The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center will keep all clients advised on the implementation schedule for this important new federal program. If you need assistance, feel free to contact your nearest GTPAC Counselor.