A company learned the hard way that just because their business is majority-owned by a woman, it doesn’t mean they are a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) in the eyes of the SBA. The question is one of both ownership and control.
The case is SBA No. WOSB-113. In December 2016, Joint Information Network (JIN) submitted an offer for a contract to provide software engineering and database services in support of the U.S. Navy Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC). The contract was to be awarded directly to a WOSB on a sole-source basis. The contracting officer (CO) awarded JIN the $30 million contract in January 2017. The contract period for performance ended April 17, 2020, but, as of this decision, the contract was not closed. When JIN submitted the offer, it was a partnership owned 60% by Ms. Jihong Jin and 40% by her father, Dr. Yahne Jin, per a partnership agreement from April 2016. The partnership agreement also stated that no partner could enter into a contract for JIN without the approval of the other partner. In other words, while Jihong was the majority owner, she and Yahne had to agree in order to have JIN sign any agreements.
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