Archive for October, 2010
Remember when we wrote back in March about the work being done to promote contracting opportunities for women and minorities in small business? While those initiatives were focused here in New York State, they coincided with SBA’s initial proposal in February to account for the under-representation of women business owners in federal contracting.
Well this month, the SBA has made its rule official: to implement a women-owned small business (WOSB) contracting program. Because the federally-set minimum of 5% contract allocation to WOSBs has not yet been met, the program will offer the tools and support needed to make up for this deficiency. Astoundingly, 83 different industries have been identified (by this RAND study) in which WOSBs are under-represented or substantially under-represented.
There are some noteworthy provisions of the new rule:
- “Women-owned” is defined as 51% ownership and control of the business by a female US citizen. The firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry.
- The final rule removes the requirement, set forth in a prior proposed version, that each federal agency certify that it had engaged in discrimination against women-owned small businesses in order for the program to apply to contracting by that agency.
- The proposed rule allows women-owned small businesses to self-certify as “WOSBs” or to be certified by third-party certifiers, including government entities and private certification groups. WOSBs that self-certify are required to submit a robust certification verification, to complete the certifications at the federal Online Representation and Certification Application (“ORCA”) Web site, and also to submit a core set of eligibility-related documents to an online “document repository” to be maintained by the SBA.
You can read the full run-down of the final rule components here: PDF
SBA will begin a 120-day implementation process for the program. Contracts should be available in early 2011.
You may know that the Canisius College Women’s Business Center has taken increased measures in the past year to help women in business become certified and obtain contracts, particularly with our certification and contracting webinar series. We look forward to continuing this necessary focus on contract procurement opportunities for women-owned business and working with the SBA as it implements this crucial program.
What do you think about the final rule? Have you experienced the certification and contracting process? Leave a comment.