On September 11, 2015, the SBA issued a final rule authorizing federal agencies to award sole source contracts to eligible women-owned small businesses (WOSB) under the WOSB Federal Contract Program. The final rule is effective on October 14, 2015.
Sound boring? If you are a WOSB company interested in federal contracting, you should find it FASCINATING.
The WOSB Federal Contract Program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain requirements for competition solely amongst WOSB companies. Up until this SBA announcement, the WOSB Federal Contract Program was the only major small business federal contracting program without the authority to use sole source contracts. This put WOSB companies at a disadvantage compared with other diverse supplier categories when competing on federal contracts.
Tactically, this means WOSB companies have an additional tool in their marketing arsenal. Capture professionals can request the sole source set-aside, with certain limitations: for manufacturing contracts, the cap for the sole source is $6.5 million and for all other contracts the cap is $4 million. Also, the NAICS assigned to the solicitation must be on the list of 83 NAICS determined by the SBA to be under-represented in federal contracting.
The federal government has a goal of awarding 5% of federal contracts to women. So far, they haven’t met that goal.
Giddy up, WOSB companies. Giddy up.
For more information about Women Owned Small Businesses click here.