The Expanded WOSB Program – What You Need to Know

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© olly – Fotolia.com

This is a guest post by Judy Bradt of Summit Insight.

The federal woman-owned small business (WOSB) program has just been expanded once again. The most recent changes require attention, and possibly action, by every business involved in federal contracts. Your company could be affected whether you do business as a prime or a sub.

Once upon a time – 2011, to be specific – when the WOSB program was originally implemented, companies in 83 NAICS codes were eligible to participate. On March 3rd, SBA published its new rule that, based on the December 2015 report by the Department of Commerce, a total of 113 industry groups are now eligible for federal contracting under the WOSB Program.

That simple statement encompasses four important changes.

  1. In the WOSB program as a whole, 36 NAICS codes were added – either to WOSB or to EDWOSB.
  2. 27 NAICS codes were dropped from the program entirely.
  3. Some NAICS codes stayed in the program but were moved between WOSB and EDWOSB.
  4. EDWOSBs are now eligible to participate in woman-owned set-aside or sole-source contracts in an additional 21 designated NAICS industry groups beyond the 92 NAICS industry groups identified for WOSBs.

If your company has been certified as WOSB or EDWOSB at any time before March 3rd, 2016, you need to know whether the new rules changed your program eligibility. If your company was excluded from the original WOSB and EDWOSB NAICS definitions, you need to know whether you’re included in the expanded program.

You want to ensure that you don’t overlook opportunities that are newly open to you. You also want to make sure that your company’s federal and supplier registrations, as well as your website and marketing collateral, reflect your company’s WOSB or EDWOSB certification under the most current rules.

Let’s be more specific. If your company is in any of the following situations, you need to act now to verify whether your EDWOSB or WOSB program eligibility has changed (for better or worse) under the new rules, and take action as appropriate.

  • Were you WOSB or EDWOSB before March 3rd, 2016? Check to see if your original qualifying NAICS codes are on the new WOSB or EDWOSB lists.
  • Did your woman-owned small business not provide services or products covered by one of the original 83 NAICS codes eligible for the WOSB program?
  • Is your company a large business? You already know that you need to include a small business subcontracting plan in every federal proposal on a contract estimated to be worth more than $650,000. The WOSB program changes matter to you because the WOSBs that you might already be working with might no longer fit the program eligibility definition. You might need to find new partners to meet your small business subcontracting obligations.

The other big recent change to the WOSB program was the final procedures put into place to permit sole-source awards. Here’s the thing with sole source: less than 3% of ALL small business prime contract dollars were awarded through sole source in 2014. Why? Because a federal sole source award represents a lot more risk and work for a contracting officer than most people realize.

We’ll be presenting the facts about WOSB sole-source, and what you can do to make it easier to win this special kind of contract, in a free webinar hosted by Judy Bradt and Summit Insight on March 31st from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT. Find out more here, and register today. Even if you can’t participate live, all registrants will get a link to the webinar recording and files.


About the author: Judy Bradt, CEO of Summit Insight, gives federal contractors the focus, skills and tools you need to transform your federal business and achieve the sales and partnerships you’ve always wanted. It’s easier than you ever imagined. Call her at 703-627-1074 or visit http://www.summitinsight.com and find out more.


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