WASHINGTON — Women-owned small businesses can begin taking steps to participate in a new federal contracting program today, the U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced. The new Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program will be fully implemented during the next several months, with the first contracts expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011.
“Implementing the women-owned small business contracting rule has been a top priority for the Obama Administration and SBA,” administrator Karen Mills said. “Women-owned businesses are one of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy. As we continue to look to small businesses to grow, create jobs and lead America into the future, women-owned businesses will play a key role. That’s why providing them with all the tools necessary to compete for and win federal contracts is so important. Federal contracts can provide women-owned small businesses with the oxygen they need to take their business to the next level.”
The WOSB Federal Contract Program provides greater access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. The program allows contracting officers, for the first time, to set aside specific contracts for certified women-owned small businesses and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.
The SBA released instructions today on how to participate in the program. A secure, online data repository for WOSBs to upload required documents is available at www.sba.gov/wosb. The SBA also released an application to become SBA-approved, third-party certifiers for this program.
To qualify as a WOSB, a firm must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards. To be deemed economically disadvantaged, a firm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the program regulations.
For more information on the Women-Owned Small Business Program or to access the instructions, applications or database, go to www.sba.gov/wosb.