Guest Post: WOSB Program Expansion Affects All Federal Contractors

By: Judy Bradt, Summit Insight

Revisions to the Federal Woman-owned Small Business Program require attention, and possibly action, by every business involved in Federal contracts. Here’s what happened, why it matters, and what to do next.

Whether your business is large or small, prime or sub, woman-owned or not, these changes can affect your business. 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 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 web site 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 were 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? Your business might now be eligible for the program now. You could upload documents to self-certify, or apply for certification through any of of the third-party certifiers, immediately. You can gget details from the Small Business Administration’s web site, or set up a meeting with the WOSB specialist in your SBA District office, or meet with a counselor at your local Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, or Procurement Technical Assistance Center to find out more.

Is your company is 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 WOSB’s 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 at 2-3 pm 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.

Judy Bradt is the founder of Summit Insight and a long-time partner of Global Services. This post originally appeared on and has been used here with permission.