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Government Contracts & Construction Update - Small Business Administration Releases Final Rule for Women-Owned Small Business Set Aside Program   Print PDF

By Government Contracts & Construction

On October 6, 2010, the U. S. Small Business Administration ('SBA') issued a final rule providing for a new set-aside program for federal contracts for women-owned small businesses. The rule amends previously proposed regulations to implement a 2000 statute passed to increase federal contracting opportunities for women. The program restricts competition to eligible Women-Owned Small Businesses ('WOSBs') or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses ('EDWOSBs') for contracts in certain identified industries. Requirements of the program include:

  1. An eligible concern must be not less than 51% owned by one or more women who are 'economically disadvantaged' (EDWOSB). The requirement of 'economic disadvantage' may be waived in identified industries in which WOSBs are 'substantially underrepresented.'
  2. A WOSB is a small business owned or controlled by women (at least 51% owned by one or more women) and the management and daily business of the concern is controlled by one or more women.
  3. A contracting officer must have a reasonable expectation, in industries in which WOSBs are 'underrepresented,' that two or more EDWOSBs will submit offers or in industries where WOSBs are 'substantially underrepresented,' two or more WOSBs will submit offers.
  4. Anticipated contracts must not exceed $5 million for manufacturing contracts and $3 million in the case of all other contracts.
  5. The set-aside contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price.
  6. The WOSB must be duly certified by a Federal agency, State government or a national certifying entity as an EDWOSB or WOSB or the entity must self-certify and provide adequate documentation that it is an EDWOSB or WOSB.
  7. The regulations provide for penalties for misrepresentation of the status of the entity pursuing the set-aside contracts. The SBA intends to vigorously pursue ineligible concerns which seek to unlawfully take advantage of this program.

The Rules are effective February 4, 2011 and the Final Rule is available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2010/pdf/2010-25179.pdf

For more information or if you have any questions please contact Terry Murphy or Brad Reaves.