SBA rulemaking change will help reverse historic underrepresentation spanning hundreds of NAICS groups
The U.S. Small Business Administration published an updated list of eligible industries for federal contracting set-asides for the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program (WOSB Program) based on a recent study analyzing industry gaps for women-owned businesses. The study, commissioned by the SBA, showed that women-owned businesses are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented in the federal marketplace across hundreds more North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries.
The updated list will support agencies in allocating set-asides for WOSB and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) across more industries, potentially resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional set-aside opportunities for women entrepreneurs.
“President Biden came into office with a commitment to put equity at the heart of everything we do, and advance reforms that open the doors of opportunity and prosperity for every entrepreneur,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “The pandemic disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs who were challenged by early access issues to financial relief and disruptions in childcare, among other issues. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and actions of the Biden-Harris Administration, we have invested billions of dollars in relief to women entrepreneurs. And we are committed to doing more. This new rule expanding the WOSB Program will help more women seize potentially hundreds of millions of dollars more in federal procurement opportunities across 92% of all federal small-business contract spending. Small business ownership is an important pathway to independence and generational wealth building, and this change will help to further clear that path for more women entrepreneurs and reverse decades of inequity, discrimination and underinvestment that have held back America’s women entrepreneurs for far too long.”
Per the Small Business Act, the SBA conducts a study every five years to identify industries in which small businesses owned and controlled by women are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented in the federal marketplace. Based on the results of the commissioned study, the SBA will increase the number of WOSB Program eligible industries from 444 to 759, which represents a 70% increase. These changes are effective immediately and apply to new solicitations. The expansion of the program will provide a broader range of industries for contracting officers to offer restricted-competition contracting opportunities to SBA-certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs. Some of these additional industries include Temporary Help Services, Home Health Care Services, Electronic Computer Manufacturing and Air Transportation Support.
After consulting SBA’s WOSB Program industry list, federal procuring agencies elect whether to limit competition to certified WOSBs or certified EDWOSBs. SBA’s new industry list covers NAICS codes that account for 92% of all small-business prime-contract spending, representing increased opportunities as previously the list covered just 75% of that spending.
The list of eligible NAICS industries can be found at https://www.sba.gov/document/support–qualifying-naics-women-owned-small-business-federal-contracting-program [I]
About the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Program
Participating in the SBA’s WOSB Program helps women-owned businesses become eligible to compete for federal contracting set-asides while still allowing them to compete for contracts under other socio-economic programs if they are eligible. The SBA certifies women-owned small businesses for the WOSB Program and publishes the WOSB industry list.
Over 4,800 women-owned small businesses have been certified by the SBA to participate in the WOSB Program. In FY20, the federal government awarded $27.14 billion in federal contracts to women-owned small businesses.
The certification process for WOSBs and EDWOSBs changed in 2020. The eligibility requirements to qualify as a WOSB or an EDWOSB are fully defined in Title 13 Part 127 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). SBA’s new, free online certification process for WOSBs and EDWOSBs is live at beta.certify.sba.gov.
To learn more about how the SBA supports women entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.