Critical Updates to WOSB Procurement Program

If you are women-owned small business in the federal contracting arena, please take a look at the following critical updates to the WOSB Procurement Program.

You Need to Know: WOSB Program Update
SBA Certify.gov siteThe WOSB procurement program website is undergoing a facelift. A new website, called SBA ONE, will allow for the electronic submission of SBA forms, as well as a streamlined location to monitor all certifications for your company including the repository. With the change, there are three things you need to know:
  1. All WOSBs will need to create a new login for the new system. The new website is actually an entirely new system and as such all WOSBs will need to create a new account and login (but not reload all documents – see next). The SBA is also asking that after creating a new account, all WOSB/EDWOSB companies submit new Form 2413 (WOSB certification) and/or Form 2414 (EDWOSB certification) electronically. Businesses should do this as soon as possible.
  1. The repository is being migrated, but is currently closed. This is important for two reasons: 1) your documents previously submitted should move to your new account and not require resubmission (except as mentioned above a new electronic Form 2413/2414); and 2) Contracting officers will not be able to view your repository documents for WOSB awards. Instructions for you to provide to a CO about how they can confirm your eligibility is available at the end of this document. This only impacts WOSB/EDWOSBs about to win EDWOSB or WOSB set-aside or sole source awards.
  1. The new site supports self-certification. Self-certification for WOSB/EDWOSBs remains an option until SBA finalizes new certification requirements. The website supports companies electing this option by allowing for the electronic submission of required documents. Third-party certifications can be uploaded as well.

SBA ONE, located at certify.sba.gov, will eventually house all program certifications, but is beginning with the WOSB program. Additional programs will be incorporated onto the site on the following projected timeline: 8(a) Business Development Program (Fall 2016), HUBZone Program (Spring 2017) and Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) (Spring 2017).

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 Information to Share with Contracting Officers
(Direct from SBA)

If you are working with a contract officer on a pending award requiring them to review your status, the following is information provided directly from SBA which you may share with contract officers.

Due to the system upgrade, access to the WOSB Federal Contract Program Repository will be temporarily unavailable for contracting officers (CO), starting on Wednesday, March 23 at 1:00 EDT.  This may be down for several weeks.   During this time, in order to comply with the WOSB Program requirements at 13 CFR 127.301 and FAR 19.1505(e) (specifying that a CO shall verify that an apparent successful offeror has provided all the required documents set forth in 127.300(e) to the WOSB Repository), SBA will review the Repository on behalf of a CO.

A CO may request that SBA review the Repository on their behalf by sending an email to wosb@sba.gov (link sends e-mail) with the following in the subject line:

“PENDING AWARD UNDER FAR 19.505(e) VERIFICATION REQUEST- SOLICITATION NUMBER [insert solicitation number].”

In the body of the email, the CO should provide the following: provide the apparent successful offeror’s DUNS, EIN, FIRM NAME, OWNER NAME; indicate whether the pending award is a WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside or sole source award; specify the NAICS code assigned to the procurement; and identify the State where the CO is located. Within 2 business days, SBA will perform the necessary check to determine whether the apparently successful offeror has filed all the required eligibility documents and provide the CO with an email response which either: (a) notifies the CO that all required documents have been provided or (b) identifies which documents are missing in order to allow the CO to file a status protest in accordance with SBA regulations and the FAR.

Emails for this information will be processed only for Contracting Officers.

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LEARN MORE
  • Upcoming Webinar:  WIPP is working to arrange for a special webinar with experts from the SBA’s Office of Government Contracting to further review the new site and re-registration process.  More details will follow.
  • If you have any questions about the certification program, or comments on improving the site, please email certify@sba.gov. More details on the transition of repository documents are available atwww.sba.gov/wosb.

Sole Source Authority for the WOSB Program is Official Today!

sole sourceWIPP has reason to celebrate with all women business owners. As of today, contracting officers now have the authority to award sole-source contracts to women-owned small businesses. This authority will level the playing field in the federal marketplace and provide additional opportunities for women entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

So how do you get a sole sourced contract? There are four questions to ask when considering if a contract can be awarded to a WOSB via sole source authority:

  1. Is the contract in a WOSB or EDWOSB eligible NAICS code?

The Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Procurement program is unique in that it is only applicable to contracts in certain NAICS codes. In addition some NAICS codes are open to all WOSBs, while some are only available to Economically-Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs). You can check if a contract’s NAICS codes are in the program on the SBA website www.sba.gov/wosb. Again, the NAICS code of the contract, not just your company, is important.

  1. Is the contract (including options) valued at $6.5 million or less for manufacturing contracts or $4 million or less for all other contracts?

Similar to other small business contracting programs, WOSB sole source contracts are limited to certain sizes. For manufacturing contracts (the 31-33 NAICS codes) that cap is $6.5 million, while all other contracts have a cap of $4 million. This is including all options on the contract.

  1. Can the contract be awarded to the WOSB or EDWOSB at a fair and reasonable price?

The law also requires that the contract can be awarded at a “fair and reasonable price.” This common term in federal contracting is described in the FAR – essentially the federal procurement rulebook.  Good news – if you are submitting pricing that is on the GSA schedule, it is already considered fair and reasonable.

  1. Lastly, in the determination of the contracting officer, is there a reasonable expectation that there is only one WOSB/EDWOSB that can perform?

The final requirement for a sole-sourced contract in the WOSB program is the contracting officer’s determination, through market research, that only one WOSB/EDWOSB can perform the requirement. Many people find this component especially difficult, however, it is important to note that agency-specific requirements may make your solution unique. Also, if it is determined that 2 or more WOSB/EDWOSBs can perform, the contract can be set-aside through the WOSB program.

If the answer to all four questions was yes – you have yourself a strong case for a WOSB sole source contract.

Keep an eye out for additional education from WIPP on sole source authority.  WIPP will be working with the SBA and OSDBU offices to help educate both women business owners and contract officers on sole source authority.

Don’t forget! If you are looking for federal contracting opportunities, make sure to get your business listed in WIPP’s National Directory of Women-Owned Small Businesses.