In summer 2020, woman-owned small businesses ("WOSB") and economically disadvantaged woman-owned small businesses ("EDWOSB") will be required to obtain a third-party certification to be eligible for set-asides under the Small Business Administration's ("SBA") WOSB Contracting Program.
The SBA expects to publish a final rule that enacts the statutory requirement––from the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act––on June 30, 2020, and will be effective 30 days later. Once the changes take effect, small businesses will no longer be able to self-certify as a WOSB/EDWOSB.
Note: In summer 2020, the WOSB and EDWOSB certification process will change. Self-certification will no longer be an option, and you will have to either certify through an approved third-party entity or go through SBA’s FREE online certification at certify.sba.gov. Refer to the Frequently Asked Questions and certification options table for more information.
New Applicants – Firms must be certified through the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE), or a third-party certifier to compete for WOSB set-aside and sole-source contracts.
Self-Certified Firms (with active contracts) – A firm that was eligible as a WOSB or EDWOSB at the time of offer for the contract is considered a WOSB or EDWOSB throughout the life of the contract. For the purposes of contracts (including multiple award contracts) with durations of more than five years (including options), a firm must get certified by SBA or an approved third-party certifier prior to the end of the fifth year of the contract.
Self-Certified Firms (with no contracts) – Self-certified firms with no active contracts need to get certified under the updated process to compete for WOSB set-aside contracts.
However – If the firm has been the subject of a status protest or program examination in the preceding two years, the firm will be considered certified the date the rule is effective. Their anniversary date for re-certification will be three years after the date of a positive status protest determination or program examination.
Third-Party Certified (TPC) Firms – Firms must re-certify three years after their most recent TPC certification.
8(a)-Certified Firms – 8(a) firms that are owned and operated by women can submit documentation of their ongoing 8(a) eligibility for their EDWOSB certification.
CVE-Certified Firms – Firms can submit evidence of their CVE and WOSB or EDWOSB ownership and control requirements to demonstrate eligibility.
Currently, there are four SBA-approved third-party assessors. Small businesses who want to obtain a third-party certification should contact them directly about the process.