Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 05/26/2020

Small Business Act Update: Major Changes Coming to Women-Owned Small Business Certification Requirements

After five years of deliberation, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently issued a final rule to end self-certification for Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (EDWOSBs) for restricted acquisitions.

Starting Oct. 15, 2020, WOSBs and EDWOSBs will be ineligible for set-asides and sole source contract awards unless their status has been certified by the SBA or an SBA-approved certifying entity. Once certified, all WOSBs and EDWOSBs must attest annually to the SBA that they remain eligible, submit to a full program examination every three years, and notify the SBA within 30 days of any material changes affecting their eligibility.

The final rule also changes the EDWOSB economic disadvantage criteria to make it consistent with that of the 8(a) Business Development Program (i.e., $750,000 net worth, a $350,000 gross income standard, and a fair market value threshold of $6 million).

Fortunately, the SBA is making its new certification program available online, free of charge starting July 15, 2020. Given the high demand expected for the SBA’s free certification service, it is recommended that interested firms submit their WOSB and EDWOSB certification applications as early as possible. The SBA will be providing updates and instructions for its online application as they become available.

And finally, until the SBA begins issuing certification decisions starting Oct. 15, 2020, the current self-certification process remains available through certify.sba.gov.

The certification requirement applies only to contracts that are sole source or set-aside specifically for WOSBs or EDWOSBs participating in the SBA’s procurement program for WOSB concerns. Consequently, WOSB concerns can still self-certify their status, receive contract awards, and count toward an agency’s goal for awards for WOSBs that aren’t covered by the program.

For more information about this new final rule or the WOSB and EDWOSB program generally, please contact a member of Taft's Government Contracts team.

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