Women-Owned Small Business sole source contracts have moved one step closer to becoming a reality.
Today, the SBA issued a proposed rule implementing the WOSB sole source authority contained in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The relative speed with which the proposed rule was issued suggests that WOSBs could begin receiving sole source awards later this year.
The proposed rule provides that EDWOSBs may receive sole source awards in industries designated by the SBA as “underrepresented” by women. WOSBs may receive sole source awards in industries designated as “substantially underrepresented.” The industry-by-industry limitations are the same as those applicable to competitive EDWOSB and WOSB set-asides.
Under the proposed rule, an agency may make a sole source award in an appropriate industry where: (1) the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more EDWOSBs/WOSBs will submit offers; (2) The anticipated award price (including options) will not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for other contracts; (3) the EDWOSB/WOSB is responsible; and (4) in the estimation of the contracting officer, the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price.
The proposed rule allows the SBA or the contracting officer to protest the prospective awardee’s EDWOSB or WOSB status. A competitor, however, cannot file a formal EDWOSB or WOSB status protests in regards to a sole source award.
The SBA is accepting comments on the proposed rule until June 30, 2015. After the comment period closes, the SBA will review and respond to the comments and issue a final rule. And once the final rule arrives, WOSB sole source contracts may soon follow.