Newsflash: The Final Rule Implementing SBA Certification for WOSBs Is Here!

Update 5/14/2020: Since this post was originally published, SBA’s website has clarified when SBA Certification will be available and when Self-Certification will end. The post has been updated to reflect this information.

On Monday, the Small Business Administration will publish a Final Rule updating the certification methods for businesses applying for and participating in the Women-Owned Small Business program. The new Rule will also impose new thresholds for demonstrating economic disadvantage, impacting applicants not only for the WOSB program, but also the 8(a) Business Development program.

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The Basics: Socioeconomic Sole Source Awards

Just last week during a Govology webinar on Women-Owned Small Businesses, one of the attendees asked my colleague Haley Claxton and I an insightful question about the different standards for giving sole source awards to participants in various government programs. She wanted to know the difference between how contracting officers go about offering an 8(a) sole source award and a WOSB sole source award.

I had to admit, the practical, ground-level, nitty gritty business of how these awards are doled out doesn’t actually come across my desk that much.

So, let’s take a look, shall we?

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This Just In! SBA Provides Updates on WOSB Certification Changes

Last May, we reported on proposed changes to the SBA’s Women Owned Small Business Program Certification Process. Now, the SBA’s website includes updated information about what those changes may mean for existing and new WOSBs.

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SBA Implements New Rules for Women’s Business Center Programs

Recently, we wrote about the Congress’ Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2019 (H.R. 4405). Since the Act passed the House in October, SBA has independently codified improved rules for the Women’s Business Center Program.

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House Passes Bill Supporting Women’s Business Centers

In a slew of recent activity, H.R.4405, the Women’s Business Centers Improvements Act of 2019, sponsored by Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) and Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN), was one of many bills to pass the House of Representatives. Most notably, the bill doubles the available grant monies for each Women’s Business Center (“WBC”) and introduces an accreditation program for WBCs. These components, if approved, will help WBCs better serve women-owned businesses across the nation. This post will also highlight some aspects of this already helpful resource.

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OHA: Owners Did Not Have Enough Managerial Experience to Qualify Concern as a WOSB

SBA’s socio-economic set-aside programs mandate compliance with multiple control requirements. An important one stipulates that a woman owner of a WOSB (or a veteran for a SDVOSB or a disadvantaged owner for an 8(a) business) must have the “managerial experience of the extent and complexity to run the concern.”

But what, exactly, does this requirement entail? A recent OHA case provides some important guidance.

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Breaking News: SBA (Finally!) Proposes Regulation Extinguishing WOSB Self-Certification

In a move bringing to mind Etta James’ most popular refrain, SBA has proposed an amendment to its regulations which will require Woman-Owned Small Business program participants to be certified by the SBA or an SBA approved third-party certifier.

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