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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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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SBA Poised to Increase 8(a) Income and Net Worth Eligibility Standards

We recently discussed at length the SBA’s proposed rule to get rid of WOSB self-certification and revise some of the other WOSB certification rules. Well, it seems like SBA is crossing a lot of things off its to-do list, because in that same proposed rule, SBA also proposes to “to make the economic disadvantage requirements for the 8(a) BD program consistent to the economic disadvantage requirements for women-owned firms seeking EDWOSB status” and to “eliminate the distinction in the 8(a) BD program for initial entry into and continued eligibility for the program.”

If the rule is approved, the dollar amounts for initial 8(a) economic disadvantage eligibility would increase quite a bit, making more people economically eligible. Read on for the details on this proposed change.

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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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GAO Highlights SBA Oversight Issues with WOSB Certification and Lack of Use of WOSB Set-Asides

This is our second blog on GAO’s recent report on SBA’s management of the Woman-Owned Small Business program. Here is our initial post.

In the report, GAO analyzes SBA’s oversight of the current certification program, and reports on its study of why contracting officers don’t use the WOSB set-asides as much as one might think.

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