Back on May 11, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) issued its final rule on the requirement for Women-Owned Small Businesses (“WOSBs”) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (“EDWOSBs”) to be certified in order to compete for certain set-aside or sole source contracts.  85 FR 27650 (May 11, 2020).  As of October 15, 2020, WOSBs and EDWOSBs will need to be certified and can no longer self-certify when they are bidding on WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside procurements or sole source contracts.  Certification is not required when the procurement is not either a WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside or a sole source contract.

WOSBs and EDWOSBs have three options to get certified:

  1. Apply for certification through SBA;
  2. Submit evidence of certification by the Department of Veterans Administration Center of Verification and Evaluations as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (“SDVOSB”) or veteran-owned small business (“VOSB”); or
  3. Submit evidence of certification from an approved third-party certifier. There are four organizations approved to certify WOSBs and EDWOSBs: the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Women Business Owners Corporation, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Regardless of who issues the certification, the WOSB or EDWOSB must meet the same standards set forth in SBA’s eligibility regulations.  See, 13 CFR Part 137.

WOSBs and EDWOSBs seeking certifications from SBA can submit their applications through beta.certify.sba.gov.  SBA has posted video tutorials to assist contractors with the certification process and preparation checklists to assist companies with identifying the documents they will need to submit as part of the certification process, both of which you can view here.  There is also an Applicant User Guide that walks companies through the application process here.

Companies can apply for certification through the website now and SBA will start issuing certification decisions on October 15, 2020.

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