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In 2000, Congress enacted a special small business contracting program for Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) by creating section 8m of the Small Business Act. This was enacted in response to the long time failure of government agencies to meet the 5% WBE federal procurement goals established in the 1980s. After 10 years of deficient studies, lawsuits and regulatory stalling, the implementation of that program was finally launched by the Small Business Administration on February 4, 2011.
The purpose of the program is provide additional contracting opportunities for women owned small businesses. This creates a restricted competition venue for WOSB to bid for direct federal contracts. This is NOT a subcontracting program. This is NOT a sole source set aside. It applies to:
Women Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB) can participate.
The woman/women disadvantaged owner(s) must own at least 51% of the business; The firm must be managed and controlled by the women owners. (Unlike the 8(a) program, the business may be operated on a part time basis if the owner controls and manages the business. This often happens with start-ups.) The business must be small as measured by SBA’s size standards; The applicant or applicants must be U.S. citizens.
Meets requirements for WOSB and Women applicants applying to the program must be found to be economically disadvantaged.
Only EDWOSB may bid on restricted competition contracts in categories where women are considered underutilized. Both WOSB and EDWOSB may bid on restricted competition contracts in categories considered substantially underutilized.
Contracting officers may designate a contract for this program if:
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