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Good news for women-owned small businesses

A new change in Small Business Administration regulations will allow for greater representation of women running businesses.

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The Small Business Administration (SBA) released the updated list of industries eligible for reserved federal contracting under the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program (WOSB Program), reflecting a 70% increase.

This significant increase seeks to reverse the historical underrepresentation of this segment of the population, which was exposed through a study commissioned by the SBA that reflected how women-owned businesses are "underrepresented or substantially underrepresented" on the federal market in hundreds of North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) industries.

SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzmán noted:

President Biden came into office with a commitment to put equity at the heart of everything we do, and advance reforms that open the doors of opportunity and prosperity for every entrepreneur.

“The pandemic disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs who were challenged by early access issues to financial relief and disruptions in childcare, among other issues. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan and actions of the Biden-Harris Administration, we have invested billions of dollars in relief to women entrepreneurs. And we are committed to doing more. This new rule expanding the WOSB Program will help more women seize potentially hundreds of millions of dollars more in federal procurement opportunities across 92% of all federal small-business contract spending,” Casillas Guzmán highlighted.

Likewise, the official indicated that since there are more women owners of small businesses, a route is being built that facilitates their independent work and promote the growth of generational wealth.

“This change will help to further clear that path for more women entrepreneurs and reverse decades of inequity, discrimination and underinvestment that have held back America’s women entrepreneurs for far too long,” she said.

Increase in Industries Eligible for the WOSB Program

Thanks to the study that the SBA carries out by law every five years, in which companies where women are not adequately represented at the federal level are identified, this year the number of industries eligible for the WOSB program increased from 444 to 759, which represents a 70% increase. 

“These changes are effective immediately and apply to new solicitations. The expansion of the program will provide a broader range of industries for contracting officers to offer restricted-competition contracting opportunities to SBA-certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs.  Some of these additional industries include Temporary Help Services, Home Health Care Services, Electronic Computer Manufacturing and Air Transportation Support, ” the SBA noted. 

The New List

With the SBA's new industry list encompassing NAICS codes, which account for 92% of all major small business contract spending, more opportunities open up.

The updated list will support agencies in “allocating set-asides for WOSB and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) across more industries, potentially resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional set-aside opportunities for women entrepreneurs,” the SBA highlighted. 

Click here to access the list of eligible NAICS industries.

About WOSB Program

More than 4,800 women-owned businesses have participated in this program, which benefited in fiscal year 20 with resources of more than $27 billion in federal contracts.

This program also guides women owners so that they can access various contracts under other socioeconomic programs in which they are also eligible. After obtaining the certificate from the SBA, the companies are included in this list. 

The certification process for WOSBs and EDWOSBs changed in 2020. The eligibility requirements to qualify as a WOSB or an EDWOSB are fully defined in Title 13 Part 127 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

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