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Oles Morrison

SBA Increases Women-Owned Small Business Opportunities

An interim rule, with immediate effect, will amend regulations to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (“SBA”) Federal Contract Program, allowing for increased access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. This change comes as a result of the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) signed in January 2013. (For more on the NDAA, see previous postings on Title VIII of the act and the impact of the act on the SBA.)

The interim rule implements Section 1697 of the National Defense Authorization Act and removes the statutory limitation on the dollar amount of a contract that women-owned small businesses can compete for under the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned small Business (EDWOSB) program. Previously, the anticipated award price for the contract for WOSB/EDWOSB could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts. Now, Contracting officers may set-aside contracts under the WOSB/EDWOSB Program at any dollar level, as long as the other requirements for a set-aside under the program are met. The hope is that the change will assist agencies in meeting the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.

The SBA is currently working on the changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations to reflect this rule.

The rule can be accessed at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-07/html/2013-10841.htm and comments can be submitted on or before June 6, 2013, at www.regulations.gov, identified by the following RIN number: RIN 3245-AG55.