SBA Final Rule: Women-Owned Small Business and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Certification

This final rule will be effective on July 15, 2020.

The Small Business Administration (SBA or the Agency) amends its regulations to implement a statutory requirement to certify Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (EDWOSBs) participating in the Procurement Program for Women-Owned Small Business Concerns (the Program). The certification requirement applies only to those businesses wishing to compete for set-aside or sole source contracts under the Program, and to those seeking to be awarded multiple award contracts for pools reserved for WOSBs and EDWOSBs. Once this rule is effective, WOSBs and EDWOSBs that are not certified will not be eligible for contracts under the Program. Other women-owned small business concerns that do not participate in the Program may continue to self-certify their status, receive contract awards outside the Program, and count toward an agency’s goal for awards to WOSBs. For those purposes, contracting officers would be able to accept self-certifications without requiring them to verify any documentation. In this rule, SBA implements the statutory mandate to provide certification, to accept certification from certain identified government entities, and to allow certification by SBA-approved third-party certifiers. As part of the changes necessary to implement a certification program, this final rule amends SBA’s regulations with regard to continuing eligibility and program examinations. This rule also adjusts the economic disadvantage thresholds for determining whether an individual qualifies as economically disadvantaged. The new thresholds will be used for assessing the economic disadvantage of applicants to the 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program, as well as applicants seeking EDWOSB status.

This rule is effective on July 15, 2020, except for the amendments to sections 127.300, 127.304, 127.305, the addition of section 127.351, and the amendments to sections 127.400, 127.401, 127.403, 127.405, 127.504, 127.505, 127.603, and 127.604, which are effective on October 15, 2020. The addition of section 127.355 is delayed indefinitely and SBA will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing the effective date.

See the rule here.

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