Women in Business: It’s Worth Being a WOSB
If women’s history in labor and business is any example of past entrepreneurial challenges that have been overcome, then 2017 should expect nothing less than great advances by women-owned businesses creating more opportunities for themselves. Government contractors recognize the benefits of having a small business designation and while we are only in the third month of the year, we are already seeing a spike in interest for companies to become registered as WOSB.
Registering your Company as WOSB
To be eligible for the WOSB/EDWOSB designation, businesses must meet a list of requirements including being 51% unconditionally and directly owned by women who are U.S. citizens, a woman must hold the highest officer position and run the day-to-day operations as well as make the long-term decisions for the business. The SBA takes small business designations very seriously, so be sure your firm meets the eligibility requirements otherwise falsely representing your company as WOSB can result in serious repercussions. Once your company is registered in SAM.gov as a WOSB/EDWOSB, you’ll be eligible to win any contracts set aside or sole sourced only to WOSBs.
Increasing Women-Owned Small Business Opportunities
The government has made recent efforts to increase opportunities to WOSBs, including but not limited to, expanding eligible industries in which WOSBs/EDWOSBs are significantly underrepresented (from 83 industries in April 2011 to 113 in March 2016) and passing the recent final rule to allow contracts to be Sole Sourced to WOSB/EDWOSBs. But how can WOSBs take more control in creating more opportunities for themselves? How can WOSBs earn more of the $38.1 billion set aside for non-WOSBs last year – or better yet, how can WOSBs redirect more of the $409.6 billion that wasn’t set aside last year to WOSBs?
The answer lies in the numbers – because circumstances for a WOSB set aside contract rely heavily on two or more WOSBs expected to submit an offer, the more businesses registered with WOSB designation, the higher chance of a contract being set aside for award to a WOSB/EDWOSB. Another strategy WOSBs can take advantage of is becoming a contractor on a government contracting vehicles such as the GSA Schedules Program which is one of the highest-earning contracting vehicles for WOSBs.
The WOSB Federal Contracting Program
Today, women-owned small businesses remain a minority within many government contracting industries, despite programs in place to increase federal spending to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs). The WOSB Federal Contracting Program provides equal access to federal contracting opportunities for WOSBs and EDWOSBs and also allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts (those less than $6.5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and less than $4 million in the case of all other contracts) to these groups. Additional information on how the government reserves contracts for WOSBs can also be found in our previous WOSB blog. Let’s review a few of last year’s federal contract spending figures:
- $453.9 million set aside for WOSB/EDWOSB contracts in 2016
- $38.6 billion total set aside for small businesses in 2016
- $409.6 billion in federal contracts with no set aside in 2016
2017 has already proven to be a vocal year for women as we continue to see support from agencies celebrating Women’s History Month through their circulation of accomplishments and contributions women have made to our country. Make it a WOSB month and get your registration in March.
For more information on WOSB/EDWOSB registration, be sure to check the full list of SBA’s eligibility requirements. Additional questions can be sent to Winvale’s team of WOSB experts. Contact us today to learn how Winvale can help eligible entities become registered WOSBs or EDWOSBs.
About Ashley Young
Ashley Young is a consultant in Winvale’s Government Contract Services Department. Prior to joining Winvale, she served as part of an international team developing a customized satellite system for a major Middle-Eastern oil company. Ashley is a member of the National Honors Society of Geography, Gamma Theta Upsilon. In 2012 she received her Bachelor’s degree in International Studies with a European Area Studies Certificate from Frostburg State University where she served as Design Chair for the Global Business Club.