In our last entry, we discussed how a small business can determine whether or not they meet the criteria for a women owned small business (WOSB). Today we’ll discuss the 83 NAICS codes identified in the ruling and how they are being used in the program.
As you may have already read, the WOSB program has identified 83 NAICS codes where women owned small businesses are either underrepresented or substantially underrepresented as recipients of government contract awards. These codes span a pretty wide range of industries, including various construction, technology and service related industries. A full listing of the applicable NAICS codes can be found here. These NAICS codes were identified through a study which examined the “disparity ratio” between WOSBs utilized in Federal contracting for a particular NAICS code and WOSBs available for such contracts in that same NAICS codes. If the ratio was 0.8 or less, WOSBs are considered underrepresented. Since the law requires that a study be conducted to identify the codes, there is no appeal process to designate additional NAICS codes as underrepresented.
In order for a contract to be eligible for the WOSB set aside program, it must meet the following criteria:
• The NAICS code assigned to the solicitation must be one of the industries in which the SBA has designated that WOSBs are substantially underrepresented. For Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs), the code assigned must be one of the industries in which WOSBs are underrepresented.
• The rule of two must apply (contracting officer has reason to believe two or more WOSBs will submit an offer).
• The anticipated award price cannot exceed $5 million for manufacturing contracts or $3 million for all other contracts
• And according to the contracting officer’s estimation, the contract can be awarded at a fair and reasonable price.
By specifically limiting competition for these set aside contracts to WOSBs only, the 8(m) program will help the Federal Government meet its goal of awarding 5% of its prime contracting and subcontracting dollars to women owned small businesses and level the playing field for these businesses to better compete and grow.
While this program will certainly require some adjustment and may even change as it is implemented, we are optimistic about the changes and opportunities it will present for women owned small businesses. There is a LOT of information to digest however. While we wait for the full details to be released on Friday, check out the SBA’s “Compliance Guide to the WOSB Program”. It’s quite a read, but many of the questions we had about the program were answered within this document.
Remember, you need to be properly registered in CCR and ORCA before you can even consider your eligibility for the WOSB program. Contact US Federal Contractor Registration at #1-877-252-2700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1-877-252-2700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting to make sure your registration is in order so you’ll be ready to take advantage of these set aside contracts once the program kicks off.