The update comes after a recent study analyzing industry gaps for women-owned businesses revealed that women-owned businesses are underrepresented or substantially underrepresented in the federal marketplace. The updated list will now support agencies in allocating set-asides for WOSB and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) across more industries,.
WOSB Program Expansion
The industries being added to the list are part of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), with the number of industries eligible for the WOSB Program rising from 444 to 759. That is an increase of 70%, with the changes effective immediately.
There is now a much broader range of industries for contracting officers to offer restricted-competition contracting opportunities to SBA-certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs. These include temporary help services, home health care services, electronic computer manufacturing and air transportation support.
Relief for America’s Women Entrepreneurs
The SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said: “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.
“Small business ownership is an important pathway to independence and generational wealth building, and 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.”
How to Apply to the WOSB Program
If eligible, the SBA’s WOSB Program enables women-owned businesses to compete for federal contracting set-asides while still allowing them to compete for contracts under other socio-economic programs. So far, over 4,800 women-owned small businesses have been certified by the SBA to participate in the WOSB Program.
To apply for certification, first check the eligibility requirements and then follow the on-screen instructions in the WOSB section of the SBA website.