Women’s Federal Contracting Program Gains Sole Source Authority

JANUARY 4, 2015 

Repost from Bizmonthly.com Posted in: NEWS

Women-owned businesses racked up a huge win in mid-December when Congress passed the Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) sole source authority. Sole source authority, a critical tool to increase awards of federal contracts to women-owned businesses, was one of the few amendments to be included in the $577 billion measure.

In addition to adding sole source authority, the NDAA modifies the WOSB program in two ways. It requires WOSBs to be certified by either a federal agency, the SBA, state governments or third-party certifiers approved by SBA. (The legislation does not make clear how this impacts WOSBs currently registered in the program.)

In addition, the law accelerates the process by which SBA identifies which industries are eligible to participate in the program.

Much like other socio-economic programs, the provision will allow contracts of up to $4 million ($6.5 for manufacturing contracts) to be directly awarded to companies certified as WOSBs. A contracting officer will be able to award contracts through the WOSB program, if s/he “does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more [women-owned] businesses will submit offers,” and it can be awarded at “a fair and reasonable price.”

Barbara Kasoff, president of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), said, “WIPP has been a tireless advocate for improving the WOSB program, not just for read more