If you missed it, a big change happened in 2020 with WOSB and EDWOSB certifications. Self-certification (with documentation) became a thing of the past. The WOSB firms that previously self-certified were instructed to collect all relevant information previously submitted to certify.sba.gov and go through the SBA’s new certification process by applying and uploading the requisite documentation at beta.certify.sba.gov. You can click here to read about these changes on the SBA’s WOSB webpage. In addition to information about the new regulations and certification process, SBA states that “All WOSB firms need to take action in beta.certify.sba.gov in order to compete for WOSB Federal Contracting Program set-aside contracts.”
Govology’s research, however, shows that of the “self-certified” WOSB firms found in the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search, only 2%, on average, have completed the new certification process. Upon completing the new process, a WOSB firm’s SBA Profile page will show their status as “WOSB Pending” or “WOSB Certified” along with the certification date (see an example below).
Women Owned – SBA Certified:
- WOSB Certified?: [X] Yes [ ] No
- WOSB Certification Date: 11/24/2020
- WOSB Pending?: [ ] Yes [ X] No
There are a couple of major issues and new challenges facing WOSBs. First, many previously self-certified WOSBs will no longer be eligible for an award under WOSB set-aside contracts. But there is, potentially, more bad news. The low numbers of SBA-certified WOSB firms may hurt WOSB set-asides (at least in the near term) as contracting officials struggle to find two or more “SBA-certified” WOSBs when applying “the rule of two” to their market research efforts.
If you are a WOSB firm, here are a few tips to help you move forward.
- If you haven’t gone through the SBA’s new certification process and need assistance, contact your PTAC counselor.
- Encourage other WOSB firms to get their certifications processed. The more “SBA-Certified” WOSBs there are, the better the chances for WOSB set-asides.
- Once you are certified, learn how the sole source authority for WOSBs works as this may be an opportunity to get a sole source award if contracting officials can’t find two or more “SBA-Certified” WOSBs to justify a set-aside.