On May 1, 2015, the Small Business Administration (SBA) published a proposed rule to implement Section 825 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2015. That section of the NDAA included language which grants Contracting Officers the authority to award sole source contracts to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) in addition to the current authority to set-aside acquisitions for these businesses. Notably, unlike other small business socio-economic categories, WOSB/EDWOSB set-aside/sole source awards will still only be available for certain NAICS codes where women are underrepresented (for EDWOSBs) or substantially underrepresented (for WOSBs). The contracts, including options, cannot exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing and $4 million for all others.
Another significant change to the program is that WOSBs and EDWOSBs must be certified by a Federal Agency, a State government, or a national certifying entity approved by the SBA. However, SBA has said that this requirement will be promulgated by separate rulemaking and will not impact this new authority. In other words, WOSBs/EDWOSBs who are currently self-certified will still be eligible for sole source awards when this new rule goes into effect. Comments are due by June 30, 2015. The complete rule can be accessed at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-05-01/html/2015-10331.htm
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