by Diane Kimbrell Howell
PTAP wants to make small business owners aware of a significant, and positive, change to the WOSB/EDWOSB Program: the number of industries has been expanded by over 30% (as measured by the addition of North American Industry Classification System [NAICS] Codes). On March 3, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) changed its rules for the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program in two ways: 1) They increased the number of eligible NAICS codes and 2) They dramatically increased the percentage of NAICS codes for WOSB compared to those for Economically-Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB).
The background on what prompted the SBA to make these changes is interesting. An amendment to the Small Business Act in 2014 mandated that a new analysis of industries be performed to assess where Woman-Owned Small Businesses are under-represented. The SBA asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to assist with the required study and it was published at the end of 2015. You can read an Article about the report and you can Read the full report using the links in blue.
The report is a valuable read for any small business doing Federal contracting, illuminating the factors that correlate with winning Federal awards. The report made it very clear that woman-owned businesses struggle to win Federal awards at an alarming disadvantage when compared to their competitors. As the only de facto NAICS-driven SBA contracting program, a positive corrective action comes in the expansion of the NAICS codes available for WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides. The industries covered by the combination of both programs increased significantly and there was a movement toward fewer codes being limited to the EDWOSB only. The table below compares the number of NAICS codes in the 2012 list put out by the SBA compared to the number of codes in the 2016 list.
| # of 6-digit
Only 21 codes were eliminated entirely from the program and with the exception of several codes involving paper product manufacturing, very few of the eliminated codes represent significant government contracting potential (e.g., 488111 Air Traffic Control). There are over 140 new 6-digit codes and most importantly for our PTAP clients here in New Mexico, many construction related codes are now in the program (along with new medical and education industry codes). The EDWOSB now includes waste management and some telecom industry codes.
As mentioned in our February 25th article in the news stream below, the SBA continues to gather feedback on the implementing regulations for changes to the WOSB/EDWOSB Program written into law in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA). Those of us in the industry await the final publication of the rules adding sole-source contracting authority to WOSB/EDWOSB firms as well as potentially removing the self-certification process.
If you are 51% woman-owned and have not looked into the WOSB/EDWOSB Program before, consider contacting PTAP for an appointment to assist you with how to apply so that you get ahead of the anticipated rush; if you are already certified (either self or third party) you should also contact PTAP to ensure your industry/primary NAICS code remains within the program when the 2016 codes go into effect.