President Obama has expanded the opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) by initiating the WOSB Federal Contract Program, an initiate that allows contracting officers to set-aside specific federal government contracts for eligible WOSBs and Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs). In order to be eligible for these programs, the business must be operated, managed and controlled at least 51 percent by one or more women. Additionally, the WOSB owner must be a U.S. citizen and classified as a small business according to the SBA Standard Guidelines.
I have helped several women-owned businesses get certified under the small, minority, women or veteran programs. The various certification programs have been instrumental to women business owners by increasing their revenue streams, and allowing women to take advantage of opportunities that would not have been available to them. As part of the SBA efforts, they have also partnered with other governmental agencies to provide the training and tools necessary to help WOSBs and EDWOSBs become empowered, make connections, become well educated on government contracting, stimulate competition, grow their businesses and create more jobs.
According to Karen Mills, SBA Administrator, women currently own 30 percent of the 7.8 million businesses, which generate yearly $1.2 trillion in sales. Additionally, with the WOSB Federal Contract Program in place, SBA has seen an increase in lending to WOSB due to contract set-asides in over 300 underrepresented industries. The SBA is expecting these statistics to continue to increase.
There are other programs outside of the WOSB and EDWOSB programs that are instrumental to women business owners from the 8(a) Business Development and HUBZone to the Service-Disabled-Veteran-Owned Business Concern (SDVOBC) programs. The same eligibility rules apply as under the WOSB and EDWOSB programs but the details of the programs differ slightly:1. 8(a) Business Development: A one-time nine-year program that provides business development assistance by SBA and SBA’s resource partners. The program is divided into two phases: Years 1-4 development phase and Years 5-9 transition phase and is similar to a mentor-protege relationship.
2. HUBZone: This program is designed to help businesses that are either headquartered (or main office) is located in an underrepresented community to gain advantages for contracting opportunities.
3. Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Concern (SDVOBC): This program allows contracting officers the ability to create set-aside and sole source contracts for veteran business owners.
Any of these programs can be beneficial to women if they fall within the categories required by these programs. Certification is an excellent choice for women and helps both individual businesses ant the economy at large. Visit SBA for other Contracting Opportunities.
OPEN Cardmember Vernita Naylor worked with the General Services Administration (GSA) for 25 years in project and construction management and government contracting. She is the Founder/CEO of Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup), an integrated business resource company for over 11 years providing government contracting and business development services.
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