The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

May 2011Articles Commonwealth Contractor

Reginald Jones and Alexa A. Santora co-authored this article, which discussed the long-awaited Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contracting Program that went into effect on February 4. Rules governing the program, set forth in 13 C.F.R. Part 127, allow contracting officers to set aside contracting opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) in a manner similar to opportunities that are set aside for 8(a) Small Businesses, HUBZones and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns (SDVOSBs). The initial promise of the program was to provide more contracting opportunities to women-owned small businesses. However, as shown in this
article, a close reading of the final rule reveals a surprising lack of opportunity for women in the construction industry. Unfortunately, very few construction industries are targeted for inclusion in the program. Furthermore, construction contracting opportunities may only be set aside for women-owned businesses when the contract is $3 million or less, and when the small business owner can prove that she suffers from an economic disadvantage.

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