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SBA issues new regulations for women-owned small business federal contracting program

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration published Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program regulations that will provide a free, online certification and eligibility application process for women-owned small businesses and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses. The timeline for implementation of changes to SBA’s the program has been delayed to accommodate those affected by the current pandemic.

Starting July 15, SBA will begin to implement changes consistent with the Small Business Act as amended in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2015. In addition to the certification requirement for firms seeking contracts set-aside for women-owned small businesses and for economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses, the regulations detail certification options for applicants and require authorized third-party certifiers to notify applicants of their fees and the option to use SBA’s free online certification process.

Keep some important timelines for firms in mind.

The current self-certification process will remain available for firms until Oct. 15, 2020, in

Between now and July 15, women-owned small businesses must download their documentation, currently housed in the Women-Owned Small Business Program Repository, from

On July 15, firms can begin submitting applications for initial processing, and on Oct. 15, SBA will begin issuing decisions on certification.

The regulations detail important changes to the certification process, including the following: allows participation from firms certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center of Verification and Evaluations, provided they meet all eligibility requirements; confirms the continued participation of approved third-party certifiers; eliminates the self-certification option from, effective Oct. 15, and adopts a $750,000 net worth standard when assessing economic disadvantage for individuals in the 8(a) Business Development Program. Additionally, funds invested in official retirement accounts are excluded from the analysis of an economically disadvantaged individual’s personal net worth in both the women-owned small business and 8(a) Programs. It makes the economic disadvantage threshold and analysis consistent for economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses and 8(a) Program participants.

The new women-owned small business program regulations will make it easier and more efficient for contracting officers to set aside and make awards to firms certified as women-owned small businesses and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses and will better empower agencies to meet the 5% federal contracting goal for women-owned small businesses.

To learn more about how the SBA supports women entrepreneurs, visit

Submitted by Small Business Administration.


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