On May 1, 2015, the Small Business Administration (SBA) published proposed rules in the Federal Register to allow woman-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) to be eligible to receive sole-source awards under the WOSB program set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations (13 C.F.R. 27.101).  These changes are mandated by § 825 of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Currently, contracting officers can only restrict competition to WOSB and EDWOSB firms. In other words, contracting officers may set aside a procurement for competition among WOSB or EDWOSB firms, but cannot award a sole-source contract under the program.  Adopted pursuant to the NDAA, the proposed rule would permit contracting officers to award sole-source contracts under the WOSB program if the contracting officer cannot identify two or more WOSBs or two or more EDWOSBs, but can identify one WOSB or one EDWOSB that can perform the work at a fair and reasonable price.

This rule may apply to contracts with values up to $6.5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and up to $4 million in the case of non-manufacturing contracts.

The new proposed rules are consistent with the trend of expanding the WOSB program that has been happening for the past several years.  Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted to the SBA by June 30, 2015.

More information, including information about how to comment on the proposed rule.