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Federal Certification Changes

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is moving forward with the proposed changes to their Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Woman Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) programs.  Back in March we wrote about the slow progress of these changes initially announced in 2015. In May, the SBA shared the official timeline for the changes.

The most important change is that SELF-CERTIFICATION in the WOSB and EDWOSB program is going away as of 15th of October 2020. After that date, a more formalized certification process will available on certify.sba.gov. The SBA would like currently certified WOSB/EDWOSB businesses to download their information from the repository before July 15th. Starting on that date, businesses will be able to resubmit applications for initial processing. The SBA will start issuing determinations on those applications on October 15th.

WOSB or EDWOSB certifications issued by the SBA approved 3rd party certifiers – the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC), US Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) – will still be accepted. The changes there are that 3rd party certifiers need to notify applicants of their fees and share that the SBA has a free online certification process. 

The SBA will also now grant WOSB or EDWOSB status to eligible women owned businesses who are certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center of Verification and Evaluations.

Specific to the EDWOSB program, the SBA is aligning the personal net worth (PNW) standard (which was previously $250,000) with the 8(a) program standard of $750,000. The change also established that retirement funds in an official account will be excluded from the analysis of a person’s PNW for both the EDWOSB and 8(a) program. In simple terms, the retirement funds, which still need to be reported, will be deducted form a person’s PNW upon review. (e.g. $375,000 PNW with $45K in retirement funds would be reviewed as $330,000.)

Beyond the retirement funds being excluded from a person’s PNW, there are no other changes to the 8(a) program at this time.

To learn more about the WOSB/EDWOSB program, visit the official SBA program web site: https://www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-assistance-programs/women-owned-small-business-federal-contracting-program.