The!! NEW !!"Women Owned Small Business Preference Program" called the 8(m) program is a top priority for the Obama Administration and SBA.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Women-owned small businesses can begin taking steps to participate in a new federal contracting program on Friday, Feb. 4, 2011.
The new Women-Owned Small Business 8(m) Federal Contract Program will be fully implemented over the next several months, with the first contracts expected to be awarded by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011.
Based upon the analysis in a study commissioned by the SBA from the Kauffman-RAND Foundation the proposed rule identifies 83 industries (identified by 4 digit North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS codes) in which women-owned small businesses are under-represented or substantially under-represented.
The Rand Report is available to the public at http://www.Rand.org/pubs/technical_reports/TR442.
The Final Rule will set forth procedures authorized by the Small Business Act to help ensure a level playing field on which women-owned small businesses can compete for Federal contracting opportunities, while helping achieve the existing statutory goal that 5 percent of Federal contracting dollars go to women-owned small businesses.
In accordance with the statute, it will authorizes a set-aside of Federal contracts for WOSBs or economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs) where the anticipated contract price does not exceed $5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and $3 million in the case of other contracts, if certain other conditions are met.
The Final Rule will remove the requirement, set forth in a prior proposed version, that each Federal agency certify that it had engaged in discrimination against women-owned small businesses in order for the program to apply to contracting by that agency. The Final Rule allows WOSBs or EDWOSBs to self-certify their status or to be certified by third-party certifiers, including government entities and private certification groups. The first women-owned businesses to be certified under the new 8(m) program will have a head start because of the political pressure to give small business preference to women-owned businesses which has been building for years.
The first qualifiers will be in a particularly advantageous position for the following reasons: The Obama administration will highlight the significance of the
new program for obvious political reasons, not to mention the fact that the Bush administration did everything in their power to scuttle the program.
The 8(m) women-owned small business set-aside program will be known as the Women's Contracting Rule Program.
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