WOSB Self-Certification Changes

For years we have heard of the frustration from businesses and CO’s who believe that there should be a more formal certification for those claiming to be Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and it seems that those changes are about to take place.

The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), will re-write a portion of the Small Business Act and has passed the House and Senate. According to the 2015 NDAA 15 U.S.C. § 637(m)(2)(E), the text regarding self- certification will be deleted. The remaining ways to become certified as a WOSB are through “a Federal agency, a State govern- ment, the Administrator, or a national certify- ing entity approved by the Administrator”.

The GAO has identified the verification procedures that WOSB certification programs currently go through as a weakness. The “trust but verify” approach requires WOSBs to up- load required documentation into the WOSB Repository that are reviewed upon award. The SBA has been tasked with more effec- tively overseeing the third-party certifiers and putting into place formal policies to review performance and compliance by WOSBs.

With the “trust but verify” approach addi- tional administrative duties fall on an already overtasked contracting force to evaluate documents in the WOSB repository. This is perhaps why some CO’s believe that the WOSB self-certification is more burdensome than other certifications such as VOSB, SDVOSB, 8(a) or HUBzone.

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