Congress Eliminates Self Certification for WOSB and EDWOSB Programs

Congress appears to have eliminated the self-certification option for the Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB) programs in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (2015 NDAA).  Prior to the 2015 NDAA, WOSB or EDWOSB could by certified by “a Federal agency, a State government, or a national certifying entity,” or they could “certify[y] to the contracting officer that it is a small business concern owned and controlled by women and provides adequate documentation, in accordance with standards established by the Administration, to support such certification.” 15 U.S.C. 637(m)(2)(E)(i)-(ii).  However, in a move that has received little attention, Congress eliminated the self-certification option so that now the authority to restrict competition to WOSB/EDWOSB is limited to those concerns that are “certified by a Federal agency, a State government, the Administrator, or a national certifying entity approved by the Administrator as a small business concern owned and controlled by women.”  15 U.S.C. 637(m)(2)(E).  The SBA guidance on certification still references self-certification so it is unclear if or when the SBA plans on updating its regulations on certification.

For more information, you may contact Jeffry Cook at jcook@deftlaw.com.