Effective October 14, 2015, contracting officers now have the authority to make sole source awards of up to $4 million ($6.5 million for manufacturing contracts) to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB) in an extremely narrow set of circumstances. First, the sole source must be in a NAICS code under which WOSB and EDWOSB set-asides are already authorized. Second, the contracting officer’s market research must show that there is one and only one WOSB or EDWOSB responsible contractor that would submit an offer. If there are two or more such contractors then the requirement cannot be sole sourced. Finally, the contracting officer must determine that the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price. Only time will tell how many WOSB and EDWOSB will be able to take advantage of this new rule. A copy of the final rule is available here.
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