SBA Adds and Changes Industry Code Eligibility for the ED/WOSB Program

In response to the Congressional mandate that the Small Business Administration complete a new study to determine industry eligibility for the ED/WOSB set-aside program, the Small Business Administration worked with economists at the Department of Commerce to complete the study. This study was completed 12/31/15. Yesterday, the SBA released the results and set forth the process to publish a new set of industry NAICS codes eligible for ED/WOSB set-aside contracts.

Most importantly, for women-owned firms, we have compiled a complete list of eligible NAICS reporting both the old list of eligible NAICS along with the new list and any changes between WOSB and EDWOSB eligibility. There are numerous changes and we recommend you review these. If your firm was eligible for only EDWOSB set-asides, you may find that your NAICS has been changed to WOSB. You may also find that your NAICS is no longer eligible at all for the program. And, if your firm’s NAICS have not been on the list of eligible industries, you may find that one or more of your NAICS are on the list. [Special note for existing EDWOSB certified firms: EDWOSB certified firms are automatically eligible for the WOSB set-asides.]

Below are a number of links:

The SBA is indicating these new NAICS will be effective immediately upon being published.

Additionally, the SBA is claiming they have met the 5% goal for contracting with women-owned firms for the first time. The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce would strenuously disagree. Given that the SBA does remarkably little verification of women-owned assertions, the GAO and Inspector General have found the ED/WOSB program to be full of fraud and misattributions, and given the billions of dollars reported as misattributed "small business” awards reported by Inspector General offices government wide, it cannot be reasonably found that 5% of federal contract award dollars are flowing to women-owned small business. We believe the percentage awarded to women-owned small businesses to be, at a minimum, 50% inflated.

Other observations from the new report and selection of industry codes:

  1. Overall, the new list of industry codes increases the overall number of eligible firms for the ED/WOSB program by about 13%. The number of eligible firms (currently in SAM) has increased from 275, 338 to 310,719.
  2. The number of EDWOSB eligible industries has been slashed in half -- with most of the industries moving to WOSB eligibility. About 27 NAICS went from WOSB to EDWOSB and about 139 NAICS went from EDWOSB to WOSB.
  3. The Department of Commerce uses a different assessment model for determining eligibility - and still failed to consider the universe of firms outside of those currently registered in the SAM government database. We consider this to be a continued suppression of our "ready, willing and able" status. After decades of discrimination, after the government sees that women owned firms are 21% less likely to receive government contracts - the government still fails to acknowledge that the universe of "ready, willing and able" firms should take into consideration the whole marketplace of firms. Thousands of firms undoubtedly have come and gone from the federal database due to frustration and discrimination. And thousands more don't even bother as they see the abysmal performance of the federal goverenment in meeting goals for contracting with women-owned firms.

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce will keep you updated on all new developments to the ED/WOSB program.

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