Girls-owned small companies, take observe: the Small Enterprise Administration is altering the certification course of for doing enterprise with the federal authorities.
Following a 2015 mandate from Congress, SBA will finish its self-certification course of for women-owned small companies on October 15. This comes after the company’s inspector basic discovered contract awards had been going to distributors that didn’t meet the factors for this system.
Enterprise homeowners since final Wednesday have been in a position to submit their purposes by way of the net platform, however SBA will solely start issuing selections on these submitted purposes on Oct. 15, the final day of the self-certification course of.
Alisa Sheard, a program supervisor in SBA Girls’s Contracting Workplace, mentioned companies already licensed by way of the WOSB program should additionally undergo the brand new certification course of, requiring enterprise homeowners to repeat data discovered on their SAM.gov profile and switch it to SBA’s on-line certification platform.
“Everyone will still need to submit answers to questions and upload documents because there’s no data migration. Those documents that were in the different system are not in this beta certified system, so they will have to upload all of those documents,” Sheard mentioned in an interview.
Whereas the certification course of is new, the net platform has been round for a number of years. SBA launched the platform when it moved the self-certification course of on-line in 2016.
“It was established to improve the customer experience and allowed firms to have a smoother process with applying for the former certification process,” Sheard mentioned.
The yr prior, Congress included language within the 2015 Nationwide Protection Authorization Act that will require SBA to finish the self-certification for women-owned small companies.
The web site consists of an eligibility device that helps enterprise homeowners decide whether or not they meet this system necessities. Sheard mentioned SBA can also be strengthening its oversight of this system and “maintaining our integrity of the certification process.”
As soon as the WOSB program modifications absolutely go into impact, the service-disabled, veteran-owned enterprise program would be the just one that may nonetheless provide self-certification.
Different contracting packages, such because the 8(a) Enterprise Improvement and HUBZone packages had their certification necessities written into the authorizing laws.
The WOSB certification necessities within the 2015 NDAA now mirror what the HUBZone program has established — a three-year recertification course of and a 90-day timeframe to reapply if a enterprise proprietor’s software is declined. Sheard mentioned SBA additionally expects to course of purposes in about the identical time frame.
There’s nonetheless one other solution to change into WOSB licensed. SBA has given third-party certification authority to 4 organizations:
El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce,
Nationwide Girls Enterprise House owners Company,
U.S. Girls’s Chamber of Commerce, and
Girls’s Enterprise Enterprise Nationwide Council.
Nevertheless, these third-party teams cost for the WOSB certification, and the SBA course of stays free. Requested if SBA has plans to authorize extra third-party certifiers, Sheard mentioned the company “is evaluating the current certification capacity of our agency as well as our third-party certifiers.”
“If we deem it beneficial to the program to authorize additional new third party certifiers, we will announce a solicitation for those interested organizations,” she added.
Companies final yr exceeded SBA’s governmentwide small enterprise contracting purpose for the sixth yr in a row and spent greater than $120 billion on small-business contracts. Companies awarded 25 p.c of their contract spending to small companies in fiscal 2018 and earned an total ‘A’ ranking on SBA’s annual small enterprise scorecard.
Regardless of exceeding these benchmarks, businesses have fallen simply shy of the purpose to have 5% of prime contracts go to women-owned small companies.
To make sure that businesses meet that purpose this yr and in subsequent years, SBA holds month-to-month conferences with officers from the 24 Chief Monetary Officers Act businesses to share finest practices that their small enterprise places of work have applied as a way to work to realize the WOSB purpose and different benchmarks.
To assist unfold consciousness concerning the certification change, SBA has launched its “WOSB Ready Campaign,” which Sheard mentioned will be certain that women-owned small companies aren’t simply eligible, however able to compete within the federal market.
Since 2013, SBA has partnered with American Categorical on the ChallengeHER program, which promotes the company’s certification packages, helps girls navigate the federal market and helps them develop their small enterprise. Because the program launched, greater than 22,000 girls entrepreneurs have participated.