In October 2010, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) published a final rule that becomes effective February 4, 2011, intended to expand the role of women-owned small businesses in government contracting
The new rule establishes mechanisms meant to increase federal contracting opportunities for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and to assist agencies in achieving their women-owned small business goals. Based on a study commissioned by the SBA, 83 industries were indentified in which women-owned businesses are under-represented or substantially under-represented. Under the new rule ,WOSBs or Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) in those industries will be able to self-certify their status or be certified by third party certifiers.
The new rule authorizes a set-aside of federal contracts for WOSBs or EDWOSBs where the anticipated contract price does not exceed $5 million in the case of manufacturing contracts and $3 million in the case of other contracts, if all other conditions are met.
To qualify as a EDWOSB, a woman owned business must show that it is a small business concern that is at least 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more women who are citizens (born or naturalized) of the United States and who are economically disadvantaged. The EDWOSB automatically qualifies as a women-owned small business eligible for the WOSB Program.
A woman is presumed economically disadvantaged if she has a personal net worth of less than $750,000, her adjusted gross yearly income averaged over the three years preceding the certification does not exceed $350,000, and the fair market value of all her assets (including her primary residence and the value of the business concern) does not exceed $6 million.