SBA Seeks Comment on WOSB Certification Process

SBA released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, which will amend the WOSB Program certification process.  In the 2015 NDAA, Congress directed SBA to end self-certification for WOSBs and EDWOSBs and implement a certification process. SBA is now soliciting feedback on how to best implement Congress’ directive. Through the advance notice, SBA is providing commenters the ability to suggest what they believe is the most appropriate way to structure the WOSB/EDWOSB certification process before SBA engages in formal rulemaking.
Specifically, SBA seeks comments as to the four possible certification approaches. Although the language of Section 825 of the 2015 NDAA authorizes certification by a federal agency, a State government, SBA, or a national certifying entity approved by SBA, SBA requests commenters to weigh in on whether each of the four types should be pursued. SBA also requests comments on whether there should be a grace period after implementation to give firms that have self-certified the time necessary to complete the new certification process, and what should become of the current WOSB repository and whether or not it should be maintained. Further, SBA is inviting commenters to critique the third party national certifying entities currently approved by SBA, as well as the WOSB certification programs available through the SBA’s 8(a) Program and by states that have certified women to be DBEs for the USDOT’s DBE Program.
If you are currently self-certified as a WOSB or EDWOSB, or are thinking of pursuing WOSB/EDWOSB certification, this advance notice provides a unique opportunity to help SBA create a fair and efficient certification process. PilieroMazza has long championed the WOSB Program, and we would appreciate your thoughts as we develop our comments to the advance notice.
Comments to the advance notice are due February 16, 2016.