Small Business Administration Regulation Authorizing Sole Source Contracts to Women-Owned Small Businesses

legislation-600On September 14, 2015, the Small Business Administration (SBA) passed a final rule (available here) allowing contracting officers to award sole-source contracts to women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSBs). The SBA passed the rule pursuant to the statutory grant, contained in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, authorizing WOSBs and EDWOSBs to receive sole source contracts.

Sole source contracts with a value of up to $4 million ($6.5 million for a manufacturing contract) can be awarded if: (1) the WOSB or EDWOSB recipient is a responsible contractor; (2) the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs or EDWOSBs will submit offers; and (3) the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price.

The final rule also amends the SBA’s definitions of “underrepresentation” and “substantial underrepresentation” to permit the SBA to conduct a study of the industries in which WOSBs are underrepresented. The final rule is effective October 14, 2015.