WBENC Response to SBA Rule.pdf

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					May 3, 2010


Dean Koppel, Assistant Director
Office of Policy and Research
Office of Government Contracting
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third St, SW
Washington, DC 20416

Dear Mr. Koppel

Please find attached comments from the organizations listed below in response to the Women-
Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program; Proposed Rule, Federal Register Volume 75,
Number 43 (March 4, 2010), RIN 3245-AG06, 13 CFR Parts 121, 127 and 134, SBA-2010-
0001-0001.

These organizations represent over 1,150,000 women business owners and all have joined the
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council in support of the Federal Government’s
implementation of a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) program.

We thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to discuss this matter
further, please do not hesitate to give me a call.

Sincerely,



Linda J. Denny,
President and CEO
Women’s Business Enterprise National Council




                                                                                              1
Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program
    Proposed Rule
    Fed. Reg. Volume 75, Number 42 (March 4, 2010)
    RIN 3245-AG06
    13 CFR Parts 121, 127, and 134
    SBA-2010-0001-0001, Filed 03-04-10


           Comments Submitted by

Women’s Business Enterprise National Council

Astra Women’s Business Alliance
Business and Professional Women (BPW)
Center for Women and Enterprise
Greater Women’s Business Council
National Black Chamber of Commerce
National Council of Asian American Business Associations
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
National Minority Supplier Development Council
Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council
United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
US Business Leadership Network
Women’s Business Enterprise Council—Great Lakes
Women’s Business Development Center—Florida
Women’s Business Council—Southwest
Women’s Business Enterprise Council—PA-DE-sNJ
Women’s Business Enterprise Council—South
Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance
Women’s Business Enterprise Council—West
Women Presidents’ Educational Organization—DC
Women Presidents’ Educational Organization--NY




                                                           2
Preface
According to the Center for Women’s Business Research 2009 study, “the economic impact
of women owned business in the United States, there are an estimated 8 million US business
currently 51% women owned with an economic impact of $3 trillion annually and job
creation or maintenance of more than 23 million jobs-16% of all US jobs”.

The Federal Government established a 5% goal for procurement with women-owned
businesses in 1994. As of 2008 the actual expenditures for Federal contracts awarded to
WOSBs was $14.7 billion or 3.4% against a goal of 5%. The difference between current
performance (3.4%) and the goal (5%) represents approximately $6.9 billion in contracts
annually, which would significantly support the growth of women owned businesses.

Why is it important that the Federal Government reach and possibly exceed the 5% goal with
women owned companies? It’s all about employment. By 2018 the Bureau of Labor
Statistics projects that small businesses will create 9.7 million new jobs, with approximately
5 million to 5.5 million of those being created by women owned businesses. This represents
over half of the new jobs in the small business sector and one third of the total new jobs that
will be created nationwide over the next eight years. Substantial new contract opportunities
must be found to support this growth in employment and the Federal Government must be
one of the growing, available and accessible markets.

Responders
This response is submitted by 21 prestigious business organizations that represent over
1,150,000 women business owners. All are independent organizations that have elected to
join the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) in our comments in
regard to this important ruling.

       Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
       Astra Women’s Business Alliance
       Business and Professional Women (BPW)
       Center for Women and Enterprise
       Greater Women’s Business Council
       National Black Chamber of Commerce
       National Council of Asian American Business Associations
       National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
       National Minority Supplier Development Council
       Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council
       United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
       US Business Leadership Network
       Women’s Business Enterprise Council—Great Lakes
       Women’s Business Development Center—Florida
       Women’s Business Council—Southwest
       Women’s Business Enterprise Council—PA-DE-sNJ
       Women’s Business Enterprise Council—South
       Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance
       Women’s Business Enterprise Council—West
       Women Presidents’ Educational Organization—DC
       Women Presidents’ Educational Organization--NY

                                                                                             3
Comments
The organizations listed above join the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council
(WBENC) in agreeing with the intent and proposed implementation of the WOSB rule. We
respectfully submit the following comments for consideration:

Eligible Industries
We are pleased that all 83 NAICs categories, the largest number proposed by the Rand
Study, have been selected. However since the disparity studies used by Rand are now at least
5 to 9 years old we do encourage SBA to put in place a methodology that would periodically
update the disparity studies and make adjustments to the Program accordingly

We also propose that no distinction between “underrepresented” and “substantially
underrepresented” should be made, since women-owned businesses are substantially
underrepresented in all categories of federal contracts and therefore should include all certified
women-owned businesses.

Use of Data
In determining eligibility under the Women’s Procurement Program, we support the SBAs
determination to use the FFPDS/NG FY2005 procurement data at the four digit NAICs code
level; using both numbers and dollars to determine industries in which WOSBs are
underrepresented or substantially underrepresented under Section 8(m).

While we understand that the WOSB must be registered on CCR to obtain payment; we
maintain that the process should be abridged if the WSOB has been certified by an
authorized third-party certifying agency. Thus, the WOSB would provide the issued WOSB
certificate and not be required to complete the CCR questionnaire.

Size Standards for Contracts
Although we realize the law sets the contract limits at $5 million for manufacturing and $3
million for other goods and services, we believe it is too low. We feel the same way about
many of SBA’s size standards and economic disadvantage determinations, which govern
eligibility for the program. Current size and economic disadvantage standards are too low,
and need to be updated immediately.

We also oppose eligibility on the basis of total assets. Under the proposed rule a woman would
not be considered eligible for the WOSB program if the fair market value of all her assets
exceeds $3 million. While the proposed rule excludes retirement accounts from a woman’s
personal net worth, it would not exclude such amounts from her total assets in determining
economic disadvantage and eligibility on that basis. Retirement accounts should be excluded
entirely.

We strongly advocate that the cost of construction materials be excluded from the calculations
of contract price in construction contracts. The cost of materials used to erect constructions
projects frequently exceeds 50% of the total contract price. In most cases, these materials are
purchased from a second party and have no real impact on the financial viability of the
constructions firm. These materials are provided by the contractor to incorporate into the project
to fulfill its’ contact responsibilities.


                                                                                                4
Economic Disadvantage and Eligibility
We object to the requirement that a woman business owner must be economically
disadvantaged to participate in the program, as women-owned businesses are already
substantially underrepresented in all federal contracting. There are no economic disadvantage
requirements for the majority of the federal set-aside programs for small businesses, hub zones,
disabled veterans or veterans. We believe that women-owned business federal procurement
program should not single out requiring economic disadvantage.

We oppose the size standards and economic disadvantage determinations which govern
eligibility for the program. Additionally, requiring women-owned businesses to be economically
disadvantaged, with an even more prohibitive criterion of annual personal income under
$200,000, only further disadvantages these businesses by making it difficult to obtain bonding
and therefore be competitive to do federal contracts. Even current 8A and DBE requirements
are not as restrictive.

Certification Procedures
We are in agreement with SBAs proposed rule to accept 3rd party certification based on the
standards with which it is awarded; with the ability to provide additional documentation to
meet specific WOSB eligibility requirements (i.e.: citizenship, size and economic
disadvantage status).

We are in support of the proposed rule that calls for additional language requiring a
contracting officer to make a statement and document it to the file that ”… successful
offeror’s ORCA certification and associated representation were reviewed”. However in the
case of self certification which will require the contracting officer to review documents we
question whether they will have the expertise to review the submitted documents and make
an accurate determination of eligibility to meet the requirements.

We request that the SBA document the process for a 3rd party certifying entity to become
approved, thereby making their certification acceptable under the Women’s Procurement
Program.

We are in full support to strike the requirement for agency- by-agency of proof of
discrimination against WOSBs in relevant industries.

Certification Requirements
We are in full support of listed WOSB certification standards and elect not to comment on
the specific EDWOSB standards.

ORCA
We are in strong support for the Online Representation and Certifications Application web
based tool as repository for third party certification affidavits’ and certificates and/or self
certifying WOSBs eligibility documentation.




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