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To help level the playing field and create more opportunities for women entrepreneurs, the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) set-aside was established was established by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Another women-owned set-aside is the Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB). Businesses certified as EDWOSBs qualify for extra funding and may be selected in smaller set-aside solicitations. From the over $500 billion the government allocates for contracts every year, 5% is obligated for WOSBs and EDWOSBs.
New Federal Contracting Program Regulations
New Federal Contracting Program regulations recently issued will provide a free online certification and eligibility process for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically-disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB). New changes will begin to be implemented by the SBA (Small Business Administration) beginning July 15, 2020.
Below is the timeline for implementing the program changes:
- The current self certification process will remain available for firms until October 15, 2020, in certify.sba.gov.
- Between now and July 15, 2020, certified WOSBs must download their documentation, currently housed in the WOSB Program Repository, from certify.sba.gov.
- On July 15, 2020, firms can begin submitting applications under the new certification process for initial processing.
- On October 15, 2020, SBA will begin issuing decisions on certification.
Once the new WOSB Federal Contracting Program regulations go into effect:
- SBA will provide a new, free online certification process for WOSBs and EDWOSBs.
- SBA will allow participation from firms certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center of Verification and Evaluations, provided they meet all eligibility requirements.
- SBA will allow continued participation from businesses that utilize approved Third Party Certifiers (TPC) to obtain WOSB or EDWOSB certification.
- SBA will eliminate the current self certification option from certify.sba.gov, effective October 15, 2020.
The new WOSB Program regulations allows participation from firms certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Center of Verification and Evaluations, provided they meet all eligibility requirements. They also will make it easier and more efficient for contracting officers to set aside and make awards to firms certified as WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will better empower agencies to meet the 5% federal contracting goal for women-owned small businesses.
To learn more about how the SBA supports women entrepreneurs, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
The White House recently unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach on the advice of public health experts. The Employer guidelines for all phases:
- Continue to ENCOURAGE TELEWORK, whenever possible and feasible with business operations.
- If possible, RETURN TO WORK IN PHASES.
- Close COMMON AREAS where personnel are likely to congregate and interact, or enforce strict social distancing protocols.
- Strongly consider SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS for personnel who are members of a VULNERABLE POPULATION.
Develop and implement appropriate policies, in accordance with Federal, State, and local regulations and guidance, and informed by industry best practices, regarding:
- Social distancing and protective equipment
- Temperature checks
- Use and disinfection of common and high-traffic areas
- Business travel
Monitor workforce for indicative symptoms. Do not allow symptomatic people to physically return to work until cleared by a medical provider.
Develop and implement policies and procedures for workforce contact tracing following employee COVID+ test
On March 31, 2020, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19. Wages paid after March 12, 2020, and before Jan. 1, 2021, are eligible for the credit. Wages taken into account are not limited to cash payments, but also include a portion of the cost of employer provided health care. Learn More
In late April, the State of South Carolina launched a one-stop-shop website in response to COVID-19. The site’s purpose is to help citizens and businesses connect to important information and resources during these changing times. Visit accelerateSC for business resources; business re-opening guidance; close contact business guidelines and guidance for manufacturing basic operations. In addition, you can learn how to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and flu or find COVID-19 screening and testing sites. The site offers the ability to evaluate where South Carolina is right now and where we want to be. It offers the the ability to collaborate to determine how we will accelerate SC. New features include social media engagement and an online inquiry form. Soon, the website will offer access to a call center.