Accession Number:



Women-Owned Small Business Program: Actions Needed to Address Ongoing Oversight Issues

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

United States Government Accountability Office

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



In 2000, Congress authorized the WOSB program, allowing contracting officers to set aside procurements to women-owned small businesses in industries in which they are substantially underrepresented. To be eligible to participate in the WOSB program, firms have the option to self certify or be certified by a third-party certifier. However, the 2015 NDAA changed the WOSB program by 1 authorizing SBA to implement sole source authority, 2 eliminating the option for firms to self-certify as being eligible for the program and 3 allowing SBA to implement a new certification process. GAO was asked to review the WOSB program. This report discusses 1 the extent to which SBA has addressed the 2015 NDAA changes, 2 SBAs efforts to address previously identified deficiencies, and 3 use of the WOSB program. GAO reviewed relevant laws, regulations, and program documents analyzed federal contracting data from April 2011 through June 2018 and interviewed SBA officials, officials from contracting agencies selected to obtain a range of experience with the WOSB program, and three of the four private third-party certifiers.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]