The Landscape of Women Owned Federal Contracting Businesses (WOSBs/EDWOSBs)

Published: September 19, 2018

Contracting TrendsEDWOSBSet-AsideSmall BusinessSole-source ContractingWOSB

Opportunities to look out for in the Professional Services Industry

Woman-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSB) officially became set-asides in 2011, according to the GSA. In order for a company to be considered a WOSB or EDWOSB, 51% of ownership must be by a woman. With this set-aside, 5% of federal opportunities were required to be awarded to WOSBs and EDWOSBs. In fiscal year 2017, 4.71% of that goal was met. Although the target came close to meeting that 5%, the government has not surpassed this goal since fiscal year 2015, where they reached 5.06%. In comparison to set-asides included on the scorecard (Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business), WOSBs were the only prime contractors that did not pass the established SBA goal (other than HUBZone, which did not meet its 3% goal).

Initially, this can be viewed negatively as it appears that WOSBs/EDWOSBs are being neglected. However, interested vendors should take this information and turn it into an area of opportunity. This trend of not meeting the 5% goal has the ability to spark a light in the eyes of contracting officers to show that further attention should be angled toward the success of more WOSBs/EDWOSBs. Given the potential of this taking place, the possibility of more WOSB set-asides in the future could become a reality. At this time, Professional Services, Information Technology, and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction are the industries that are utilizing WOSBs/EDWOSBs the most.

Narrowing in on the Professional Services industry, here are the top five opportunities in GovWin to lookout for that are specifically set-aside for WOSBs and EDWOSBs:

  1. Acquisition Management Services (Opportunity ID 170038)
  2. Scientific Support Services for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) (Opportunity ID 130552)
  3. AEC Architect Engineer Services for Mechanical Projects at Various Locations NAVFAC Hawaii Areas (Opportunity ID 162297)
  4. Strategic Planning Performance Management and Executive Leadership Initiatives for the Office of Emergency Communications (Opportunity ID 169163)
  5. Advanced Professional Executives Program Support Services (APEX) (Opportunity ID 119872)

Currently, the highest valued WOSB/EDWOSB opportunity in GovWin’s database in the Professional Services industry is Acquisition Management Services (Opportunity ID 170038). According to APFS Record F2018041743, the estimated value of this requirement is $50M to $100M. Although the Department of Homeland Security did not have the highest amount of spending in FY 2017, it was still one of the departments that was able to reach its WOSB/EDWOSB goal of 5%.

Scientific Support Services for Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (Opportunity ID 130552) comes in as the second highest WOSB/EDWOSBs opportunity in GovWin. The current contract held by Ripple Effect Communications, Inc. has a ceiling value of $27,609,123. Deltek anticipates that the contract type, duration, value, competition type, and NAICS code will be similar to that of the incumbent contract. 

AEC Architect Engineer Services for Mechanical Projects at Various Locations NAVFAC Hawaii Areas (Opportunity ID 162297) is the third highest valued. For this opportunity, if all options are exercised, the contract value has a possibility of reaching $15 million. Each task order will be between $10,000 and $1.5 million. The estimated construction cost of a project ranges between $25,000 and $30,000,000. With the Navy being one of the top 10 buyers in FY 2017, it comes to no surprise that this opportunity has been valued so high. However, it should be noted that the Navy was still unable to reach its 5% WOSB goal. With this in mind, interested vendors should keep an eye out for opportunities coming out of the Navy and use this insight to possibly sway contracting officers into issuing additional WOSB set-asides.

Strategic Planning Performance Management and Executive Leadership Initiatives for the Office of Emergency Communications (169163) comes in fourth for the Professional Services industry. According to the DHS Acquisition Planning Forecast System, the Government estimates the value of this effort to be between $5 million and $10 million. Previously, the Solicitation was anticipated to be released on June 11, 2018. However, dates provided by APFS are rough estimates that are made months in advance. Currently, Deltek predicts the Solicitation to be released in December of 2018. A request for additional information and a procurement milestone has been submitted to the Contracting Office.

The last opportunity to look out for is Advanced Professional Executives Program Support Services (APEX) (Opportunity ID 119872). Although this is technically not one of the top five WOSB/EDWOSB opportunities in GovWin’s database, it is the highest valued that is specifically set-aside for Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Businesses. The incumbent contract with J Rogers Consulting has a total estimated value of $3,523,751. Deltek anticipates that the value, as well as the NAICS code, contract type, and competition type will be similar to that of the incumbent contract. With the incumbent contract expiring in November 2018, Deltek estimates that the Solicitation may be released in October 2018. However, this date may be revised. 

From these opportunities and other high valued opportunities within GovWin’s system, the following NAICS codes were utilized the most: 541611, 541330, 522320, 541219, and 541690. Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services (541611) was the most used NAICS code by a Professional Services requirement. The highest valued opportunity (Opportunity ID 170038), uses this code as well.

Where do WOSBs and EDWOSBs stand in the Professional Service Industry?

Although Professional Services is one of the highest providers of WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides (with Information Technology and Architecture, Engineering, and Construction right next to them), an overall need for additional opportunities to be issued to these firms remains a high priority. The government did not meet their 5% goal in FY 2017, meaning a lack in increased traction has yet to be fully addressed with WOSB/EDWOSBs.

After analyzing the top five Professional Service opportunities in GovWin’s system, the top NAICS codes were gathered as a result. Since FY 2015, Navy has been the leading department in terms of spending on these NAICS codes. Following the Navy comes the Army, Health and Human Services, Air Force, and the Department of Homeland Security. With much of the spending coming from these agencies, it should be noted that competition amongst WOSBs and EDWOSBs may be higher, despite more needing to be done across the government as a whole. Although competition is strong, this also means that there is possibility for teaming.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are departments that are lacking in the use of WOSB and EDWOSB set-asides. A few of these include: the Veterans Affairs, Education, State, General Services Administration, and Agriculture. This is important to pay attention to as it provides an opportunity for interested vendors to pre-market themselves and sway the government into sole sourcing contracts and issuing more WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides. Through the issuance of sole source contracts, it gives these businesses the opportunity to gain experience and show the government, and other competitors, that they are ready to go after bigger projects. Without this option, small businesses have a difficult time proving that they are able to compete against bigger companies. By vendors marketing themselves and showing interest to these departments, more sole source contracts and WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides being issued becomes a higher possibility.

If you are a woman owned business, it’s imperative to double check eligibility and certification standards of action to ensure your organization is suitable to compete for WOSB/EDWOSB set-asides. The Small Business Administration has a list of NAICS codes that are only meant for WOSB/EDWOSB. Taking advantage of this set-aside is beneficial to the growth of your company and brings more awareness towards WOSBs/EDWOSBs.


For more information, please visit GovWin's Women-Owned Contracting Trends webinar.