We successfully defended Stokes Evans Limited in a status protest before the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA). Stokes Evans, an economically disadvantaged woman-owned, small business (EDWOSB) was awarded a blanket purchase agreement by the U.S. Coast Guard. A disappointed offeror filed a protest with the SBA, challenging Stokes Evans’ status as an EDWOSB.
After the SBA denied the protest, the disappointed offeror filed an appeal with OHA alleging that the woman-owner and President of Stokes Evans was not in control of the company. The appeal argued that Stokes Evans’ corporate documents gave her husband the ability to control the company, and that the woman-owner did not have the requisite managerial expertise to run the company. The appeal asserted that it was her husband who actually ran Stokes Evans.
In our response to the appeal, we detailed the woman-owner’s vast and varied managerial experience, arguing that while her husband’s role is vital to Stokes Evans’ operation, the woman-owner herself possesses the managerial experience necessary to run the company. We also argued that Stokes Evans’ corporate documents, as well as the woman-owner’s 100% ownership of the company, clearly give her control of Stokes Evans.
Given that the SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Program is a relatively new development (began in 2011), there are very few published decisions addressing the status of a WOSB or EDWOSB. In this case, OHA recognized the woman-owner’s wealth of managerial experience, and that Stokes Evans’ corporate documents clearly give her control over the day-to-day operations of the company. As a result, OHA found that the SBA correctly determined Stokes Evans to be an eligible EDWOSB.