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The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program was created to help and support small companies owned and operated by socially or economically disadvantaged people.

Who should apply and what small businesses are eligible for the 8(a) program?

Certain groups are considered disadvantaged, such as: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Other individuals that might be considered disadvantaged would be because of gender, ethnicity, race, physical handicap, or isolation from mainstream of American society. The SBA has a set of rules and regulations when it evaluates individuals to determine if they are socially or economically disadvantaged. For example, for an individual to be considered economically disadvantaged, he/she must have a net worth of less than $250,000.

What are the benefits of the 8(a) program?

Here are some of the benefits from participating in the 8(a) program:

  • Opportunity to receive sole-source contracts (with a ceiling of $3M for goods and services and $5M for manufacturing)
  • Can set-aside contracts of any size in competition with other participants in the 8(a) contracts.
  • Can form teaming arrangements with other companies to bid on contracts

How to apply to the 8(a) program?

To apply to the 8(a) program individuals should first contact their local SBA district office. An SBA representative will set up an appointment to go over the various application forms and answer any general questions.