The SBA 8a Business Development program was formed in 1968. The Small Business Administration is responsible for administrating the program. It got the 8(a) name from Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act. It is designed to assist small disadvantaged businesses compete within the US Economy.
A major benefit for 8a participants is access to competitive and sole source federal contracts. Each year billions of dollars of contracts are awarded to 8a Certified firms.
The 8a Business Development program focuses on providing the following:
- Business Development support such as;
- procurement assistance
- business counseling
- financial assistance
- management and technical assistance
Firms becoming certified by the SBA begin a nine year program term. On their annual certification day each year they must file an 8a annual update which the SBA reviews to determine if they still meet all of the 8a program requirements.
Certified firms may be awarded up to $100 million in 8a contracts throughout their nine year program participation.
The nine year program is divided into the developmental and transitional stage.
The developmental stage is the first four years of participation and helps participants overcome the economic disadvantage by providing business development support.
The transitional stage comprises the final 5 years and prepares the participants for leaving the program and competing outside of the 8a program.
You must apply to become an 8a participant and meet specific requirements. Some of the requirements are that the company must be owned and controlled by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Most individuals find the complexity of the rules and regulations for applying so tough they get assistance from a company who the expertise to prepare their 8a application, such as Cloveer.