Small Business Government Contracts – for Women, Minorities, Veterans and Disadvantaged Business Owners

Each year, hundreds of thousands of small business owners around the country apply for SBA loans and SBA grants. The application processes are long, complicated, and highly selective, leaving most applicants without funding.

Unlike government grants and loans however, small business government contracts, the provisions for which are made under section 8a of the Small Business Act can give women, minorities, handicapped, service disabled veterans, and disadvantaged small business owners repeat business at no cost to them. 8a government contracts for minorities, women, handicapped, service disabled veterans, and other disadvantaged individuals are highly sought after for this reason, but complex to obtain. There are however, strategies to overcome this opposition.

Finding Contract Opportunities

There are a few key techniques for finding government contract opportunities, many of which involving simply surfing the Internet:

  • Visit the Federal Business Opportunities website at There you can search specifically for 8a contract opportunities, and have targeted opportunities sent to you via e-mail.
  • Research each federal agency’s long-range acquisition estimates (LRAE). Each major federal agency maintains a LRAE which identifies anticipated procurements upcoming that are over $100,000.
  • Contact each federal agency’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) office. OSDBU offices ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses are provided maximum practicable opportunity to participate in the agency’s contracting process.
  • Visit the Federal Procurement Data System website. It contains information about every federal procurement that has ever taken place. The website can be found at
  • Simply arrange a meeting with the contracting officer(s) of whichever federal agency with which you would like to do business. At such a meeting, you can give an informative presentation and market your product(s)/service(s).

Unfortunately, it proves difficult to be awarded a government contract unless you’re SBA 8a certified. This is where we come in.

Getting Certified with Cloveer

The SBA 8a application process is tough, and we know it. That’s why we’re in business; we want to help women, minorities, handicapped, service disabled veterans, and disadvantaged small business owners secure 8a certification, so they are given a fair opportunity to acquire government contracts. After all, Cloveer is a minority owned business.

We having been assisting clients to obtain 8a certification and maintain their 8a program eligibility for over 14 years. As such, we know the SBA 8a program regulatory requirements, 8a standard operating procedures and Office of Hearings and Appeal cases that affect the 8a program better than 99.9% of anyone else out there. We put this experience to work each day through each of our services:

  • 8a Application Review: For those of our clients who have already prepared an application, the 8a application review service ensures that not only is your application complete, but that it is in fact 8a eligible.
  • 8a Application Completion: Many of our clients recognize the experience we have in preparing SBA 8a applications. With over 14 years and 2,000 successful application under our belts, we have quite a bit! For these customers, we offer a complete 8a application service. We will prepare everything for you, so you can concentrate on running your business.

No matter which option you choose, Cloveer guarantees that no other company will work harder or faster to assist you in getting your business SBA 8a certified. Contact us today to discover which option works best for you.

10 basic requirements that must be met for 8a Certification

1. All applicants must be U.S. Citizens.

2. The applicants must unconditionally own at least 51% of the business that is applying.

3. All applicants must be considered economically and socially disadvantaged.

4. All applicants and the business cannot have any unpaid federal, state or local obligations.

5. Any applicant and business that has previously participated are not eligible.

6. The business that is applying must be considered small by SBA size standards.

7. The top management position in the business must be be held by one of the applicants.

8. The top management applicant must work full-time in the business without any outside employment.

9. The business that is applying must not be classified as a broker, non-profit or be a subsidiary of another business.

10. The business that is applying must exhibit SBA Potential for Success.

If you are looking for more information on 8a Certification, please visit our website at

Reasons why most who try to apply for 8a Certification on their own fail

1. There are no clear instructions detailing what the SBA is really looking for. Applicants are left to guess what information will satisfy all of the SBA’s requirements. We frequently hear from clients who have spoken to or have even met with SCORE, their local SBA district office, Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and are given incorrect advice or answers that end up getting there 8a Application returned for deficiencies or worse yet denied.

2. The SBA checklist’s that exist are incomplete. If you follow the SBA checklist precisely, your 8a Application will be questioned or returned as deficient since it does not contain every item that must be provided. Every letter that you receive back from the SBA results in a 30 to 90 day delay. In the event the SBA sends your entire 8a Application back, you will have to start fresh again and hope that you get it right the next time. We call this the endless review cycle at the SBA since they cannot inform you of every wrong problem with your 8a Application the first time, since they did not have everything needed to perform their full review.

3. The SBA does not tell you how they want you to organize and package your 8a Application. Improperly organizing your 8a Application paperwork such as putting it in a notebook with tabs, stapling papers, using binder clips and plastic sleeves, will delay the processing of your 8a Application.

4. The 8a electronic application does let you know if you answer a question that will result in denial. Yes, if you answer some of the SBA’s questions incorrectly you will be denied 8a Program entry without giving you the opportunity to possibly correct a denial situation before submitting. You will have to wait a full 12 months to re-apply if denied.

5. You will have to modify your existing corporate Bylaws, LLC Operating Agreement, or Partnership Agreement and the SBA does not tell you how or why, and only tells you after you submit your 8a Application. Unless you spend the time reading the code of federal regulations that govern the 8a Program, and truly understand them, these documents will be challenged if submitted in their current versions.

6. Your chance of getting the SBA 413 forms, personal financial statements correct the first time, are slim. The SBA 413 form was not developed primarily for the SBA 8a Program. It was developed for a SBA loan program and is used by the SBA for the 8a Program since it asks for some information they need and some they don’t.

7. Every applicant must produce a economic disadvantage narrative that meets the SBA adequate evidence standard but no real advice is given on how to properly prepare the narrative. Did you know that being a member of a SBA designated group and writing the narrative is not everything needed to prove you are economically disadvantaged. There is another area that you must prove to be economically disadvantaged that the SBA does not tell you about in their application paperwork. No longer required by the SBA as of August 24, 2016.

8. Not a member of one of the SBA’s designated groups? Did you know that the level of evidence required to prove social disadvantage requires is called “Preponderance of Evidence”?. This level of evidence is much greater than just writing a narrative.

9. Haven’t been in business for two full years with revenues and taxes to prove it? The required “two-year waiver” needed to convince the SBA that you have “potential for success” only gives you the conditions that you must meet but they do not tell you what to provide to prove how you have met each condition.

10. Only have one client and/or you derive more than 70% of your revenues/sales from them?. You will be denied 8a Program entry due to economic dependence and you will not find this rule in any SBA regulation governing the 8a program. The SBA uses Office of Hearing and Appeals (OHA) cases to set 8a program precedence for this requirement and others not named.

These are just 10 of the reasons why most people fail when they try to apply for 8a Certification themselves.


The 8a Business Plan

The 8a Business Plan

Development of the 8a Business Plan

Each newly certified 8a Participant must develop a comprehensive business plan setting forth its business targets, objectives, and goals. Although the 8a Business Plan is not required to be completed and submitted as part of a Participant’s 8a Application submission, it must be submitted to the SBA servicing office as soon as possible after 8a program admission. Typically the 8a Business Plan must be submitted within 30 days from the date of its 8a program admission or from its attendance at mandatory SBA 8a program orientation. The 8a Participant will not be eligible for 8a program benefits, including 8a contracts, until its 8a business plan is approved.

Failure to provide an 8a Business Plan in a timely manner and receive approval can result in early termination by the SBA.

The 8a business plan must address all 52 of the SBA Form 1010c questions and contain the following information:

(1)    A detailed description of any products currently being produced and any services currently being performed by the concern, as well as any future plans to enter into one or more new markets;

(2)    The applicant’s designation of its primary industry classification, as defined in § 124.3;

(3)    An analysis of market potential, competitive environment, and the concern’s prospects for profitable operations during and after its participation in the 8a BD program;

(4)    An analysis of the concern’s strengths and weaknesses, with particular attention on ways to correct any financial, managerial, technical, or work force conditions which could impede the concern from receiving and performing non-8a contracts;

(5)    Specific targets, objectives, and goals for the business development of the concern during the next two years;

(6)    Estimates of both 8a and non-8a contract awards that will be needed to meet its targets, objectives and goals; and

(7) Such other information as SBA may require.

Updating the 8a Business Plan

Each 8a Participant must annually review its business plan with its assigned Business Opportunity

Specialist (BOS), and modify the plan as appropriate. The 8a Participant must submit a modified plan and updated information to its BOS within thirty 30 days after the close of each program year. It also must submit a capability statement describing its current contract performance capabilities as part of its updated 8a business plan.

As part of the annual review of its 8a business plan, each 8a Participant must annually forecast in writing its needs for contract awards for the next program year.

For companies needing assistance in the development or updating of their 8a Business Plan, please visit

5 Ways to Find 8a Contract Opportunities

1. Visit the Federal Business Opportunities web site. It contains thousands of active federal procurements. The web site can be found by visiting

You can narrow down your search for 8a set-aside contract opportunities or set-up an account to automatically receive targeted opportunities via email. We suggest that you specifically look for 8a opportunities that are in the pre-solicitation or sources sought phase as most of the other phases are too far along in the procurement process already.

2. View each Federal agency’s long range acquisition forecast (LRAE). For example Each major federal agency maintains a LRAE which identifies anticipated procurements upcoming that are over $100,000.

3. Contact each Federal agency’s OSDBU (Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization) office. The OSDBU’s ensure that small and disadvantaged businesses are provided maximum practicable opportunity to participate in the agency’s contracting process. The primary responsibility of the OSDBU is to ensure that small businesses are treated fairly and have an opportunity to compete and be selected for a fair amount of the agency’s contracting and subcontracting dollars. You can find the contact information for each OSDBU office by visiting each Federal agency’s web site.

4. Visit the Federal Procurement Data System web site. It contains every federal procurement that has ever taken place. The web site can be found by visiting

You can search and find out which agency is buying your products or services, the names of your competitors who were awarded past contracts, their dollar value, location, NAICS code and more.

5. Finally, narrow down the Federal agencies who you want to do business with, find out who the contracting officers are, setup a face to face meeting, and market your products and services to them.

What are the benefits of 8a Certification?

1. You will have access to sole source/non-competitive contracts with a value of:

– $4M and under for all services related contracts
– $6.5M and under for manufacturing related contracts

2. You will have access to competitive set-aside contracts with a value of:

– $4M and over for all services related contracts
– $6.5M and over for manufacturing related contracts

3. You will severely limit your potential competition.

– There are less than 10,000 active 8a participants in the entire 8a Program
– The big-guys (Lockheed Martin, CSC, EDS, Halliburton, etc.) cannot compete for these contracts

4. It is easier for your federal prospects to buy from you.

– 8a contracts require much less paperwork, time and bureaucracy than most other procurement methods
8a contracts cannot be protested

5. It is a much faster contract award process.

– 8a contracts take about 1/10 the amount of time to be awarded compared to most other procurement methods

If you are looking for a company to assist in the process of getting your business 8a Certified, contact today.