5 common misconceptions about getting 8a Certified

1. It’s easy to get SBA 8a Certified.

There are less than 10,000 active 8a program participants currently. There has never been more than 10,000 active 8a Program Participants at any one time in the 8a program’s history. The SBA returns over 90% of all 8a applications submitted and rejects 70% of all applications.

2. All I need to do is fill out the SBA’s 8a electronic application.

The SBA’s 8a electronic application is a very small portion of the overall 8a application. Most 8a applications are several hundred pages in length once you include all of the supporting documents required to be submitted along with it. The SBA does not accept any of these supporting documents electronically and they only provide a list of the supporting documents and do not tell you what requirements each of these supporting documents must meet.

3. Once I get 8a certified, I am guaranteed a federal contract.

Getting 8a certified does not guarantee that you will receive an 8a contract. In fact, about 50% of all 8a program participants never receive one contract because they do not know how to market their business to the federal government. Getting 8a certified will certainly open opportunities at the federal level but you must still spend the time and effort in marketing your business to potential federal clients.

4. My ASBDC, PTAC  and local SBA office told me I qualified to become 8a Certified.

There are two processing offices (King of Prussia, PA and San Francisco, CA) that review all 8a applications submitted. Final determination is made within the Washington, DC office. There are roughly 11 reviewers within the two processing offices and they are the individuals who review your 8a Application paperwork. Anyone who tells you that you qualify for 8a certification before reviewing all of your application paperwork does not know what they are talking about.

5. I don’t need any assistance in putting my 8a Application together.

Unless you understand the SBA Program Regulations, you should not attempt to put your 8a Application together yourself. The SBA 8a Application has many tripwires and potential application “killers” that could cause your 8a application to be returned for incompleteness or even rejected. We suggest that you find some assistance to help in some or all areas of your 8a Application.

Can 8a Contracts be Protested?

The size status of the apparent successful offeror for competitive 8a procurement may be protested.

The size status of the participant for a sole source 8a procurement may not be protested by another 8a participant or any other business.

The eligibility of a 8a participant for a sole source or competitive 8a procurement cannot be challenged by another 8a participant or any other business.

An 8a participant cannot appeal the SBA’s determination not to award it a specific 8a contract because the concern lacks an element of responsibility or is ineligible for the contract other than to request a formal size determination where SBA cannot verify it to be small.

The NAICS code assigned to a sole source 8a procurement may not be challenged by another 8a participant or any other business. In connection with a competitive 8a procurement, any business concern who has been adversely affected by a NAICS code designation may appeal the designation to the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals.

For more information on the SBA 8a Program, visit cloveer.com