8(a) Business Development Program
The 8(a) Business Development program was founded to help businesses owned by individuals who have been socially and economically disadvantaged. Small business owners who qualify can enjoy significant benefits, which help grow their business. These include federal contract award set-asides, which lower bid competition, and access to the Mentor-Protégé Program.
8(a) Program Certification Benefits
The federal government's goal is to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year. The government limits competition for certain federal contracts to businesses in the 8(a) program. Obtaining an 8(a) certification makes your business eligible to compete for the program’s set-aside contracts.
An 8(a) certification lasts 9 years and a business can earn up to $100 million or five times your SBA size limit. As a government contractor with an 8(a) certification, there will be solicitations with the 8(a) designation in which you, along with other 8(a) businesses, will have exclusive bidding rights. At times, you may be the only business bidding on an opportunity.
Federal contracting officers have quotas and are incentivised to meet their set-aside awards. The government’s goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars (roughly $25 billion) toward small, disadvantaged businesses.
Benefits for 8(a) certified companies include:
- Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program.
- Subcontracting opportunities.
- Contracting officers may post opportunities in which only HUBZone entities can submit offers.
- Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting.
- Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA's mentor-protégé program.
- Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development.
- Compete for contract awards under multiple socio-economic programs, as they apply.
Learn About the 8(a) Certification Process Offered by USFCR
Watch this short video to learn about the USFCR set-aside qualification and certification process.
To qualify for the 8(a) program, a business must:
- Be a small business by the SBA standards.
- Not have already participated in the 8(a) program.
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
- Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $250,000 or less.
- Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $250,000 or less.
- Be owned by someone with $4 million or less in assets.
- Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.
- Have all its principals demonstrate good character.
- Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.
Get Registered with USFCR
We’ve worked with tens of thousands of businesses to get them properly registered in the federal marketplace. As a business owner, your time, attention, and resources are limited. Mistakes with federal registrations can cause delays and may result in fines. USFCR saves you time, money, and eliminates non-compliance risk.
The benefits USFCR’s 8(a) program certification:
- Guaranteed compliance in the System for Award Management (SAM).
- Dedicated Case Manager to manage and maintain the certification.
- Years of experience with 8(a) program certifications.
- Review and verification of all supporting program documentation.
- Preparation, submission, and monitoring of the application.
- Allows you to focus on federal contracting opportunities.
Length of Certification
The first is the total amount you can earn from sole-source contracts. As an 8(a) business, you can only earn a total of $100 million or five times your SBA size limit (if it applies to standard given to your NAICS code). The second is how long you can be enrolled in the program.
The longest you can be certified as an 8(a) business is 9 years.