The Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program





THE 8(A) BD PROGRAM :: The 8(a) Business Development Program provides critical business development assistance to companies owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.  
Primary Benefits of the 8(a) Program  
Program participants receive business development assistance from the SBA and other government agencies on  a range of different levels.  One key benefit is the opportunity to receive "sole-source" contracts (not exceeding $3 million for goods and services, and $5 million for manufacturing).  Participants can also bid for "set-aside" contracts of any size in competition with other participants in the 8(a) Program.  

Participants typically remain in the 8(a) Program for a period of nine years, during which they are encouraged to grow their competitive and institutional know-how through a monitored combination of 8(a) and non-8(a) contracts.

Additional Program Benefits  
Recent regulatory changes have made the 8(a) program even more beneficial by permitting  participants to form teaming arrangements with other companies, and allowing government agencies to streamline the process by which 8(a) contracts are awarded.  Although the program has been viewed in the past as available only to minorities, the recent regulatory changes now also make it easier for non-minority firms to participate.
Eligibility Requirements  
To participate in the 8(a) program, a company must be owned and operated by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged.  There are comprehensive (and sometimes complicated) rules and regulations for reviewing and evaluating applications for certification.  The  benefit of taking the time to learn the 8(a) process is that you can open the door to major opportunities for business growth by getting certified.  For application assistance, or for a review of your eligibility status, please refer to our service levels.  You may also visit our FAQs page for more information.


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