What is 8a Certification for Developing Businesses?

The 8(a) Business Development Program is crafted to empower small businesses that are owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Entrepreneurs who meet the eligibility criteria can access extensive benefits designed to promote business growth and success.

Program Benefits

  • Compete for dedicated set-aside and sole-source contracts available through the 8(a) business development program.
  • Receive guidance from a Business Opportunity Specialist to navigate the complexities of federal contracting.
  • Collaborate with established companies through the SBA’s mentor-protégé program by forming joint ventures.
  • Gain the advantage of management and technical support, including comprehensive business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and advanced executive development with the small business 8(a) certification.

8a Certification Requirements

  • Must qualify as a small business.
  • First-time participant in the 8(a) business development program.
  • At least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are both economically and socially disadvantaged.
  • Owned by individuals with a personal net worth of $750,000 or less.
  • Ownership includes individuals with an average adjusted gross income of $350,000 or less over three years.
  • Owned by someone with total assets of $6 million or less.
  • The owner must manage day-to-day operations and make long-term strategic decisions.
  • All principals must exhibit good character.
  • Demonstrate the potential for success and capability to successfully execute contracts.
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Take the First Step and Get Certified Now!

There is no better time to begin. Are you ready to discover if you qualify for the small business 8(a) certification and find out if this program is right for your business? Our 8a certification consultants are ready to assist you. Start the process today!

8(a) Program Certification

Frequently Asked Questions

This program is designed to assist small businesses that are owned and managed by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. This initiative aims to level the playing field by providing these businesses with access to government contracts, specialized business training, and mentoring.

Businesses across various industries can benefit, including:

  • Construction
  • IT services
  • Consulting
  • And more

In addition, the 8a business development program can be combined with other federal contracting certifications such as:

By fostering growth and development, the 8(a) Development Program for Businesses helps these companies become more competitive and successful in the broader market, ultimately contributing to the economic health and diversity of communities.

“Socially disadvantaged” individuals are those who have faced racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias in American society. “Economically disadvantaged” refers to individuals whose ability to succeed in business has been limited due to fewer opportunities for capital and credit compared to others in the same field who haven’t faced social disadvantages.

No, non-profit organizations are not eligible to apply for the 8(a) Program. The program is specifically designed to support for-profit small businesses.

The certification lasts for a total of nine years. This includes a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage, during which businesses receive support to grow and compete in the federal marketplace.

During the developmental stage, businesses are provided with resources and guidance to establish a strong foundation. In the transition stage, they are gradually eased into competing independently, receiving assistance to ensure they are fully prepared to thrive in the competitive federal market.

The Mentor-Protégé Program pairs eligible 8(a) participants with experienced businesses (mentors) to help them enhance their capacity to compete for federal contracts. Mentors provide technical and management assistance, financial assistance, and subcontracting support, among other benefits.

Yes, if your application for the 8(a) Program is denied, you can reapply. However, you must wait 90 days from the date of the denial decision before submitting a new application. It’s advisable to address the reasons for the denial before reapplying.

If your application for the program is denied, don’t get discouraged. There are additional resources available to help you navigate the application process and enhance your chances of approval. We encourage you to contact us for personalized support and guidance. Our experienced team can provide valuable insights and assistance to address the reasons for your denial and help you strengthen your reapplication.

Reach out to us today to make sure you have all the necessary information and 8(a) certification support to succeed.

Several resources are available to assist you with the 8(a) Program application, including:

The System for Award Management (SAM) registration is a mandatory requirement for all businesses seeking to do business with the federal government. It consolidates the capabilities of multiple systems, including the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA). For 8(a) Program applicants, being registered in SAM is important because it makes your business visible and accessible to federal agencies that need your products and services.

For further assistance, our U.S. government contracting specialists at the Federal Contracting Center are ready to help you with every step of your 8(a) Business Development Program application and SAM registration or SAM renewal. Contact us today to get started.

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TO RENEW YOUR SAM Registration

Please call 1-(855)-700-5143 For Direct Assistance

Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM - 8:00 PM ET

A System for Award Management (also referred to as SAM) Registration must be renewed annually to stay compliant and active. FCC recommends that businesses renew 90 days before the SAM expires to prevent service penalties and/or interruptions.