For individuals who qualify, we can assist in applying for the 8(a) program. The owner of the company must be able to demonstrate both a social and an economic disadvantage. Below you can review an overview of the program, the benefits, and eligibility requirements, or utilize our live support in the lower right corner of the screen to chat with someone about it right now.
What is the 8(a) Business Development Program?
- The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses.
- The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
- The 8(a) Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. The program helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting.
- Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.
Benefits of the Program
The following is a list of benefits of participating in the 8 (a) Business Development Program.
- Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing. While we help 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, we also encourage you to participate in competitive acquisitions.
- 8(a) firms are also able to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances the ability of 8(a) firms to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract. Also, see the Mentor-Protégé Program for more information on allowing starting 8(a) companies to learn the ropes from other experienced 8(a) businesses.
To qualify for the program, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.
Each applicant company must have contract experience (either federal or commercial) and must provide references to support that experience in addition to being in business for at least two years.
Under the Small Business Act, certain individuals are presumed socially disadvantaged: African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians), and Subcontinent Asian Americans. An individual who is not a member of one of the groups listed can be admitted to the program if he/she shows – through a “preponderance of the evidence” – that he/she is socially disadvantaged. For instance, an individual may show social disadvantage due to race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society; or other similar causes.
In addition, a socially disadvantaged individual must show economic disadvantage by submitting a narrative and personal financial documentation about one’s income, assets, and net worth.
Generally, successful applicants must also meet the following additional requirements:
- The business must be small according to the Size standards for small business concerns;
- The business must demonstrate a potential for success (generally by being in business for, at least, two years);
- The business must be unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged individuals who are US citizens and who are of good character.
A business can also qualify for the 8(a) BD program if the firm is owned by an Indian tribe, an Alaska Native Corporation (ANC), a Native-Hawaiian Organization (NHO), or a Community Development Corporation (CDC).