8a Certification Program

8a certification offers several benefits for small, disadvantaged businesses looking to contract with the government. Some of the most notable benefits include being eligible for set-aside contracts and sole-source contracts.

The 8a Certification Program is powerful, allowing small businesses to compete for federal contracts set aside exclusively for them. But, the process of getting certified to participate in this program can be intimidating, with SBA regulations requiring applicants to divulge a lot of information about their business and personal lives. Having a professional assist you with the application can save you a lot of headaches and prevent a lot of common mistakes that lead to rejection. Using a firm to help you through this process will also ensure that your application meets all of the SBA’s requirements.

Having your company become SBA-8a certified gives you access to millions of dollars in federal government contracts that are otherwise out of your reach. In addition, being 8a certified makes you eligible to receive FEMA grants during natural disasters. And, although women-owned small business (WOSB) and HUBZone certifications don’t give you the same statutory power as being 8a certified does, they can still give you access to many government contracts.

Requirements 8A
8a Certification Program 1


As a small business 8(a) certified firm, you can access sole-source contracts and participate in other socio-economic programs. You can also partner with larger firms in the mentor-protege program to increase your chances of winning federal contracting work. The program duration lasts up to nine years and involves regular reviews and reporting.

Those looking to get into the program must meet certain eligibility requirements. This includes being at least 51% owned and operated by disadvantaged individuals. This group can include African Americans, Native American, Hispanic Americans, and others who are socially disadvantaged due to race, ethnicity, gender, or long-term residence outside of mainstream society. Additionally, a company must not have a personal net worth of more than $250,000 and be operating for at least two years before it can apply to become an 8(a) business development program participant.

You must also have a strong contract history and a solid portfolio of clients. You also must meet SBA size standards and be able to prove you’re eligible to participate in the program. Getting 8a certification isn’t for everyone, but it can be an excellent way to jump-start your government contracting efforts.

Once you’re accepted into the program, it’s up to you to market yourself aggressively and win work from federal agencies. It’s also important to develop relationships with agency leaders in advance of a request for proposals, as this can make it easier to secure work.

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