what is 8(a) certification?
The federal government tries to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.
To help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.
Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) program can:
- Compete for set-aside contracts in the program
- Get a Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting
- Form joint ventures with established businesses through a mentor-protege program
- Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development
can my business get 8(a) certification?
Unlike most set-asides like woman-owned or SDVO, the 8(a) certification is an involved program with a finite time limit. It has a relatively extensive process to obtain the certification, but it does also open the doors to avenues not found in other set-aside programs.
To qualify for the 8(a) program, follow this eligibility checklist:
- Be a small business
- Not already have 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 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
To see all the regulations on who qualifies as socially and economically disadvantaged, you can click here.
If you are having trouble or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to us for additional support. Some assistance -- such a personalized attention or consulting referrals -- may require your company to becoming a member of the Chamber. Feel free to click on the below button to go to our contact page and reach out to us.
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