When submitting your 8a certification application, meeting the social and economic disadvantaged status can be confusing. Understanding the legal requirements and statutes related to ethnicity, bias and immigration status in an essential part of getting your application approved.
An individual claiming disadvantaged status on the basis of his or her ethnicity must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she personally experienced “substantial and chronic social disadvantage” and that there has been a “[n]egative impact on [his] entry into or advancement in the business world because of the disadvantage.” 13 CFR 124.103(c).
- In assessing the negative impact, the SBA considers any relevant evidence, including the individual’s education, employment and business history to see if the totality of circumstances shows such disadvantage.
- Evidence of chronic and substantial disadvantage means there must be more than one or two specific, significant incidents.
Ethnicity, Bias and Immigration Status
The SBA frequently denies 8a status applications when the applicant makes conclusory statements and does not provide details and support for ethnic bias.
SBA must see details pertaining to gender bias actions taken against the applicant. There should be evidence that links the bias actions to the specific ethnicity.
You should also show that others without your specific ethnic background had no biased actions against them. See more about SBA 8a certification requirements.
Social and economic narratives must be detailed and specific: Discussion of cultural struggles can be frustrating and create some level of ethnicity and bias. However, simply stating that you are an immigrant in your narrative statement of social disadvantage status, with nothing else, will more than likely lead to the SBA’s denial of your SBA 8a application.
- “Immigrant” is not an ethnicity under 8a certification regulations.
Lack of English proficiency alone will not get SBA approval: Many 8a certification applicants find out that they have made a costly mistake when they discuss English proficiency and perceived bias from their accents. However, you still have to link such bias to your lack of business success.
- Providing specific facts and evidence is critical.
Tip: When your 8a Certification is based on ethnicity bias and immigration, you should take advantage of the Request for Reconsideration. Here, you can expand the previous 8a application by providing the requisite details and supporting evidence.