The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8a Business Development Program Application starts the process for qualified applicants to seek approval from the SBA and join thousands of other disadvantaged businesses to increase their likelihood of getting more business revenues.
The 8 a BD Program is a 9-year program initiated by Congress to aid small disadvantaged businesses to seek specific treatment under SBA regulations and gain benefits for federal government contracts.
Applicants that receive their 8a status become eligible for small business set aside projects where only 8a certified businesses can compete. This creates a great advantage because 8a certified businesses would not have to compete with other small businesses or large businesses. This increases the chances of getting more revenues.
The SBA 8 a BD Program is a congressional goal to help small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of help to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged people.
The 8a Business Development Program application process is sometimes a daunting one. However, the investment is worth it when your company finally gets to create a competitive edge in the commercial and federal marketplace.
For SBA certification, the application process requires you to convince the SBA that you deserve access to the program. Getting 8a application help is sometimes worth it if you have experienced SBA 8a certification consultants that really understand the application process, and the mistakes commonly made by 8a applicants.
SBA Certification – Focus on Getting 8a Certified
After you become 8a certified, the focus of the 8 a BD Program is to get business development support including:
- Procurement help
- Business counseling
- Financial assistance
- Surety bonding
- Other management and technical assistance
SBA 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program Application Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for the SBA 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.
This sometimes difficult for applicants to prove because the SBA’s screening process looks at the possibility or other business partners, individuals or third parties who control the business. This is commonly called the “ability to control.” There are many cases litigated and appealed on these issues.
Socially Disadvantaged Individuals: Under the Small Business Act, certain people 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 narratives and personal financial documentation about one’s income, assets, and net worth.
Additional Considerations for the Small Business 8 a BD Program
Generally, successful 8a business development program 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
- by one or more disadvantaged individuals who
- are US citizens and who
- are of good character;
Special Applicants: A small 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).
Heavy Screening by the SBA: Getting 8a certified means being heavily scrutinized by the agency. If it is not totally convinced that you meet the requirements, the SBA may ask you to amend your application within a set time frame. You must provide a timely response.
If your SBA 8 a BD Program Application is ultimately denied, then you can submit a Request for Reconsideration. There is a timeline to do so. However, you may want to now utilize the help of an experience 8a certification consultant. This is because it is probably your first opportunity to legally protect your rights for appeal. Once the SBA denies your 8a application, you cannot introduce new evidence on appeal.
If you need help with getting 8a certified, or preparing your small business 8a application, call our 8a certification consultants at 1-800-601-5518 for a FREE initial consultation.