8a Certification Requirements & SBA 8a Application Eligibility

By understanding the government’s concerns when trying to meet SBA 8a Program Rules for certification, you will be better able to provide the important 8a requirements in your application.

  • There are risks of submitting false information
  • What are the critical nuances combed through by the SBA?
  • Getting access to millions of dollars in federal contracts means knowing how the game is played.

The SBA 8 a program eligibility criteria force applicants to divulge a vast amount of personal and business information.  However, part of understanding how to become 8a certified means understanding why the program requires a substantial amount of personal information.

The reason is that the SBA wants to know whether there are unqualified companies or individuals who are simply taking advantage of the program or a company that gets 8a status. Knowing how to apply for 8a certification and obtain your SBA 8a certification status, you must meet very specific SBA requirements.  

Failure to meet any of the business development certification requirements or SBA 8a qualifications will cause suspicion and rejection from the SBA. Besides the general information listed in the SBA regulations, the SBA goes even deeper into your 8(a) application to look for inconsistencies and evidence of affiliation (a dangerous area where 60% of 8a applicants fail).

To increase your chances of getting approved for 8a status, you must convince the area office that you meet the basic SBA 8a certification requirements in addition to meeting the legal standards and level of proof that many applicants do not understand. Failure to do so will cause your 8a application to be denied. Although you can 

Government 8a Application Qualifications – What are SBA 8a Requirements?

To become 8a certified, the company in its SBA 8a application must meet the business development certification requirements below.

  • In your SBA 8a application development, you must be a small business concern based on applicable size standards for small businesses in your industry.
  • All individuals upon whom eligibility is based must be U.S. citizens.
  • You must be the unconditional majority business owner.
  • Outside business interests are strictly limited.
  • You must work full-time in your business.
  • You must be in immediate charge of your business.
  • Board control in the case of a small business corporation can be exercised only by disadvantaged persons.

To get your 8a status, SBA 8a application qualifications and requirements require that you must be a socially disadvantaged individual. Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities. 

  • The new SBA 8a Program rules only require narratives in certain situations
  • As an 8(a) applicant, you must still meet the legal standards in case someone challenges your status

The reasoning for socially disadvantaged 8a status: The social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control. Under the  Small Business Act, certain presumed groups include African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans.

Other individuals can be admitted to the program if they can show evidence that they are disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, gender, physical handicap, or residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society.

  • Ultimate control of your company must not reside with anyone other than those upon whom 8a certification eligibility is based.
  • You must be an economically disadvantaged person. For the 8(a) program this means all applicant individuals must have a net worth of $250,000 or less, excluding the value of the business and personal residence.
  • You must be in business for at least two years or apply for a waiver of the two-year requirement.
  • You must not have any significant unresolved federal or state tax financial issues.
  • You must be of a good moral character to be approved for 8a status.
  • You must not run a business that is not eligible for certification.

SBA 8a Certification Requirements and Business Owner 8a Qualifications

SBA 8a certification qualification requirements mandate that an 8a company must be owned, controlled, and operated by people who are socially or economically disadvantaged. This could be one or more persons who are owners and meet the SBA evaluation standards. 

SBA 8a Requirements and Corporate Issues for How to Become 8a Certified

When considering SBA 8 a program eligibility criteria or whether your SBA 8a certification requirements and evaluation criteria are completed for your SBA 8a application, you must assess whether you are selling services or products that the government buys.  

  • Corporate documents must conclusively show that the eligible owner(s) make the final business decisions. The reviewer takes a hard look at these SBA 8a eligibility requirements.
  • Contracts with third parties that appear to give them control over the company can disqualify you.

Never make the mistake of thinking that your 8a application will be approved if your company shows unsuccessful performance history. In fact, your 8a application will be denied because you show no likelihood of success. This cannot be appealed. 

SBA Section 8a requirements want you to demonstrate that your business can demonstrate a minimum of $250,000 in gross sales for the previous year. Previous contracting experience with state or federal agencies is preferred. However, having an experienced 8a certification application development consultant can be helpful in explaining any lack of experience.


SBA 8a Certification Application Requirements – 8a Status Net Worth and Financials Program Criteria

Your personal net worth should not be over $250K.  SBA 8a certification requirements consider an assessment of all your cash, bonds, stocks, savings and checking accounts, automobiles, etc. If you are not sure, you may want to invest in an accountant to check these financial details.

Although you have to disclose 401-Ks and retirements, they are not considered for personal net worth to get your 8a status.

Areas to watch out for when assessing SBA requirements for 8a certification eligibility evaluation factors. The biggest threat to meeting SBA 8a qualifications when learning how to become 8a certified is when the SBA determines that you do not have the potential to succeed. Unless you can show that the SBA acted in bad faith or clearly abused its discretion, this aspect of SBA section 8a requirements cannot be appealed.

SBA 8a Program Rules

One important point with the SBA 8a Program rules is that when filling out your 8a application is the drastic sanction for submitting untruthful information. False representations in an SBA 8a application can create criminal liability. You want to make sure that you carefully go through SBA 8 a program eligibility criteria and analysis because you want to avoid any false representation in your responses. 

For help with SBA business development, requirements for 8a certification and how to become 8a certified and to make sure get your SBA 8a requirements completed, call our 8a certification application consultants at 1-866-601-5518.

Get Immediate Help With Your 8(a) Certification Needs (Get Started Here)

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