8(a) Requirements, 8a Program Eligibility Requirements, government contracts

The 8a Certification Program is a nine-year business development program that allows a small economically and socially disadvantaged business with 8a status to participate and have access to government contracts.

8a program eligibility requirements are heavily regulated and applicants seeking to get 8(a) certified must carefully review their information before sending to the SBA.

The 8a Program is managed by the SBA. This is because the 8(a) Program has a lot of statutory power. Since there is ample room for abuse, the SBA carries a large stick when overseeing the program.

Getting your 8a status gives the ability to gain sole source awards and other unique benefits. This is why the SBA requirements for 8a application requirements are so strict.

Requirements for 8a Certification – Who are Socially Disadvantaged Individuals?

Socially disadvantaged individuals, defined under the 8a program and 8a requirements, are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group.

  • The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) by an individual(s).
  • The individual(s) must be an American citizen, by birth or naturalization.
  • The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) and controlled/managed by socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).
  • The individual(s) controlling and managing the firm on a full-time basis must meet the SBA requirement for disadvantage, by proving both social disadvantage and economic disadvantage.
  • The business must be a small business.
  • The business must demonstrate potential for success.
  • The principals must show good character.
  • Separate eligibility requirements exist for a business that is owned by American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians or Certified Development Companies. 

Social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, people who are members of the following designated groups are presumed to be socially disadvantaged under the requirements for 8a certification:

  • Black Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Native Americans (including American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians)
  • Asian Pacific Americans, and
  • Members of other groups designated by the SBA

See More About the 8a Certification Services We Offer

For help with how to get 8a status, or questions about SBA 8a program eligibility requirements call our 8a certification consultants at 1-866-601-5518.

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