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How to Get Certified For The SBA 8(a) Small Business Development Program

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SBA’s 8(a) Small Business Development Program can help qualifying minority-owned firms develop and grow their businesses through one-to-one counseling, training, workshops, and management and technical guidance. The program also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing these businesses to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace.

How do I know if I qualify for the 8(a) small business program?

Some minority groups are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged and can qualify for the 8(a) program. These groups include: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Individuals who are not members of one or more of these groups can be considered for the 8(a) program, but they must provide substantial evidence and documentation that demonstrates that they have been subjected to bias or discrimination and are economically disadvantaged. Firms owned by Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations and Community Development Corporations can also apply to the program.

How does Small Business Association support 8(a)-certified firms?

After businesses are accepted into the small business program, SBA provides business development assistance and helps them maintain small business program requirements. In addition, SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program, a subset of the 8(a) program, pairs mentor firms with protégé firms to provide managerial and technical assistance as well as joint venture and subcontracting opportunities to help the protégé compete successfully for federal contracts.

African American couple sitting at table with man signing papers

How do I find out more about the 8(a) program?

Small businesses interested in the 8(a) program should contact their local SBA district office.

Other certifications

Small businesses seeking minority business certification should contact the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), which provides a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses. It was created to increase procurement and business opportunities for minority businesses of all sizes.

Small businesses seeking LGBTQ business certification should contact the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). LGBTQ-owned businesses are  routinely sought after by NGLCC Corporate Partners who are looking to increase their spend with the LGBTQ business community through their internal, proprietary database.



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