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8(a) Business Development Program

8(a) Business Development Program


The Small Business Administration’s (SBA)  8(a) Business Development Program (BD) is designed to help small businesses compete in the federal marketplace.  This program is essential for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society.  This program is intended to assist aspiring entrepreneurs get their foot in the door with government contracting.



To become eligible for the 8(a) program and become certified, you must be owned and controlled at least 51 percent by socially & economically disadvantaged individuals who are American citizens. You should also be ready to show potential for business success.



There are many things you can take advantage in once you become certified.  Just to name a few, you can partake in training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development that is provided by SBA and their resource partners.


Participating in the 8(a) program can also make you eligible for:

  • Assistance in obtaining access to surplus government property & supplies

  • SBA- guaranteed loans  

  • Bonding assistance


Another great benefit of the program is that you can receive sole source contracts,you can form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts,  and you can participate in the 8(a) BD Mentor-Protege’ Program which allows companies to learn the ropes from more experienced businesses.


Things you should know

The 8(a) BD Program is divided over 9 years into two phases: a 4-year developmental stage and a 5-year transition stage; the overall goal of which is to graduate 8(a) businesses that will go on to thrive in a competitive business environment.  You will also have to maintain a  balance between your commercial and government business.  There is a $100 million dollar limit on the total dollar value of sole source contracts that you can receive while participating in the program.


SBA district offices will monitor and measure your progress through your participation in the 8(a) BD Program making sure you are following the requirements and accomplishing goals.


Visit the SBA website for more information about the 8(a) BD Program


GSA OSBU can also answer any questions you may have in regards to the 8(a) program & doing business with GSA. Do not hesitate to reach out :-)

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