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The 8(a) Business Development Program - What You Need to Know

Small businesses, including 8(a) small businesses, work to create jobs, drive innovation, increase America’s global competitiveness and grow the U.S. economy. This National Small Business Week (NSBW), September 12-18, is an opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding small business owners from across the nation. Join the celebration and learn more--https://www.sba.gov/nsbw.

The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development program helps provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities. The government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.

Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) program can:

  • Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts
  • Get a Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting
  • Form joint ventures with established businesses through SBA's Mentor-Protégé Program
  • Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development


To qualify for the 8(a) program, follow this eligibility checklist:

  • Be a small business
  • Not have previously participated in the 8(a) program
  • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are socially and economically disadvantaged
  • Have a personal net worth of $750K or less, adjusted gross income of $350K or less and $6 million or less in assets
  • Demonstrate good character and potential to perform on contracts

Get a preliminary assessment of whether the 8(a) program is right for you at the SBA’s Certify website.

Before you can participate in the 8(a) Business Development program, you must be certified. Apply for the 8(a) Business Development program, at the certify.SBA.gov website. 


GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) advocates for all small businesses.  

Our Next Virtual Training & Matchmaking Event:

Join us September 29th at OSDBU’s National Small Business Training and Matchmaking event to learn about upcoming federal contracting opportunities and doing business with GSA, while expanding your network.  This event is FREE and will provide you with the resources your small business needs to thrive in the Federal marketplace! Don’t miss out! Get more details

Learn more about OSDBU at www.gsa.gov/smallbusiness and find your local OSDBU representative.

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