What We Do

SBA Certification

8(a) Business Development Program

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program is designed to assist businesses owned by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged by giving them preferential treatment in federal contract awards.

HUBZone

HUBZone certification is designed to provide federal contracting opportunities to businesses that are located and employee people in areas that are marked by lower wages and higher unemployment rates than the rest of the country.

SDVOSB

The Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Certification is for veterans who suffered a disability while on active duty.

WOSB / EDWOSB

The WOSB or 8(m) Certification program is designed to help women make inroads into industries which are statistically under represented by women. There are 83 NAICS codes where women-owned small businesses with these certifications can now obtain preferential treatment in federal contract awards.

 

8A

 

8A Benefits

  • Set-aside Contracts
  • Sole Source Contracts
  • Joint Ventures
  • Mentor/Protégé Arrangements
  • 5% Congressional Budget Target ($18.5 Billion Target)
  • Limited Competition (under 9,000 firms are certified)

Set-aside Contracts $4.0 million max per contract for products and services- $6.5 million max per contract manufacturing

Sole Source Contracts available as long as the 8a firm is not more than 10% over market rates

Joint Ventures Up to 3 contracts can be awarded per joint venture agreement

Mentor/Protégé similar to joint venture, firm can only have one per industry, size standards are not combined as with Join Venture Agreements, mentor can own up to 40% of 8a firm.

Percentage of Procurement 5% Congressional Budget Target – Target exceeded for 8a firms every year in the past decade.

8A Qualifications

8a Pre-Qualifying Tool

PROOF OF SOCIAL DISADVANTAGED STATUS
Is 51% of the firm owned by a US Citizen?

Is the ownership of your firm (minimum of 51% owner, or a group of owners comprising of 51%), a member of a presumed socially disadvantaged group:
Presumed socially disadvantaged group

To be considered a member of a presumed socially disadvantaged group you must be 25% or more of one of the following groups:
Sub-continent Asian American
Native American – member of a federally recognized tribe, Inuit*
Asian Pacific American
Black American
Hispanic American
Native Hawaiian

*There is no minimum percentage for Native American Indian, but you will have to demonstrate that you represent yourself as a Native American, most commonly through a tribal card.
Service disabled veteran- handicap bias
Caucasian female – gender bias (30% minimum for service connected disability)
Middle Eastern – racial prejudice

PROOF OF ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STATUS
Your average annual income for the past three years is required to be less than $250,000 per year. This number would be on line 37 AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) of your tax return. There are some deductions if the business is a Limited Liability Corporation, S Corporation, Sole Proprietorship, or Partnership.

Net worth of the qualifying owner less than $250,000 excluding the value of your primary residence and the value of your business. If greater it would be less than $250,000 if you excluded the value of your IRA and 401K.
Does the applicant have less than $4,000,000 in assets?

PROOF OF ABILITY TO SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE FEDERAL CONTRACTS
Does the business have at least one tax return with revenue in excess of $100,000?
Does your business have at least two clients with no client representing more than 70% of your overall revenue?
Does the 51% owner of the firm hold all certifications and educational background necessary for the firm to conduct business in its field? For example is the contractor’s license in the name of the person for whom you are applying?
Does the company have sufficient access to capital so it could perform if awarded government contracts?
Does the company have positive net worth; meaning shareholder equity exists in the firm?
Is the business a small business as determined by its primary NAICS code?

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the SBA’s definition of a small business concern?
Each business type is assigned a NAICS Code (North American Industry Classification System) Code. Each code has its own revenue dollar amount or number of employee threshold for classifying the business as a small concern.

2. What are control issues and how are they likely to affect my application?
Control issues are present when the owner of the 8a applicant firm cannot make independent decisions regarding management of the firm or an event in the future can trigger an event where the owner will no longer have control. Examples of control issues are as follows: Someone other than the owner of the firm is a signer on bank accounts, owner of the firm owns debt to another individual that is not a commercial lending institution, options are granted that can be converted changing the majority interest in the firm, a customer for whom the owner of the 8a firm previously worked is a major source of the 8a applicant firms current revenue, a vendor or supplier of the firm is not readily replaceable and performs the majority of the work on most contracts, Or firm is located in a business location that it shares with another firm in the same industry.

3. What is an affiliation and how is a finding by the SBA that my firm has an affiliation likely to affect my application?
An affiliation takes place when the SBA combines two firms as part of the application process. This often occurs because a person who owns more than 10% of the 8a firm also owns another firm in the same or similar industries.

4. Can a disadvantaged individual own part of another 8a firm?
Yes – they are permitted to own up to 20%.

5. Are broker dealers eligible for 8a?
No – in order to obtain an 8a certification the owner of the firm must provide value in the supply chain. This can take place as consulting fee;however, the tests the SBA will administer to make this determination depend on whether or not the consulting fees are a separate line item on the invoice. Exception – Real estate brokers are eligible for 8a certification.

6. Is being of good moral character a requirement for obtaining the 8a certification?
Yes – however if the felony or misdemeanor occurred more than seven years ago the firm may still be eligible for 8a certification.

7. How long can a company participate in the 8a program?
9 years

8. Can an 8a firm be owned by a trust?
Yes – however the trust must be revocable.

9. How long does the process take to get 8a certified?
The SBA usually takes 3 months to process an application.

10. Is there work for 8a firms outside the DC metro area?
25% of active 8a firms are located within the DC metro area and many of these firms are very successful. However, the federal government has 600 agencies, both civil and defense, and has a presence in all 50 states and U.S. Territories for contracting opportunities.

11. If I get 8a certified can I work in any state or only the state in which I get certified?
You may receive contracting opportunities with the federal government anywhere in the world.

12. In order to get 8a certified as a construction company do I have to have bonding?
A construction firm must demonstrate that is has the capacity to acquire bonding;however, $15,000-$20,000 in bonding capacity is considered sufficient by the SBA.

13. What percentage of work must an 8a firm perform on a contract?
An 8a firm is required to perform on

14. What is the difference between a mentor/protégé arrangement and a joint venture?
A firm is permitted to engage in

15. Can I joint venture with a current or graduated 8a firm?
Yes – often times the best contracting opportunities occur with firms that have recently graduated from the 8a program.

16. Can two disadvantaged owners apply for an 8a certification when it takes their combined ownership to exceed the 51% ownership threshold?
Yes – however both owners must fully qualify for 8a.

17. If an immediate family member currently has an 8a certification, can I get my firm 8a certified as well?
The SBA requires a waiver when an immediate family member has an active 8a certification. This waiver will be granted as long as the current 8a firm is in a different geographical region or a different industry from the currently certified 8a firm.

18. Can I only perform on federal contract in my industry code when I get 8a certified?
No – an 8a firm can bid on contract in an NAICS Code

19. If I am approved for 8a with on NAICS Code can this ever be changed?
Yes – the SBA at the request of the 8a firm will do a review of the firm’s primary NAICS Code after 2 years of being in the program. The SBA will alter the NAICS code to whichever industry the majority of the firm’s business is conducted.

20. Am I permitted to have other SBA Certifications or a GSA Schedule at the same time the SBA has issued my firm an 8a certification?
Yes – other SBA certifications and GSA Schedules are all mutually exclusive and can all be held at the same time.

2-Year Waive of Business

When does a company need a two year waiver for 8a certification?
The two basic factors for whether a two year waiver is required:
1. Has the applicant concern been in business for 2-years as evidenced by two tax returns?
2. Has the applicant concern generated business in the primary NAICS code for the preceding two years?
Both conditions must be met.
Sometimes it can be unclear as to whether or not you need to complete a two year waiver. The following are case study examples for when a firm should present a two year waiver and when one is not required.

Questions to SBA:
Do you use any sort of guideline for the amount of revenue a company should have before attempting a two year waiver, $50K? $250K? This is assuming all other conditions are met .

Answer:
Yes, we look at the revenues (there is no set amount because it depends on the industry), but we also look at where/who the contracts / the revenues are coming from (more than 1 or 2 sources).
Scenario I
Year 1 – $0 sales
Year 2 – $189k sales
Year 3 – $369k sales
Year 4 May – The owner finally quits his other employment and starts devoting full time to the business. Total sales for the business are $457k in year 4.
Year 5 January – application time
NO

The two year waiver is not required because the firm has generated revenues for the last 2-years. However; the SBA will look at the owner’s management experience to confirm potential of success.
Scenario II
Year 1 – $100k sales
Year 2 – $500k sales
Year 3 – $0 sales
Year 4 – January new owner purchases the business $200k in sales
Year 5 – January (application point)
YES

The two year waiver will be required in this scenario, because the firm did not generate revenue for the last 2-years in its primary NAICS code.
Scenario III Year 1 – $250k in sales owner 1 (40%), owner 2 (30%), owner 3 (30%) – owner 1 is president and signs all contracts, is highest paid, and is in control of the business decisions.
Year 2 – $500k in sales
Year 3 – $500k in sales
Year 4 – $500k in sales
Year 5 December – owner 1 buys out owner 2 and becomes 70% owner. $500k in sales.
Year 6 – January – (application time)
NO

A two year waiver is not required because the firm has been in existence for more than 2-years. In this scenario the SBA will review the legal documents closely. The documents will have to indicate that the owner has been the President (highest officer) for some time and that owner 1 has been signing contracts on behalf of the company for some time. The SBA will also look at all potential control issues closely to be sure there is no one else who has control over owner.

 

Hubzone Certification Services

 

Benefits of HUBZone Certification

  • Set-aside Contracts
  • Sole Source Contracts
  • 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competition as well as in subcontracting opportunities.
  • 3% Congressional Budget Target ($11.1 Billion Target)
  • Limited Competition (approximately 6,000 firms are certified)

Sole Source Contracts $3.5 million max per Contract for Products and Services $5.5 million max per contract Manufacturing. Contracting officer must have reason to believe at least two HUBZone firms will bid on the contract.

Competitive Bid during price value adjustment:

Example A: In a full and open competition, a qualified HUBZone Small Business Concern submits an offer of $980, a non-HUBZone Small Business Concern submits an offer of $950, and a large business submits an offer of $930. The lowest, responsive, responsible offer would be the large business at $930. However, the Contracting Officer must apply the HUBZone price evaluation preference of 10%. Therefore, the qualified HUBZone Small Business Concern’s offer is regarded as the lowest bid.

  HUBZone Small Business Small Business – non HUBZone Large Business
Bid $980 $950 $930
Price Preference 10% N/A N/A
Adjusted Bid $882 $950 $930
  Winner    

Example B: In a full and open competition, a qualified HUBZone Small Business Concern submits an offer of $1040, a non-HUBZone Small Business Concern submits an offer of $1000, and a large business submits an offer of $930. The lowest, responsive, responsible offer would be from the large business. The Contracting Officer must then apply the HUBZone price evaluation preference. In this example, the qualified HUBZone SBC’s offer is more than 10% higher than the large business’ offer and, consequently, the qualified HUBZone SBC does not displace the large business as the lowest, responsive, and responsible offeror. In addition, the non-HUBZone SBC’s offer at $100 does not displace the large business’ offer because a price evaluation preference is not applied to change an offer and benefit a non-HUBZone SBC.

  HUBZone Small Business Small Business – non HUBZone Large Business
Bid $1040 $1000 $930
Price Preference 10% N/A N/A
Adjusted Bid $936 $1000 $930
  Winner    

Example 3: In a full and open competition, a qualified HUBZone SBC submits an offer of $98 and a non-HUBZone SBC submits an offer of $93. The CO would not apply the price evaluation preference in this procurement because the lowest, responsive, responsible offer is a SBC.

Joint Ventures Up to 3 contracts can be awarded per joint venture agreement
Mentor/Protégé similar to joint venture, firm can only have one per industry, size standards are not combined as with Join Venture Agreements, mentor can own up to 40% of 8a firm.

Percentage of Procurement 5% Congressional Budget Target – Target exceeded for 8a firms every year in the past decade.

Qualifications for HUBZone

1. 51% Ownership by a U.S. Citizen

2. The firm must be classified as a small business according to the SBA.

3. Principle office located in a Historically Underutilized Business Zone – look up your principle office location here. http://map.sba.gov/hubzone/maps/
a. Principle location is the location where the most amount of employees for the firm work.
b. At least one employee must work at the principle office in the HUBZone on a full-time basis.
c. Typical evidence requirement by the SBA is a lease or mortgage in the firm name, as well as a utility bill.

4. 35% of the firm’s employees must reside within a HUBZone.
a. Definition of an employee is a person who works over 40 hours per month. The employee can be a temporary employee or work for an employee leasing company.
b. Example: A firm has three employees, 7 x .35 = 2.45. Therefore the firm must have 3 employees residing in a HUBZone.
c. Normally a copy of an employee’s State ID or State Driver’s license is considered as evidence of where they reside.

5. The owner of the HUBZone firm must be independent meaning they have the right to make current and strategic decisions for the company. Current conditions do not exist that could change the ownership of the firm.

6. The SBA can affiliate a firm if an owner owns more than 10% of the HUBZone firm, as well as owns another firm in a similar industry. If these two firms conduct a material amount of business together the SBA can affiliate the two businesses. If affiliated the two business combined must be under the SBA size standard and have 35% of the combined employees residing within a HUBZone.

HUBZone Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a time limit for how long a HUBZone Certified firm can keep its HUBZone Status?
No – as long as your firm maintains eligibility there is no time limit for the HUBZone certification.

2. How often must I recertify my firm?
Every three years.

3. How often is the HUBZone census tracks changed?
Every 10 years as part of the U.S. Census.

4. What would cause an affiliation between my company and other firm?
13 C.F.R 121.103 Rules apply for HUBZone firms. The SBA will review the following areas to determine HUBZone ownership.
(1) Stock ownership to make certain the qualifying party has control of the HUBZone firm.
(2) Convertible securities such as options or debt will be viewed by the SBA as fully exercised.
(3) If common management exists between two firms the SBA can affiliate the two entities.
(4) Identity of Interest between individuals or businesses where patterns exist for subcontracting, staff, locations, and other veiled attempts to disguise the true nature of the relationship.
(5) Contractual relationships or economic dependency where one firm represents a large portion of another firm’s revenue or has lent money to another firm.
(6). A new concern with similar ownership and whereby the older firm furnishes the new firm with contracts, technical assistance, indemnification or facilities can create an affiliation.

5. What if 34.5% of my employees reside within a HUBZone? To be considered eligible for HUBZone certification more than 35% of the firm’s employees must reside within a HUBZone.

 

SDVOSB

 

SDVOSB Benefits

  • Set-aside Contracts
  • Sole Source Contracts under Simplified Acquisitions Threshold
  • Joint Ventures
  • 3% Congressional Budget Target ($11.1 Billion Target)
  • Limited Competition (under 9,000 firms are certified)

Set-aside Contracts $3.0 million max per Contract for Products and Services $5.0 million max per contract Manufacturing
Sole Source Contracts under Simplified Acquisitions Threshold of $150,000
Joint Ventures with other SDVOSB firms or other Small Disadvantaged Firms
Percentage of Procurement 3% Congressional Budget Target – Target exceeded for SDVOSB firms every year in the past decade.

Qualifications for SDVOSB certification

1. 51% Ownership by a SDV (Service Disabled Veteran) The proof that is required should be listed on one of the following forms:

Most Common:

Department of Defense Form DD214
Other Accepted Documents:
Letter from the Veterans Administration
Certificate of Release from Active Duty
Statement of Service from the National Archives & Records Administration

2. The firm must be classified as a small business according to the SBA.

3. The owner of the SDVOSB firm must be independent meaning they have the right to make current and strategic decisions for the company. Current conditions do not exist that could change the ownership of the firm.

SDVOSB Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a minimum disability rating that must be attained in order for a SDV to classify as a service disabled veteran?
No – there is no minimum disability rating 0-100% is acceptable.

2. Is a SDVOSB limited to certain NAICS Codes?
No – a SDVOSB can obtain business in any NAICS Code.

3. If I am a veteran who is not disabled do I qualify?
No – the government views that it is its moral obligation to provide opportunities to Service Disabled Veteran.

4. Is there a procurement order for SBA certifications?
No – there is not an order between 8a, HUBZone, SDVOSB and ED/WOSB; however, these four certifications take preference over Small Businesses.

 

WOSB and EDWOSB

 

WOSB and EDWOSB Benefits

In 2000 Congress mandated that a budgetary goal of 5% of all federal prime contracting dollars got to women owned small business (approximately $15-20 Billion Dollars). February of 2011 the SBA determined there are 83 (4 digit) NAICS Codes (North American Industry Classification System) where women are significantly underrepresented. To assist women and create inroads into these industries the SBA has allowed for set-aside contracts to be issued in these NAICS Codes. WOSB certification is comprised of the industries in the NAICS Codes with the least amount of women owned firms or significantly underrepresented by women. EDWOSB certification is comprised of the industries in the NAICS Codes where women have been underrepresented by women. Set-aside contracts will be made available to WOSB and EDWOSB certified firms. A firm holding an EDWOSB certification can bid both WOSB and EDWOSB set-aside contracts where a firm holding a WOSB certification can only bid on WOSB set-aside contracts.

  WOSB EDWOSB
4 – Digit Designated NAICS Codes 38 45
6 – Digit Designated NAICS Codes 157 373
  • Set-aside Contracts – provided contracting officer believes two WOSBs are likely to bid.
  • 5% Congressional Budget Target ($18.5 Billion Target)
  • Limited Competition (approximately 16,400 firms are certified)
  • Joint Venture Opportunities provided WOSB receives 51% of the profit, for WOSBs joint ventures do not have to be approved by the SBA.

WOSB and EDWOSB Qualifications

1. 51% of the firm is owned by a U.S. Citizen(s) who are also female.

2. 51% or controlling interest in the firm must also be able to demonstrate both active day to day control over the firm as well as strategic long-term planning.
a. Female ownership must work full time for the applicant concern.
b. Female owners resume justifies her ability to run the firm.

3. The business must be classified as a Small Business based upon the firm Primary NAICS code. Loose guidelines are below:
a. Products and Services revenue under $4.5 million dollars
b. Real estate revenue under $2.0 million dollars
c. Manufacturing under 500 employees d. If you are over these limits look up your exact size standard by clicking here. Additional Qualifications for ED/WOSB

1. Applicant owners net worth is less than $750,000 excluding (ownership in WOSB firm, primary residence, and money invested in retirement accounts).

2. Applicant owners AGI (adjusted gross income) is less than $350,000 per year for the past three (3) years. Income received from an S Corporation, LLC, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship where the money is used to pay taxes or kept in the
business entity as retained earnings are excluded from this calculation.

3. Fair market value of all assets excluding only the applicant owner’s retirement accounts is under $6.0 million dollars.

WOSB and EDWOSB Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is it permissible to have another job and manage my WOSB firm part time?
In most cases the answer is no.

2. In order to prove I have the management experience to run my WOSB firm what breadth of experience is required?
The female owner needs to have the management experience, educational background and knowledge to be able to successfully run the firm on her own without relying upon others for assistance. Not possessing all technical skills or certifications is acceptable as long as it can be proven that those skills sets are readily available in the open marketplace.

3. Does the SBA look at the husband’s financial situation for determining control of the firm?
Yes the SBA will review the spouse’s financial situation to determine the firm’s access to credit. If the firm possesses a similar name, shares facilities, same equipment, website or other commonality the firm can lose its certification due to a control issue.

4. What percentage of a contract must the WOSB firm complete and what percentage can be subcontracted out to other firms.
This varies based upon the industry in which the firm obtains the contract: Service Contract – 50% completed by WOSB Supply Contract – 50% completed by the WOSB if they are a manufacturer of the goods. General Construction – 15% completed by the WOSB Specialty Construction – 25% completed by the WOSB

5. What would be the most common cause of a WOSB or EDWOSB eligibility examination?
A protest from an interested 3rd party on a bid submittal.

Our Easy 8A Service Process

  • 1. Free Consultation to determine of eligibility, review potential obstacles.
  • 2. Retainer letter and non-discloser agreement to protect our client's privacy.
  • 3. Consultation with application checklist preparer. Interviews with Social, Economic and Two Year Waiver narrative writers.
  • 4. Final Review of the Application.
  • 5. Answer SBA business opportunity specialist's inquiries.
  • 6. SBA Certification Letter.
;