Blog Banner Image

A Detailed Explanation of the Implementation of 8a Certification Program and SBA Certification Program

8a certification Program is a nine years program designated for small and disadvantaged business firms who are well experienced with the racial, ethnic and cultural bias. This program has been targeted to award 5 per cent of the federal contracts each year to the small and disadvantaged businesses. Before moving into the detail of 8a certification let’s have a look on 8a SBA certification Program. The SBA 8a Certification Program is the governmental program run by Small Business Administration (SBA) to advance a hand towards the small disadvantaged businesses to get contracts of the government. Specifically to say, government’s yearly target is at least to get 5 per cent of all the contracts to such type of companies.

The content will include the discussions of the list of questions given below:

What is 8a certification?

What is the difference between 8a and small business?

What are the benefits of 8a Program?

How to apply for 8a SBA certification?

How long does 8a certification take?

How to become SBA 8A certified?

After having to know the answer of all these above questions related to SBA 8a certification, you will gain to have profound knowledge regarding the whole matter of about what is the importance of having the 8a certification? How to apply for it and how to become a SBA certified.

Let’s Start Our Journey of Exploration…………….

What is 8a certification?

Sections 7(j)(10) and 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. §§ 636(j)(10) and 637(a)) authorizes the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish a business development program, which is known as the 8(a) Business Development program. It is an 8(a) program is a robust nine-year program organized and held to help the firms owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

When it is said by someone that my company has 8a certification then this is what basically means that the particular company has applied for the development program of SBA 8a Certification.

8a companies are slated for 5% of Federal Procurement which has historically been approximately 10+ billion dollars. 8a companies are eligible for sole-source contracts of up to 4 million dollars for goods and services and 6.5 million dollars for manufacturing firms. 8a companies are also eligible for joint venture and mentor protégé programs.

What is the difference between 8a and small business?

In the real sense there is no such difference that can be found between 8a and small business. Rather the program of 8a business development is administered and run by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the specific goal to give a push up to the small and disadvantaged business firms to move ahead on the path of growth and development.

The Status of 8a certification is specially provided by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to small businesses that qualifies for having financial assistance, training, mentoring and other types of assistance. To have qualified for the same status, your businesses must fall under the category of economically disadvantaged grouped. You as the owner of the business may have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias.

The 8a Certification Status is outlined in Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act and is specifically designed to assist and allow the small and disadvantaged businesses to compete in the general market.

It is the SBA who identifies several groups that are eligible for 8(a) status, including Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Even if someone who is not a member of one of these groups may still get into the program if they can show significant evidence of having been socially and economically disadvantaged.

The 8a application process is an aggravating process where a very few candidates ultimately meet to have all 50 above SBA requirements for getting an 8a certification. This is where the professionals at Advance 8a provide a partnership that lead to the end goal of getting your firm to be 8a certified.

What are the benefits of 8a Program?

The 8a program is a very vital tool, developed and arranged to help the socially backward and economically disadvantaged owners of the small businesses who are in business dealings for at least two years or more than that. Thus, 8a certification program offers business assistance that are unique and the most valuable one. The benefits that the program can offer you are as follows:

Compete to receive set-aside and sole-source contracts:

To provide a playing field for small businesses, the government helps to limit competition for certain contract. These contracts are known as “small business set-asides” that helps the small business firms to compete and win for federal contracts. There are two types of contracts set-asides and sole-source contracts.
Sole Sourcing accounts for about approximately half of all the 8a sales of $16 Billion dollars annually. The Federal procurement officer meets with the owner of the 8a firm and they agree to project specifics and price. As long as the 8a firm is not found to be more than 10% above market the federal procurement officer can direct award the contract to the 8a firm. In many cases 8(a) firms in their third year and beyond do not even respond to bids any more as the relationships they have developed lead to enough sole sourced contract to keep them busy. It is sole-sourcing limits that are set at $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing.

One-on-one Business Development Assistance:

You will receive one-on-one business development assistance for their term of 9 year from the specialists who are dedicated to serve dedicated business opportunities. The business specialists are there to focus on growth of the firms and to realize the objectives of their businesses.

SBA Mentor-Protégé Program:

You are to pursue opportunity for mentorship from technically experience eligible firms through the Mentor-Protégé Program of SBA. If you are a small business owner then you can have large contracts as a certified 8a business. These can be well achieved by teaming with other partners. This is due to the reason that 8a certified business firms are allowed to make partner with the other firms which is known as a mentor protégé arrangement or a joint venture. This is basically done often with large federal prime contractors. This helps to expand the 8a certified companies to have knowledge on how the government works.

Get to connect with Procurement and Compliance Expert:

You will be connected to procurement and compliance experts who have the better understand of business growth, finance, and government contracting.

Access to Joint Ventures:

This certification of 8a ensures to have joint ventures with already established business firms, helps to increase capacity.

Helps to limit competition:

It is the 8a certification program that is to limit the field of competition for bidding on federal contracts. There are approximately 24 million businesses in the United States only 6,500 have successfully completed the process of obtaining their 8a certification. 5% of all federal spending is earmarked for 8a certified firms which accounts to more than that of $34 billion per year in federal contracts. This is more than $4 million per year in federal spending for per 8a firm.

Cuts through the Federal Bureaucracy:

The SBA acts as a liaison with the 8(a) firm in order to help the 8a firms obtaining the federal contracts. This benefit of the 8a firm in the reduction of time is necessary to achieve its first federal sale. For most 8a firms the SBA will send out letters of introduction which help the 8a firm make initial contact with their targeted market.

Better Pricing Strategies:

It is due to the limited numbers of 8a certified business firms that the small 8a firms are having to receive better pricing than non 8a certified business firms.

Opportunity to Growth:

8a certified business firms have the much growing capability that the peer firms. The Washington Post publishes the fasted growing 50 federal IT contractors each year working for the federal government.

It Boosts the Effectiveness of GSA Schedule:

An 8a certification will greatly increase the effectiveness of a GSA Schedule. When a federal procurement officer visits GSA Advantage the web porthole for GSA buying those procurement officers always seek out 8a firms first. This gives 8a firms an estimated 300% advantage over their non-8a GSA Schedule peers.

Constructor Friendly Construction:

If you have been certified as an 8a business firms then you will be very successful in the award of federal construction contracts compared to their peers. For this over 40 per cent of all the 8a firms are in the field of construction. Moreover since 80 per cent of all the federal construction occurs at facilities for the DOD (Department of Defence) such as Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Bases, the contract dollars are laid out throughout the United States of America and U.S. Territories.

Benefit to have FEMA Contract:

It is the contract of FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Contract) that is benefited to have for you as the owner of the 8a certification program especially when National Disasters Strike to happen. Thus it is the 8a firms that are better equipped administratively to be awarded and thus to help the victims. It is in the past 10 years that there have been 560 designated presidential disasters with $11.5 billion annually spent of which the larger amount has gone to 8a certified business firms.

Probability of Becoming Large Business Concerns:

Once you become the part of an 8a program the probability of yours to become a large business concerns increases even more than two-folds. 30 per cent of the business firms engaged in 8a program have already been able to use their performance ratings and have contacts with the federal government to become large federal prime contractors. They are often to have annual billing system in accessing hundred million dollars.

Advance 8a USA

How to apply for 8a SBA certification?

The SBA 8a Certification Program is the governmental program run by Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide lending hands to small socially and economically disadvantaged business firms via governmental contracts. SBA works to incorporate changes and to bring spark actions so as to help the small business firms to start confidently, grow, expand, or recover in their full form of operation.

But the question comes; can you state to define ‘Disadvantaged Businesses’?

Yes, Disadvantaged business is an organization or business firm which is owned unconditionally and is controlled by one or more individuals that are defined by SBA (Small Business Administration) as socially and economically disadvantaged.

Businesses that will participate in the above mentioned program will receive to have training and technical assistance designed to strengthen their ability to compete effectively in the American economy. The eligible businesses to participate in the 8a program are small businesses owned by Alaska Native corporations, Community Development Corporations, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations.

Thus, being interested to apply for 8a SBA Certification, we need to follow the certain procedures which are mentioned below;

  • At first you need to register with the SAM (System for Award Management). This is the step which is required to log in to the After you get to have the SAM account it means that your business is officially registered to have EIN or TIN for the payment of taxes and also the DUNS numbers.
  • It is prior to the process of registration; you have to gather all necessary governing documents that are required for the process of 8a business certification. The documents that are in need are financial statements, copies of attested federal personal and business tax returns, statements of banks, personal statements of history and any other additional related documents that seems to be important for your eligibility condition to 8a certification.
  • The last step is to check if your business has become eligible for the SBA 8a Program with the above checklist of eligibility and then you have to submit your 8a certification application electronically at

How long does 8a certification take?

It will take 15 days to check your application by the regional DPCE. If is determined by SBA that additional information is needed then you have to submit is within 15 days. Your application then goes back to your regional DPCE. Once your application is considered to be complete the SBA should approve or deny it, but the time period of approval or denial of the application is 90 days. In general, 8a SBA certification process takes nearly 90-120 days on an average. But if your application seems to have inconsistencies or errors, SBA 8a certification may take much longer.

How to become SBA 8A certified?

To enjoy the benefits of 8a certification, you must have to be qualified for the following eligibility criteria of the 8a program:

  • You should have Small business
    The prime requirement to be eligible for the 8a certification program is small business. This program is organised basically for small market players. Your 3 years average revenue must not exceed the certain threshold limit as set by the government.
  • Your business should belong to the Disadvantaged group
    Your business should be owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. This means you should have maximum 51 per cent of the ownership of the business. Specifically to say, if you are an U.S. citizen with average adjusted gross income for the past three years is $250,000 and the true value of his or her own assets does not exceed beyond $4 million.
  • Good Character Certificate:
    To get certified for SBA 8a program you are required to have a good character certificate with no criminal records and should nit have been violated by SBA on any grounds. You should also be very loyal to provide all true information, lacking of which might lead to cancellation and severe steps from SBA.


8a Business firms are small business firms owned by socially and economically disadvantaged business person. This program is administered by the SBA (Small business Administration). SBA is the agency of United Sates engaged to promote growth and development of small businesses. It is the 8a program which is well organised and designed to get Government Contracts through mentoring, procurement assistance, training, financial assistance, management assistance, and technical assistance, and others to have benefits and to have the economic access of mainstream in U.S.A. You as an applicant should have to go through the rigorous application procedure to get certified for the 8a program for 9 years.