SBA 8(a) Qualifications

SBA 8(a) business development eligibility requirements are perplexing and confusing. To minimize this confusion and help the small entrepreneurs determine if 8(a) certification is appropriate for them, GCS (Government Certification Specialist Inc.) offers the SBA 8(a) eligibility requirements.

However, SBA 8(a) program eligibility requirements may change in response to the federal court cases. Thus, we ensure to look at the latest rules and regulations when applying for 8(a) certification.


Here are the core qualification requirements for SBA 8(a) applicants:

Socially disadvantaged

You should be Asian American, Hispanic American, Native American, or African American, or an individual who has experienced chronic, persistent bias against you based on gender, disability, veteran status, culture, race, or some other factor to be eligible for joining the SBA 8(a) program. If you are a person from a non-presumed group, you will need to prove the discrimination and bias you have faced in American business and education to the Small Business Administration.

Personal net worth should not be more than $750,000 Personal Financial and Assets should not be more than $6,000,000

This figure takes into account all the cash that you have, savings and checking accounts, stocks, investment real estate, automobiles, bonds, RVs, motorcycles, and other possessions. The value of your home, IRAs, company, and 401Ks are acknowledged based on the personal financial statement, but they are not counted towards personal net worth limitation.

Annual salary

An 8(a) applicant should be the highest paid individual in the firm, but his annual salary should not cost a lot to the industry and must be reasonable in proportion to the annual gross revenue of the firm.

Market value of all the assets

The market value of all the assets of an 8(a) applicant should not be more than $4 million dollars.

Average 3-year AGI

An applicant’s average 3-year AGI as per his federal tax returns should not exceed $350,000.


The applicant should prove that he or she is an American citizen by providing a passport, birth certificate, and other documents.

Size of the business

The size of the company should be small either in terms of gross revenue or staff levels.


An economically and socially disadvantaged person should have unfettered, full control of the firm including both daily operations and deliberate decision-making. This individual should hold the most powerful designation in the firm.



One or more economically and socially disadvantaged people should own the company. The owner (s) must have 51% or more share in the firm. It would be an added advantage if the entrepreneur is an Alaska Native Corporation, an Indian tribe, a Community Development Corporation or a Native-Hawaiian Organization.

Contract performance

The company applying for 8(a) certification should have a considerable contract performance history including a contract completed within the last year and a good portfolio of projects/clients.

Age of the firm

Many 8(a) applicants think that SBA considers companies that are at least two years old. However, this is incorrect. An essential SBA 8(a) application requirement is that the company must be two or more years of age as proven with 2 or more consecutive years of tax returns showing profits on them. However, firms, which can prove to SBA that they have had many contracts, years of experience, and a lot of revenue as well as resources to succeed within the 8(a) program, will have a chance to be acknowledged early into the program before completing two full years in business.

Potential to succeed

The SBA always looks for stable, established, financially sound and well-documented firms with full-time devoted entrepreneurs who are technically qualified and experienced to operate a business.

Our Easy 8(a) Service Process Book a Call

Shape Round
Free consultation to determine eligibility and, review potential obstacles
Retainer letter and non-disclosure agreement to protect our client's privacy
Consultation with application checklist preparer. Interviews with Social, Economic and Two-Year Waiver narrative writers
Final review of the application
Answer SBA Business Opportunity Specialist's inquiries
Receive SBA Certification Letter