8A Small Business Development Program

The 8a Business Development Program assists eligible socially and economically disadvantaged individuals develop and grow their small businesses.

Questions and Answers About the 8A program

Businesses that usually have been existence for at least two years may be eligible for the nine-year program that includes counseling and training, and potential federal procurement opportunities.

To see if you qualify for the 8(a) business development program, go to https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/8a-business-development-program.
Certified 8(a) Firm A firm owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and eligible to receive federal contracts under the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program.

I Have An 8(a). Now What?

This is a question that many business owners face who have gone through the process of obtaining their 8(a) certification. It is important to target organizations that have an interest in working with 8(a) companies and marketing the business to leverage the program to its fullest.

8(a) Graduation or Termination

  • The term "graduate" is used to refer to a Participant exit from the 8(a) BD Program at the expiration of the Participant term.
  • The term "terminate" is used to refer to a Participant exit from the 8(a)BD Program prior to the expiration of its program term for good cause.
    Examples of good cause include, but are not limited to the following:
    • Submission of false information in the concern 8(a) BD application, regardless of whether correct information would have caused the concern to be denied admission to the program, and regardless of whether correct information was given to SBA in accompanying documents or by other means.
      Failure by the concern to maintain its eligibility for program participation.

    • Failure by the concern for any reason, including the death of an individual upon whom eligibility was based, to maintain ownership, full-time day-to-day management, and control by disadvantaged individuals.

    • Failure by the concern to obtain prior written approval from SBA for any changes in ownership or business structure, management, or control.

    • Failure by the concern to disclose to SBA the extent to which non-disadvantaged persons or firms participate in the management of the Participant business concern.

    • Failure by the concern or one or more of the concern principals to maintain good character.

    • A pattern of failure to make required submissions or responses to SBA in a timely manner, including a failure to provide required financial statements, requested tax returns, reports, updated business plans, information requested by SBA Office of Inspector General, or other requested information or data within 30 days of the date of request.

    • Cessation of business operations by the concern.

    • Failure by the concern to pursue competitive and commercial business in accordance with its business plan, or failure in other ways to make reasonable efforts to develop and achieve competitive viability.

    • A pattern of inadequate performance by the concern of awarded section 8(a) contracts.

    • Failure by the concern to pay or repay significant financial obligations owed to the Federal Government.

    • Failure by the concern to obtain and keep current any and all required permits, licenses, and charters, including suspension or revocation of any professional license required to operate the business.

    • Excessive withdrawals, including transfers of funds or other business assets, from the concern for the personal benefit of any of its owners or any person or entity affiliated with the owners that hinder the development of the concern.

    • Unauthorized use of SBA direct or guaranteed loan proceeds or violation of an SBA loan agreement.

    • Conduct by the concern, or any of its principals, indicating a lack of business integrity. Such conduct may be demonstrated by information related to a criminal indictment or guilty plea, a criminal conviction, or a judgment or settlement in a civil case.

    • Willful failure by the Participant business concern to comply with applicable labor standards and obligations.

    • Material breach of any terms and conditions of the 8(a) BD Program Participation Agreement.

    • Willful violation by a concern, or any of its principals, of any SBA regulation pertaining to material issues.

8a certification requirements
8a certification application
8a applications check list
8a certification benefits
8a Mentor-Protégé Opportunities for all Small Businesses
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