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

| GSA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Post filed in: Small Business

Small businesses work to create jobs, drive innovation, increase America’s global competitiveness and grow the U.S. economy. During National Small Business Week (NSBW), September 13-17, GSA is joining the Small Business Administration (SBA) to highlight the impact of outstanding small business owners from across the nation.

One important resource available to small businesses is SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program, which 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 the 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 website.

Staying connected with the small business community will be key to our success. Outreach, such as workshops and training seminars will continue as we help small businesses navigate the federal procurement process and contribute to our nation’s economic recovery.

Join us September 29th at OSDBU’s National Small Business Training and Matchmaking event. Register now to attend Small Business Works 2021: Level Up & Network Series 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!

To learn more about GSA’s commitment to the small business community, follow us on Twitter @GSAOSDBU or visit GSA's Small Business website.