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The 8(a) BD program is one of several small business programs administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) created to help small businesses gain access to the federal marketplace. These small business programs also help the federal government achieve its small business and subcontracting goals (i.e 23% of all federal government contracting dollars to small businesses, and 5% to small disadvantaged businesses).
There are numerous benefits for 8(a) program participants. The most notable benefit is sole-source opportunities. An 8(a) firm can receive sole-source contract awards, without competition, for amounts up to $4 million for goods and services and up to $6.5 million for manufacturing (There are exceptions to these thresholds for 8(a) firms owned by Native Hawaiian Organizations, Alaska Native Corporations, and Indian Tribes). In addition to sole-source opportunities, 8(a) program participants are able to compete for 8(a) set-aside opportunities. A set-aside is a procurement opportunity, whether total or partial, in which only certain businesses may compete.
The 8(a) BD program also offers mentoring and teaming opportunities to allow participating firms to be more competitive. For example, joint venture opportunities provide 8(a) firms the opportunity to partner with other firms to compete for large, prime contracts. Additionally, the Mentor-Protégé program allows 8(a) participants to receive formal mentorship, technical, management and financial assistance from experienced businesses.
To be eligible for the 8(a) program, an applicant must meet four main requirements, including: 1. Must be small; 2. Must be owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; 3. Must demonstrate potential for success; and, 4. Principals must demonstrate good character. An 8(a) firm may participate in the program for a maximum of nine years, which is made up of the developmental stage in the first four years and the transition stage in the last five years.
The 8(a) BD program is a great opportunity for small businesses to get into and get support to succeed in the federal contracting industry. Contact us at (808) 369-9710 to learn more about the 8(a) program and how we can assist you with becoming an 8(a) program participant.