8(a) Certification Overview

8(a) Certification

About 8(a) Certification Program

Historically, segments of our population have been at a disadvantage when growing their business and competing for government contracts. The Small Business Administration addresses this challenge through their 8(a) Certification business development program.  The program was designed to assist small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to thrive in the competitive business environment.

The 8(a) Certification program is a nine-year program in which small businesses are able to compete for contracts specifically set aside by the federal government. 8(a) certified participants receive training, marketing and technical assistance through SBA’s business development program. This program has proven to be a true accelerator for certified businesses.

8(a) Certification Program Highlights

Some of the Primary Features of the 8(a) Certification Program:

  • Certified businesses can compete for sole-source contracts set aside by the federal government
  • Receive business development training in management, marketing and technical assistance
  • Pursue opportunities for mentorship through SBA Mentor-Protégé program
  • The program guides participants through two phases of growth; the development phase and the transition phases. Each has key developmental steps that foster growth and position companies to successful work with government clients.

Key Benefits of SBA 8(a) Certification

The SBA 8(a) Certification Program Offers a Number of Advantages for Small Business Owners:

  • 8(a) certified companies may receive companies will have access to sole/source non competitive federal contracts up to a maximum of $4 million per contract if they are providing goods and services. Manufacturing businesses may receive a maximum of $6.5 million on a per-contract basis
  • 8(a) certified companies will have access to competitive set-aside federal contracts up to a maximum of $4 million per contract if they are providing goods and services. Manufacturing businesses may receive a maximum of $6.5 million on a per-contract basis.
  • 8(a) certified companies have limited competition on set-aside contracts, as there are less than 7,000 active 8(a) participants in the entire 8(a) program (as of 2022). Large companies are not able to compete for these contracts.
  • 8(a) firms learn from companies that have been down their path via the Mentor/Protege program. They may also partner with these firms on larger contracts, making their bid even stronger.

SBA 8(a) Certification Program Eligibility

To qualify for the 8(a) certification program, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must be designated as a small business per small business guidelines associated with their primary NAICS Code
  • Companies must be at least 51% owned by a U.S citizen who is economically and socially disadvantaged
  • Applicants must have a personal net worth of $750,000 or less, an adjusted gross income of $350,000 or less and assets totaling $6 million or less
  • Applicants must submit at least three years worth of personal and business tax returns, financials statements, articles of organization/incorporation, operating agreements, among other items

The 8(a) program has an online application process through Certify.sba.gov. The application is typically completed in 3 months and requires great attention to detail in order to be executed properly.

Click here to learn how we can help you through the application process. 

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    Client Testimonials

    Ravi Vasist - President, EG Management Services, Inc:

    “I highly recommend Lindsay Thompson to obtain an SBA approved 8(a) certification, 8(a) annual report, Mentor-protégé agreement and Joint-Venture agreement. EG Management Services Inc. has been working with Lindsay since 2011. She helped us to get a SBA approved 8(a) certification as well as a SBA approved Mentor-protégé agreement and it felt effortless. EGMS would like to thank Lindsay for her hard work that provided the best results possible.”

    Stephen Rolston - Principal, Rolston Information Systems Assurance, LLC:

    “Working with Lindsay these past few years has been a wonderful experience. She effortlessly walked me through the process to obtain my business’ 8(a) certification and helped me prepare our annual 8(a) report. In both instances she was responsive, well-organized and extremely detail-oriented. I can’t thank her enough for helping my business obtain and maintain our 8(a) certification through the Small Business Administration. I look forward to working with her again in the future to help us fulfill all of our SBA requirements. I trust no one else more than her to get the job done right the first time.”

    Hugh A. House Jr - President, Eagle Engineering & Development Land, Inc:

    “We’ve had the pleasure of working with Lindsay on several projects over the last few years. She is professional, knowledgeable, and thorough and completed everything ahead of schedule. We have recommended her multiple times to other companies and intend to hire her again for all relevant future projects. We appreciate her help and expertise.”

    Founder and CEO, Amivero:

    “I have had the pleasure of working with Lindsay on my firm’s 8a application. Lindsay helped navigate me through the process and made sure we submitted a complete and accurate application to SBA. Although my application required a social disadvantaged narrative, as I am a Caucasian woman business owner, Lindsay helped me to prepare a solid narrative and was able to get my firm 8(a) certified. Thank you to LIBERTY8a for your assistance and guidance through this entire process.”