8a certification experts

8(a) Certification

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The 8(a) Program is an ownership diversity campaign designed by the SBA to assist organizations that are 51 percent owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

The primary goal of the certification is to help disadvantaged small businesses go on and thrive in a competitive business environment once the nine-year program is completed.

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What is an 8(a) Certification?

Sponsored by the Small Business Association of the United States government, the 8(a) certification program is an ownership diversity campaign. Receiving the certification can level the playing field for your disadvantaged business. 

According to the SBA, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Native Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. 

Those who do not belong to any of the groups can otherwise be admitted to the program if they are capable of showing that their small business is disadvantaged due to race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, or social isolation. 

The goal of the U.S. Federal Government is to award a minimum of five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses annually.

The 8(a) program is a nine-year business development program that provides business training, counseling, technical help, and marketing assistance to firms that have been certified through the application process. 

Qualifying for 8(a) Certification

It is not easy to receive the 8(a) certification, and it can be a challenge just to apply. However, with GSE’s assistance, you can obtain certification and participate in the very profitable sole source contracting vehicle.

As of July 2020, to qualify for the 8(a) socially or economically disadvantaged business program, you must:

  • Be a small business
  • Not already have participated in the 8(a) program.
  • Be at least 51% owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
  • Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $250,000 or less.
  • Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $250,000 or less.
  • Be owned by someone with $4 million or less in assets.
  • Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions
  • Have all its principals demonstrate good character
  • Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.

8(a) Certification Benefits

The benefits that accompany an 8(a) program certification can help your disadvantaged businesses prosper. As part of the five percent of the mandatory federal contracting dollars, the 8(a) certification offers benefits to qualified firms such as:

  • Competition for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program
  • Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development that can push your small business to the next level
  • You can compete for contract awards under multiple socio-economic programs, as they apply—opening doors for you individually and as a business. 
  • Federal Government spent over $29 billion with 8(a) certified firms in 2018.
  • 5% of prime contracts are mandated to be subcontracted to 8(a) certified firms.
  • Sole-sourcing contracts – the 8(a) certification can work as a contracting source where procurement officers can award contracts to 8(a) certified firms without putting them up for bid.
  • An 8(a) firm will benefit from focusing on running their business rather than preparing and submitting complex responses to solicitations and RFQs.
  • Limited competition – only 8500 companies are 8(a) certified out of 24 million businesses in the USA.
  • Joint venture/mentor protégée programs.

How GSE Can Assist with an 8(a) Certification

Although there are countless benefits to being an 8(a) certified business, it can be tough to be accepted by the SBA. The SBA is always making steps to assist disadvantaged small businesses, but the application, acceptance, and paperwork process are still challenging to navigate for the general public. 

By hiring the GSE professionals, your business will receive a dedicated group of experts who can lead you to a better chance of being 8(a) certified. Forget the complications of handling the Federal Government, and let GSE assist your firm. Fill out the preliminary qualification form below to get the process started.


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