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8(A) Business Development Program

Program Descriptions

Program Number



8(A) Business Development Program


Federal Agency




Small Business Act of 1953, as amended, Section 8(a), 15 U.S.C. 634(b)(6), 636(j), 637(a) and (d); Public Laws 95-507 and 99-661, Section 1207; Public Laws 100-656 and 101-37.






To foster business ownership by individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged; and to promote the competitive viability of such firms by providing business development assistance including, but not limited to, management and technical assistance, access to capital and other forms of financial assistance, business training and counseling, and access to sole source and limited competition Federal contract opportunities, to help the firms to achieve competitive viability.


Types of Assistance

Provision of Specialized Services.


Uses and Use Restrictions

This program utilizes authority provided to SBA under Section 7(j) and 8(a) of the Small Business Act to enter into procurement contracts with other Federal agencies and to subcontract the performance of these contracts to eligible program participants, and to provide access to capital and other forms of financial assistance, and to provide business training and counseling.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Firms applying for 8(a) program participation must meet certain requirements which include, but are not limited to: (a) Status as a small business; (b) at least 51 percent unconditional ownership, control and management of the business by an American citizen(s) determined by SBA to be socially and economically disadvantaged, or by an economically disadvantaged Indian Tribe, Alaska Native Corporation, or Native Hawaiian Organization; and (c) demonstrated potential for success; and (d) possess good character. Absent evidence to the contrary, the following individuals are presumed to be socially disadvantaged: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Individuals who are not members of the named groups may establish their social disadvantage on the basis of a preponderance of evidence of personal disadvantage stemming from color, national origin, gender, physical handicap, long- term residence in an environment isolated from the American society, or other similar cause beyond the individual's control. Economic disadvantage must be demonstrated on a case-by-case basis.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and small businesses owned and operated by such individuals; economically disadvantaged Indian tribes including Alaskan Native Corporations and economically disadvantaged Native Hawaiian organizations.


Documentation to establish that all program eligibility criteria are met.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Electronic application to SBA offices through SBA's webpage at Detailed instructions, and if necessary, assistance in completing application is available at SBA District offices and on SBA's home page at

Award Procedure

Applicant is notified of program participation approval or decline by a letter from the SBA headquarters office. Broad range of business development assistance, including procurement, and access to capital and other forms of financial assistance and business training and counseling is provided to approved program participants.


Applications for program participation are accepted on an ongoing basis.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 90 days.


Within 45 days of the date of decline letter, applicant has right to request that the decision be reconsidered. For applications declined solely on the basis of negative finding with regard to social disadvantage, economic disadvantage, ownership or control of business by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals, the applicant within 45 days of the date of the decline letter or reaffirmation of decline, has a right to appeal the decision to the SBA's Office of Hearing and Appeals.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Maximum of 9 years.


Post Assistance Requirements


Annual business financial statements; annual business plan update; annual personal financial statements for each disadvantaged owner; annual certification of continuing compliance with program eligibility criteria; records of all payments, compensation and distributions made by the participant firm to each of its owners or to any person or entity affiliated with such owners; and other reports deemed necessary by SBA.


Program participation audits as needed to evaluate progress. Contract audits as and when required by Federal Acquisition Regulations.


Standard business/accounting records.


Financial Information

Account Identification



FY 07 $41,191,000; FY 08 est $44,550,000; and FY 09 $48,320,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.


Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2001, 32,091 contract actions valued at approximately $6.59 billion were awarded to companies participating in the program.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

SBA Rules and Regulations, 13 CFR Section 124, SOP 80-05-02.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Initial contact should be made with the field offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Associate Administrator for 8(a) Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20416.

Web Site Address


Related Programs

11.800, Minority Business Enterprise Centers
59.007, 7(J) Technical Assistance
59.009, Procurement Assistance To Small Businesses
59.011, Small Business Investment Companies


Examples of Funded Projects



Criteria for Selecting Proposals



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