In order to help small. disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace, the SBA created the 8a Business Development Program.
8a is a business assistance program for qualified small businesses. It offers a wide scope of assistance to qualified Business owners. The company owner is able to participate once in a lifetime for this program. It is a 9 year program. First 4 years are a Developmental Stage and the last 5 years are a Transitional stage. It is 9 years from the day your company is certified.
Participants can receive Sole Source Contracts, There are ceilings to the contacts available to an 8a company and those ceilings are determined by NAICS Codes (North American Industry Classification System). Ceilings values for Goods are currently $4 million and $6.5 for Manufacturing. As the company grows and develops they are encouraged to bid on competitive bids as well. The last 5 years of the program companies percentage of open market work is increased each year to push the company out of the program.
There are three different types of relationships that company owners can consider. These are available to maximize the companies ability to perform well and provide the best service on these contract opportunities. those agreements are a Sub Contract Agreement, Joint Venture Agreement, and the hardest to get is a Mentor Protégé agreement. These agreements allow the company to draw from the experience and resources of a larger and established business.
SBA provides Specialized Business training, Counseling, marketing assistance, and Executive development. SBA guaranteed loans and bonding assistance while they are in the program.
Michael D. Channell