SBA 8(a) Application Support
Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act empowers the SBA to enter into contracts with other agencies to provide supplies, services and construction. In contracting with another agency, the SBA subcontracts all of the performance requirements to a "socially and economically disadvantaged small business concern." Vendor participation is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.
The SBA 8(a) program is a nine year program. A firm may only be certified once under the 8(a) program. During the first 4 years of this program, firms are in a developmental stage or growth stage. For the next 5 years; firms are in a transitional stage. The 8(a) program is SBA's effort to promote equal access for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals to participate in the business sector the nation's economy. The SBA provides assistance to all small businesses. Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals represent a significant percentage of U.S. citizens, and, yet, account for a disproportionately small percentage of total U.S. business revenues.
The program recognizes the historical lack of equal access that minorities and other disadvantaged individuals have had to the resources needed to develop their small businesses. This program assists 8 (a) approved firms to participate in the business sector and to become independently competitive in the marketplace.
To qualify for the program, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual. Presumed disadvantaged groups include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans.
Other individuals can be admitted to the program if they show through a "preponderance of the evidence" that they are disadvantaged because of race, ethnicity, gender, physical handicap, or residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society.
Individual applicants must be a U.S. citizen, be fully employed by the subject firm, posses and demonstrate the technical, managerial, operational experience to manage the firm. Individuals must have a net worth of less than $250,000, excluding the value of the business and primary residence.
Road Map Consulting Assistance with the 8(a) Application Process
Our consultants provide expert assistance in the preparation and submission of the 8(a) application. We collect, analyze, prepare submission documents and professionally format your application, ensuring that it is responsive to the requirements as outlined by the Small Business Administration.
We present your information in a distinctive presentation that distinguishes your package from the thousands of other application received by the SBA. We also proactively address certain “hot buttons” that our consultants have identified that the SBA will be critical of in evaluating, thus assisting you in speeding your application through the process. In the event of issues raised by the SBA in the review of your proposal, we present strong and convincing arguments citing specific Federal Acquisitions Regulations governing the SBA 8(a) Program to overcome any objections preventing your approval. We also keep abreast of ongoing changes to the program and communicate that to our clients, giving them the edge over other companies via for 8(a) status.
Benefits of the SBA 8(a) Designation
The biggest and most powerful benefit of 8(a) participation: vendors can receive sole-source contracts up to a cap of $3.5 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing.
The SBA undertakes an extensive effort to provide contracting opportunities to those businesses certified under their 8(a) program. The SBA maintains close contact with various federal agencies to keep government personnel informed of the 8(a) program goals and procedures and to request that contract opportunities be reserved for the 8(a) program.
There are some federal contracts that are set aside so that only 8(a) certified or SDB certified firms can bid on them. There are other cases where federal contracts are awarded to 8(a) firms without being put out for open bidding. These are called sole source contracts. It is imperative that 8(a) certified firms conduct independent marketing activities for contract opportunities both in the public and private sector. When a 8(a) firm soliciting business with U.S. government departments and agencies identifies contractual opportunities, it may attempt to convince the federal department or agency that it is qualified to undertake the work, and that the firm's name should be submitted to the SBA as the recommended contractor. The SBA does not and cannot guarantee any specific amount of government business for each 8(a) firm.
The SBA has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with 25 federal agencies allowing them to contract directly with certified 8(a) firms (bypassing the SBA's traditional role as "middleman"). 8(a) firms are permitted to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. These changes were intended to help overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract.
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