Government Contracting Programs: 8(a) Business Development

A Program Aimed at Helping Government Contractors Succeed

The 8(a) Business Development Program was created by the SBA to give small businesses a fair chance to compete in the world of government contracting. It offers assistance to small businesses owned at least 51% by socially and economically challenged entrepreneurs.

The program helps aspiring contractors start their business in government contracting. It is divided into two stages: the developmental stage which lasts for 4 years, and the transition stage for the remaining 5 years.

What Can Small Government Contractors Gain from the Program?

Under the program, government contractors can receive sole-source contracts, up to a maximum to $4 million for services and products, and $6.5 million for manufacturing. Competitive acquisitions are encouraged while being part of the assistance program.

Small government contractors are assisted in building competitive and industrial knowledge and expertise. Firms under the 8(a) program can also form ventures and teams in contract bidding. Through this, small contractors can participate in bigger projects or contracts, and contract bundling can be avoided.

Government contractors in the 8(a) Program can also take advantage of its Mentor-Protege Program. The Mentor-Protege Program is a program where successful firms provide business development assistance to the contractors under the 8(a) program. The Mentor-Protege Program aims to help the participating government contractors to become competitive, successful, and a strong contributor to the country’s economy.

What are the Conditions and Requirements that You Must Meet under the 8(a) Program?

Government contractors under the program are required to meet the following requirements:

  • A balance must be maintained between commercial and government businesses.
  • The total value of the sole-source contracts that a participating contractor can receive must be limited to $100 million or five times the value of its primary NAIC code.

To ensure that contractors under the program accomplish these goals and requirements, the SBA district offices monitor their progress through annual reviews, business planning and systematic evaluations.

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