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SBA Seeking Businesses to Apply for 8(a) Business Development Program

The SBA is looking for businesses interested in applying for the federal government’s 8(a) Business Development Program.

Benefits:  To help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(a) Business Development program.  Disadvantaged businesses in the 8(a) program can:

  1. Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program.
  2. Get a SBA Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting.
  3. Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA’s mentor-protégé  program.
  4. Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development.
  5. You can compete for government contract awards under multiple socio-economic programs, as they apply.


  1. Be a small business
  2. Not already have participated in the 8(a) program
  3. Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged
  4. Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $750,000 or less
  5. Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $350,000 or less
  6. Be owned by someone with $6 million or less in assets
  7. Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions
  8. Have all its principals demonstrate good character
  9. Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts

Certification:   Before you can participate in the 8(a) business development program, you must be certified.  To get certified as an 8(a) business, simply use the website. You’ll need to have a profile at before you can use the certification website. The information you’ll need to provide will vary based on your business structure and whether you’re already participating in other SBA programs.  After you successfully complete your certification process through, you should update your business profile at to show contracting officers that your business is in the 8(a) program.  You’ll receive a letter in the mail informing you if your application was approved or not. If you’re accepted into the program, your profile in the Dynamic Small Business Search will show your approval date and exit date for the program.  Your certification will last for a maximum of nine years. You’ll need to complete annual reviews to maintain your good standing in the program.

Mentor-Protégé Program:  The 8(a) Mentor-Protégé program is designed to encourage mentor businesses to provide development assistance to protégé businesses. The purpose of the mentor-protégé relationship is to:

  1. Enhance the capabilities of the protégé
  2. Help the protégé meet the goals established in its SBA-approved business plan
  3. Improve the protégé’s ability to compete for contracts

A protégé can get valuable assistance from a mentor in several areas, including:

  1. Technical and/or management assistance
  2. Financing in the form of equity investments and/or loans
  3. Trade education
  4. Government contracting

If you are a business interested in applying for this program, contact Andy Alexander, Procurement Specialist, Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

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