As a minority owned business, you may have heard of the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program. This certification can provide your business with many benefits, from access to government contracts and resources to increased visibility and credibility as a minority-owned business.
Eligibility Requirements for SBA 8a Certification
The first step in becoming certified is understanding the eligibility requirements. To qualify for 8(a) certification, your business must meet certain criteria, such as having at least 51% minority ownership and control of the company. The owner must also demonstrate financial hardship and must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident alien who has operated the business for at least two years prior to applying for certification. All owners must pass a personal background check as well as an acceptable credit check.
Applying for SBA 8a Certification
Once you have determined that your business is eligible, you can apply for certification through the Small Business Administration’s website. The application process requires documentation from all owners that verifies their identity and ownership of the company, along with financial documents such as tax returns and bank statements. Once submitted, it typically takes 3-4 months for an official decision on your application status.
Benefits of SBA 8aCertification
If your application is approved, there are a few key benefits to having an SBA 8a certification:
- Access to government contracts – The federal government sets aside certain contracts exclusively for businesses with an SBA 8a certification; this can open up new opportunities for making money that would not otherwise be available without certification. • Visibility – Having an SBA 8a certification makes it easier for potential government agencies to find you on Sam.gov; resulting in more opportunities for growth and success.
- Credibility – An SBA 8a certification gives your business added credibility when pitching products or services to potential customers; it shows that you take pride in being a minority-owned company and are committed to providing high-quality services or products at competitive prices.
Becoming certified through the Small Business Administration’s 8a program can provide many benefits to your minority-owned business but it is important to understand all of the eligibility requirements before applying. Once certified, you will have access to exclusive government contracts, increased visibility online, and added credibility with potential customers which can help you grow and expand your business even further!
Once certified, companies are given access to a range of opportunities and benefits not available to non-certified firms. These include eligibility for federal contracting set-asides at lower price points than standard contracts as well as potential mentor/protégé relationships with qualified companies who can provide additional support throughout the process. Other advantages include accelerated payment schedules from prime contractors and heightened visibility at conferences and trade shows—allowing 8a certified businesses greater awareness among broader markets.
If you would like to learn more about the SBA 8a program and how BizCentral can help you, call us at 833-217-9667 to schedule you free 20 minute consultation.