Three Small Business Owners Discuss SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program

8(a) Small Business Program May Be a Hassle, but the Payoff? Huge

Sometimes, certain entrepreneurs deserve an edge over the competition. That’s the theory behind a government leg-up program for disadvantaged small-business owners.

Those who may have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias can get help to compete in the marketplace with the SBA’s 8(a) business development program.

If accepted in the program, an entrepreneur is eligible for government sole-source contracts — meaning there are no other competitive bids — up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Businesses that are 8(a) certified can get help securing SBA-backed loans, join in business-education and guidance programs and partner with other business owners to bid on contracts, according to the administration.

To qualify, a small business must be owned and controlled at least 51% by “socially and economically disadvantaged” citizens, meaning they may have faced cultural bias or prejudice as a result of their race or ethnicity. The business must also “demonstrate the potential for success, and the owners must show good character,” according to the SBA. Here’s a full list of requirements.

NerdWallet recently spoke with three small-business owners who benefited from the SBA’s 8(a) program to get a better idea of what it has to offer, as well as advice for other small-business owners interested in the program.

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Source: nerdwallet, Aricle written by Steve Nicastro, Published May 8, 2015
Steve Nicastro is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @StevenNicastro and on Google+.


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