8(a) Certification

Here are some facts about the 8(a) certification program:

• There are 3 main requirements: 1) be a small business (according to the SBA); 2) be unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (who are of good character and U.S. citizens); and 3) demonstrate a potential for success
• Eligible firms can be awarded federal government contracts on a sole-source basis (up to $3 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing)
• A company that completes the stages of the program is said to graduate and should be prepared to function without the incentives and preferences of 8(a) certification
• Program participation is divided into 2 stages: 1) developmental stage (4 years); and 2) transitional stage (5 years)
• Recent changes permit 8(a) firms to form joint ventures and team up to bid contracts
• SBA has implemented the new Mentor-Protégé Program to allow newly-certified 8(a) companies to learn from experienced businesses

Although the SBA does not certify minority-owned businesses, it does certify small businesses considered to be socially and economically deprived under its nine-year 8(a) Business Development Program. In fiscal year 2010, small businesses received more than $18.4 billion in 8(a) contract dollars. The 8(a) program helps these firms develop and grow their businesses through one-to-one counseling, training workshops, and management and technical guidance. It also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace.

After businesses are accepted into the program, SBA helps them with business development and monitors whether they continue to meet the criteria for the program during the nine-year term or not. SBA’s Mentor-Protégé program is a subdivision of the 8(a) program, which pairs mentor firms with protégé firms to provide joint venture, managerial and technical assistance, and subcontracting opportunities to help the protégé compete successfully for federal contracts. SBA also approves Mentor-Protégé relationships between 8(a) firms and large businesses.

Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing. While we help 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, we also inspire you to participate in competitive acquisitions.

8(a) firms are also able to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances the ability of 8(a) firms to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract.

In addition, 8(a) participants may take advantage of specialized counseling, marketing assistance, business training, and high-level executive development provided by the SBA and our resource partners. You can also be suitable for assistance in obtaining access to SBA-guaranteed loans, surplus government property and supplies, and bonding assistance for being involved in the program.

With over 40 years of experience in government contract law, Malyszek & Malyszek is very knowledgeable in the 8(a) certification field. Call us today for a free initial consultation.