The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses. The 8(a) Program offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The 8(a) Program is an essential instrument for helping socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs gain access to the economic mainstream of American society. The program helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting.
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:
- Compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program
- Get a Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting
- Form joint ventures with established businesses through the SBA’s mentor-protégé program
- Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development