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8(a) Business Development Program

The 8(a) Business Development Program helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace.  In order to help small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace, the SBA created the 8(a) Business Development Program. 

The Eastern Washington PTAC provides assistance in working through the 8(a) application process. The Spokane SBA office has the responsibility of overseeing the 8(a) certified entities in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. 

What is the 8(a) Business Development Program?

  • 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.

  • Participation in the program is divided into two phases over nine years: a four-year developmental stage and a five-year transition stage.

Benefits of the Program

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 encourage 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. 

Also, see the Mentor-Protégé Program for more information on allowing starting 8(a) companies to learn the ropes from other more experienced businesses.

Requirements and Goals of the 8(a) Business Development Program

The overall program goal is to graduate 8(a) firms that will go on to thrive in a competitive business environment. There are some requirements in place to help achieve this goal. Program goals require 8(a) firms to:

  • Maintain a balance between their commercial and government business.

  • Limit on the total dollar value of sole-source contracts that an individual participant can receive while in the program: $100 million or five times the value of its primary NAICS code.

To make sure 8(a) firms are on track to accomplish their goals and are following requirements, the SBA district offices monitor and measure the progress of participants through:

  • Annual reviews
  • Business planning
  • Systematic evaluations

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

8(a) Business Development (BD) Program Preparation Checklist

Supporting business information:

  • Active registration in the System for Award Management for the firm, available at (Note: The firm’s DUNS number and EIN, and MPIN must exactly match SAM registration)

  • SBA Form 1010 – 8(a) Business Development Program Application

  • The firm’s past three years filed federal tax returns (must include all schedules and attachments)

  • The firm’s most recent year-end financial statements, including a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet, or current business financial statements (including a balance sheet and income statement) no more than 90 days old from the date of the application’s receipt

  • Two-Year Rule Waiver (if the firm does not meet 13 CFR 124.107(b)(1)) addressing how it meets the below objectives
    • Substantial demonstration of business management experience

    • Demonstrated technical expertise to carry out business plan

    • Adequate capital

    • Record of successful performance on contracts in the firm’s primary industry (please provide a list of current and past Federal and non-Federal contracts within the last 12 months. Include award date, agency/customer name, NAICS code, a description of work, and dollar value including letters of reference to establish successful contract performance).

    • Ability to obtain the personnel, facilities, equipment, and any other requirements to perform on contracts

    • If the firm has not generated revenue, you will be unable to waive the two year rule
  • A list of current and past Federal and non-Federal contracts within the last 12 months. Include award date, agency/customer name, NAICS code, a description of work, and dollar value
  • Proof of signature authority on firm bank account(s) (signature card(s) for firm bank account(s) and/or letter from the bank)
  • List of all contributions or transfers of all assets to-from the Applicant Firm and to/from any of its owners over the past two years. Include dollar value, from whom transferred, to whom transferred, relationship between the parties, date of transfer and copies of any supporting documents and agreements
  • State filings (signed, dated and stamped by the state where the firm does business)
    • Current certificate of good standing
    • Original and current Articles of incorporation, articles of organization
    • DBA (“doing business as”) filings for a sole proprietorship only
  • Governing documents, signed by the principals
    • Current bylaws, operating agreement, partnership agreement
    • The recent meeting minute showing the election of corporate officers and directors
    • All stock certificates (front and back), stock ledger or stock register, transmutation agreements (for community property states), and voting agreements
  • Other Documents: Business licenses (city, county, and state) necessary for the firm’s operations; Bonding information (if firm is in construction); Business loan agreements; IRS Form 4506-T for the firm; Management, joint venture, mentor-protégé, teaming, consulting, and indemnity agreements
  • Background information and personal information for all principals include all individuals claiming social and economic disadvantage
    • SBA Form 1010-IND
    • Resume
    • Completed SBA Form 912, Statement of Personal History
  • Background information and personal information for individuals claiming social and economic disadvantage
    • Nature of outside employment and business interests, as well as official work schedules (including days and times)
    • Verification of social disadvantage in some cases, such as a copy of the birth certificate or tribal enrollment card
    • Proof of U.S. citizenship (i.e., birth certificate, naturalization paper, or unexpired passport) for qualifying individual(s), when the person is born outside of the United States.
  • Personal Financial information*:

    • Three most recent personal Federal income tax returns (IRS Form 1040) including all schedules, statements, and forms(W-2, 1099-R, etc.) for qualifying individual(s) and his/her spouse

    • SBA Form 413 (for qualifying individual(s) and spouse

    • Detailed information regarding the value of all assets (including cash on hand and in banks, accounts and notes receivable, retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, personal property, life insurance, and any other assets), liabilities (such as loans, mortgages, tax debts, and any other liabilities), and income (including salary, investment income, real estate income, and any other income). Funds invested in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or other official retirement account that are unavailable to an individual until retirement age without a significant penalty will not be considered in determining an individual’s net worth. In order to properly assess whether funds invested in a retirement account may be excluded from an individual’s net worth, the individual must provide information about the terms and restrictions of the account to SBA and certify that the retirement account is legitimate.

    • Information on delinquent federal obligations, past due taxes or liens, bankruptcy filings and pending civil lawsuits

    • List of SBA loans for firm and other businesses owned by the principal(s)

  • Transmutation Agreement. A notarized transmutation agreement, if applicable, if the new disadvantaged individual is married and resides in a community property state or territory

  • Three years of past personal filed federal income tax returns including all schedules, attachments, and W2 forms

For more information visit the SBA site. 

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