This is a user generated content for MyStory, a YourStory initiative to enable its community to contribute and have their voices heard. The views and writings here reflect that of the author and not of YourStory.

How to start a business with 8a certification in the US

The minority certification by SBA provides opportunity to small and disadvantaged companies to do trade with the Federal and its agencies. 

How to start a business with 8a certification in the US

Tuesday April 24, 2018,

4 min Read

Small and disadvantaged business owners in the US cry foul due to the discrimination they face in the commercial market. They are overshadowed and shoved into the background by corporate giants preventing them to earn their share from the market.


The discriminated segment comprises

The native Indians, Middle Eastern Americans, handicaps, and even white women are the victims of the prejudice. They are the major sufferers of the discrimination and need/seek help from the government to perform as any other business owner.

The Federal intervention

The Federal and its agencies buy almost everything and spend billions of dollars in the procurement process. The participation of such small and disadvantaged businesses in federal buying helps them to gain opportunities that they are declined in the commercial market.

The declared policy of Congress for the Small Business Act states that to provide strategic benefits to aid, assist, counsel and protect these businesses. It also makes sure that a fair proportion is allotted to these contractors and subcontractors.

The SBA role in the government contracting

The SBA (Small Business Administration) formed in 1953 is an autonomous US government agency which provides assistance to small businesses to boost economic growth. It provides certification (popularly known as 8a certification) to small and disadvantaged firms and companies to do trade with the Federal and its agencies.

To gain the status of a small business, a large company can easily spin off or fragment itself into small sections to gain the certification. Even the family-owned businesses are the small business and have multiple ownership rights. Even while filling the form for ownership rights, the box can be ticked as a small business by the owner in spite of its status.

To avoid such discrepancies, the SBA describes the small business as “one which is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation.”

The eligibility criteria for 8a certification by SBA

The SBA has certain criteria for the applicants to prove that they are the owner of small businesses. The applicants need to fulfill it to obtain the certification. The vlog below describes the criteria in detail

The 8a certified company owners are eligible for workshops, training classes and other benefits by the SBA to become strong and self - sufficient to survive in the commercial market after the term of 8a certification is over.

The term of 8a certification

The participation in the 8a program is for nine years divided into 2 terms- the first four in the development stage and the next 5 -year term is the transition stage. The term allotted allows other new participants in the coming years and avoid monopoly of the 8a company in the federal market.

Know more about the SBA 8A program

There are few important things to know about the minority program to understand it better

• The owner must be the citizen of the US.

• The program is to benefit the small and disadvantaged business owners.

• the 8A certification does not guarantee contracts from the federal

• it is not mandatory to get the certification to do trade with the federal, anyone can apply for federal contracts

• There are set-asides in the government marketplace. It means that some federal agencies only prefer to buy from the 8a businesses to promote the cause.

The big names of the minority program

There are companies who have gained immense benefits from the 8a program and some of them have gained global recognition as well.

However, getting on the 8A certified list is a tough job but the payoff is very lucrative. Such program does boost the economy and promote businesses in the commercial market as well. Extending a helping hand from the government plays a big role in providing aid to small business owners.