8A Certification: Definition, Requirements, Checklist, and Cost

8A Certification Definition, Requirements, Checklist, and Cost

The 8A program is a great opportunity for businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. It allows them to compete for federal contracts and gives them an edge over larger companies.

To qualify, the business must meet certain criteria, including size requirements, financial eligibility rules, ownership requirements, and more. Additionally, the application process can either be done on your own or through a certification consultant, though the latter option may come with a cost. If you meet all of the requirements and are approved for certification, the 8A program can be an excellent way to help your business thrive. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the definition of 8A certification, the requirements to qualify for it, what’s on a typical 8A certification checklist, and the cost associated with this program.

What Is 8A Certification?

8A certification is a program run by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) that provides government contracts and other assistance to small businesses owned by disadvantaged groups, such as socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. The 8A program helps these small businesses compete for contracts with larger companies and gives them an edge in the competitive business world.

What Are the 8a Certification Requirements?

To qualify for 8A certification, a business must meet certain criteria. This includes:

  • Being at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged.
  • Being small as defined by SBA size standards.
  • Operating an active business in the US.
  • Having experience in the industry of the product/service to be sold.
  • Having a good credit record.
  • Demonstrating a sound business plan and operations.
  • Meeting the financial net worth and annual income requirements set by the SBA.
  • Having a good character of the principal owner and any other person having control over the company.

What Is Included in an 8a Certification Checklist?

In order to qualify for the program, businesses must meet certain criteria. They must:

  1. Meet the federal definition of a small business, as indicated by the SBA’s size standards.
  2. Have not previously participated in the program.
  3. Have a maximum of $6,000,000 in personal assets, $750,000 in personal net worth, and $350,000 in adjusted gross income.
  4. Operate as a for-profit business.
  5. Demonstrate financial responsibility and have been in continuous operation since the start of their most recent fiscal year.
  6. Be owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who:
  • Are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees, or persons admitted as legal immigrants
  • Are typically African-American, Native American, Hispanic American, Asian Pacific American, or Subcontinent Asian American; or
  • Can prove social disadvantage through gender, disability, ethnic origin, race, long-term residence outside mainstream society, or other factors.
  1. Demonstrate potential for success as determined by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
  2. Have no delinquent federal debt and are not presently suspended or debarred from doing business with the federal government.
  3. Have not been convicted of a felony or any criminal activity related to their business and have not had a prior 8(a) program contract terminated for cause.
  4. Show strong character and the ability to meet contractual duties.
  5. Demonstrate potential for success, typically by having been in business for at least two years.

8A Certification Cost?

If you decide to pursue certification on your own, the online application and final certification are both free if you apply for certification yourself.

  • Hiring a certification consultant or service provider may be beneficial for those unsure about obtaining certification. However, it is important to note that these services do come at a cost.
  • These professionals can help ensure you meet all requirements and guide you through the application process.
  • This option also comes with the added benefit of convenience – they will usually manage your application and track its progress on your behalf.

Contact Valet Works for Your Construction & Renovation Projects

Valet Works is the perfect choice for your next general contracting project. We are 8A certified, meaning our team is comprised of experienced professionals who have embraced a commitment to excellence and quality service. With our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, you can trust that we will deliver results that exceed your expectations. Let us help make your vision a reality – contact us today!

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