The 8(a) Business Development program

The 8(a) Business Development program

The federal government tries to award at least five percent of all federal contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses each year.


  • Program benefits

  • 8(a) program qualifications

  • Get certified as an 8(a) small business

Program benefits:

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 contracts in the program

  • Get a Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate federal contracting

  • Form joint ventures with established businesses through a mentor-protege program

  • Receive management and technical assistance, including business training, counseling, marketing assistance, and high-level executive development

You can compete for contract awards under multiple socio-economic programs, as they apply. Read more at

Need help?

If you have questions about applying to the 8(a) Business Development program, contact your local SBA office.

Office of Government Contracting and Business Development 409 Third St. SW eighth floor Washington, DC 20416

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