Call Us Today:
(202) 862-4360

Small Business Act SECTION 8(a)

The federal government awards at least 23% of its contracting dollars to small businesses, with a 5% set-aside allocated to “socially and economically disabled” business enrolled in the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) program (named after Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act 1953).

Benefits of the 8(a) program include:

  • Access to set aside contracts that are not accessible to non-enrollees
  • Receiving technical assistance with minority-owned government contracts from SBA District companies
  • Eligibility to participate in the SBA Mentor-Protégé program and acquiring joint ventures
  • Access to business development through the 8(a) program

If you are unsure of your company’s eligibility to apply to the 8(a) program, you may want to consult the Federal Practice Group as our government contract attorneys can assist you in obtaining and maintaining certification.

The requirements for section 8(a) are as follows and vary by each company’s unique circumstance:

  • Must be a small business
  • Be a first time enrollee of the 8(a) program
  • Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged
  • Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $250,000 or less
  • Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $250,000 or less
  • Be owned by someone with $4 million or less in assets
  • Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions
  • All principals must demonstrate good character
  • Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts



Applicants for the program must be screened to ensure each criterion is met. Applicants who are initially denied can appeal the decision. Additionally, once an applicant is certified, there is always a possibility that an award of an 8(a) set aside contract could cause another 8(a) business who lost the bid to then protest your certification. The Federal Practice Group offers legal representation for a wide range of issues encountered by applicants and certified businesses, to include:

  • 8(a) Application Preparation
  • 8(a) Certification Application Review
  • SBA 8(a)a Requests for Reconsideration
  • Termination from the 8(a)a Program
  • Joint Ventures, Mentor Protégé, and Teaming Agreements
  • 8(a) Program Litigation and Appeals
  • Competitive 8a certification cost

We understand the needs of small businesses and work one-on-one with our clients to provide them with the knowledge and tools both to utilize all of the benefits available to companies of their size and to avoid potential pitfalls for contractors unfamiliar with the SBA’s 8(a) requirements.



The proven attorneys at the Federal Practice Group have over a century of combined experience successfully assisting federal employees, government contractors, and military personnel through the most difficult periods of their lives and careers.



Fighting for Justice

Connect with us in our D.C., Oklahoma, or California offices by calling the office number below. We'll provide you with the guidance and representation you need.

Do You Want to...