The 8(a) Business Development Program offers a broad scope of assistance to small businesses that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. These businesses must be defined as a small business according to the standards for small business concerns, and they must demonstrate a potential for success (usually by being in business for two or more years).
Participants in the program are eligible to receive sole-source contracts up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing. 8(a) firms are also able to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. In order to help achieve program goals, 8(a) firms must maintain a balance between their commercial and government business.
The SBA monitors and measures the progress of participants through annual reviews, business planning, and systematic evaluations.