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8a and SDB Certification
July 29, 2021


To become 8 (a) certified a small business must first be registered with the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Small Minority & Economically Disadvantaged Business.

If non-minority females can show a pattern of discrimination in education, employment, & business history, they are also eligible to apply for SBD registration and 8(a) certification. However the argument is the applicant’s to prove. No assumptions are considered.

To make application requires going to

First one must create a user account. When your account has been created you must complete the required documents to register your entity. This process requires that you fill out the form completely including the requested financial information. When you are notified by the SBA that approval has been granted your company will be recognized as a “Small Minority & Economically Disadvantaged Business”. You will be eligible to do business with the Federal Government.

A fully approved Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) who is interested in participating in the Small
Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) business development program should then answer the following questions prior to making application.

  1.  Am I a small business according to SBA’s business size standards?
  2. Is my business 51% owned by one or more individuals who qualify aqs socially & economically disadvantaged and are U.S. citizens?
  3. Is my business managed, controlled, & operated by one or more individuals who qualify as disadvantages?
  4. Have I been in business at least two years?

It is recommended that you submit your application for the 8(a) business development program electronically. 

An on-line application is available at 

You may submit a paper application for 8(a) certification. A paper application may be obtained by means of a written request to your local SBA (Small Business Administration) District office. This method requires considerably more time to process. The paper application should be submitted to:

US Small Business Administration
DPCE Central Office Duty Station
Parkview Tower
1150 First Avenue
10th Floor, Suite 1001
King of Prussia, PA 19406

A comparison/contrast chart of 8(a)/SBD follows. It is mostly self explanatory except for:

  • The numbers opposite “Economically Disadvantaged of $250,000 & $750,000 means an individual cannot have a personal net worth that exceeds these amounts. Personal residence & assets of the business are excluded.
  • “Certification Term”: 9 years is the maximum time for which 8(a) certification can be obtained. SDB certification is obtained for three years but can be renewed indefinitely.
  • “Price Evaluation Adjustment”: Where mandated qualified SDB’s receive up to a 10% adjustment through a process by which non-SDB bidders have up to10% added to their bids.


SCORE counselors are available to assist qualified business owners with the application processes.

Charles Christiansen, SCORE Counselor; February 2013

The material in this publication is based on work supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration under cooperative agreement SBAHG-04-S-0001. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The information contained in this publication is believed to be accurate and authoritative but is not intended to be relied on as legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. You should consult with a qualified professional advisor to discuss issues unique to your business.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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