Article 2 of 3 Series
The United States Federal Government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world. Though a lot of contracts are awarded to large corporations, the Government is mandated to ‘set aside’ a portion of its business for small businesses. As a small minority owned-business, becoming certified as an 8(a), Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) or Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), can help your business gain access to government contracts and thus, experience explosive growth.
Do you qualify? In order to be considered for any of these certifications, you must be a socially disadvantaged individual. Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities. The social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control.
If you are a small minority business that would like to understand the certification process; learn how your federal 8(a), SDB or HUBZone certification can help to grow your business; and tips and resources to position your business, this article is a great starting point.
The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Program was developed to help small disadvantaged businesses to grow through a program of federal contracting preferences and set-asides. Eligible firms can be awarded federal government contracts on a sole-source or non-competitive basis. Contracts up to $5 million for manufacturing and up to $3 million non manufacturing and service based businesses are available under a non-competitive basis.
- For questions and answers about the 8(a) certification: http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/8abd/faqs/index.html
- For 8(a) Business Development Suitability Tool, an on-line training and self-evaluation course: http://training.sba.gov:8000/assessment
- For a glossary of terms: http://www.sba.gov/contractingopportunities/owners/glossary/index.html
- For a list of SBA district offices: http://www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html
Small Disadvantaged Business
Under this program, small disadvantaged businesses are eligible for special bidding benefits. They can receive a favorable “price evaluation adjustment” of up to 10 percent or a proposal evaluation credit of up to 20 percent if it is bidding as a prime contractor. With this price adjustment, an SDB isn’t pressured to be the lowest bidder to win a contract award. The rules also provide a system of preferences for large businesses that use SDBs as subcontractors.
According to SCORE Greater Knoxville Chapter, businesses designated 8(a) automatically qualifies for SDB certification. When competing for government contracts, SDB’s in industries that show the ongoing effects of discrimination will be able to receive a ten percent price evaluation adjustment over non-disadvantaged business owners.
- For 8(a)/SDB comparison/contrast chart: http://www.scoreknox.org/library/certification.htm
- For questions and answers about the SDB certification: http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/sdb/index.html
According to the SBA, the purpose of the HUBZone program is to provide federal contracting assistance for qualified Small Business Contractors located in historically underutilized business zones in an effort to increase employment opportunities, investment, and economic development in such areas.
The geographic areas may be as large as an entire county or as small as a strip within a town or city. 3 percent of government contracts go to businesses that reside in designated geographic areas. To qualify, your business must be in a HUBZone area and certified through SBA.
- For more information about HUBZone: http://www.sba.gov/hubzone/
- To determine if you are in a HUBZone area: http://map.sba.gov/hubzone/init.asp#address
According to SBA, the agency provides free one-on-one counseling, through their 3 resource partners that are located throughout the country. These agencies can assist you in preparing your application package for certification in the 8(a) Business Development Program.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs): http://www.sba.gov/aboutsba/sbaprograms/sbdc/sbdclocator/SBDC_LOCATOR.html
- Women’s Business Centers (WBCs): http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/public/documents/sba_program_office/sba_ro_do_wbc.pdf
- Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE): http://www.score.org/index.html
In conclusion, if you are a small minority business with products or services that the Federal Government will buy, it makes good business sense to position your business to take advantage of the billions of dollars ‘set aside’ for your business. The government wants to do business with YOU!
Subscribe today to get your ‘Hot off the Press’ articles at Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneurs, Article’s 1, 2 and 3.
In Article 1:
Hey Small Businesses, the Federal Government wants to Do Business with You! 5 Steps to Position Your Business for Federal Contracting
- Important Step #1: Apply for your SIC and NAICS Codes
- Important Step #2: Visit the Small Business Administration (SBA)
- Important Step #3: Obtain a DUNS number
- Important Step #4: Register in the Central Contractor Registration System
- Important Step #5: Start Searching for Federal Procurement Opportunities
In Article 3:
Hey Small Businesses, Corporations wants to Do Business with You! Women-Owned Business Certification
Want to know the advantages of being a certified woman-owned business and how to “use” the certification once obtained?
- Want to meet face to face with major corporations who want to do business with WBE’s.
- And more!
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Sylvia Browder is CEO of Browder Consulting Group, a virtual small business consulting and coaching firm. She is currently employed as a Project Director, business coach and consultant for the Women’s Business Center, Inc., a non-profit economic development organization with a mission of empowering women to start and grow successful businesses. She also serves as a volunteer SCORE counselor, an organization dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. She is also a Technical Assistant Provider for SBA’s Community Express Loan Program. For FREE weekly articles go to Sylvia Browder’s Blog for Women Entrepreneur’s, www.sylviabrowder.com. She can be contacted at email@example.com..
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