8a Certification Checklist – Am I Ready to Apply to the SBA?

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There are many components to the 8a Certification process that determine whether a firm is ready to apply. The following is a list of items that help demonstrate to the SBA that the firm is ready to begin doing work for the Federal Government and will be able to successfully complete contracts that it is awarded.

The Basics:

1. You must be a US Citizen to apply to be part of the 8a program.
2. You must be socially disadvantaged belonging to three different classes of people.
a. A minority as designated by the SBA
b. 30% service disabled veteran
c. White Female, although no presumption of social disadvantage is presumed
3. You must possess all certification necessary to perform the work your firm will provide the federal government.
4. Your firm should take on its final entity type, for example converting from a sole proprietorship to a corporation.
5. All tax returns should be current, and the owner and firm should not be delinquent of any tax liability.
6. All SBA loans should be current.
7. The firm must have at least three customers with none of the customers accounting for greater than 70% of the firms revenue.
8. Your firm must be CRR Registered as well as registered with Dun and Bradstreet.

More Advanced:

1. Ideally the firm has been in business for the past two years. This should be evidenced by the firm’s tax returns.
2. The owner of the firm should have a high degree of competency as demonstrated by degrees and past management experience. A well developed resume should accompany any 8a application
3. Ideally the firm has successfully performed work on governmental contracts. This is especially important if the firm’s length in time in business is under two years.
4. The business owner should be able to demonstrate active participation in the socially disadvantaged group in which he or she is a member. Have letters of reference ready.
5. The business owner should have well documented instances of discrimination which are inhibiting his or her firm from growing as quickly as it could without the presence of discrimination.
6. Financial statements for the firm should be as close to current as possible for the date of the application.
7. The firm should have access to adequate capital in order to perform government contracts.
8. All bonding and insurance necessary to perform government contracts in the firms primary NAICS code should be in place.
9. The firm’s revenue is ideally greater than $250,000 for the past year. If the revenue for the firm was less than $250,000 than an ideal applicant will complete the following steps to augment their application.
a. Have a well constructed business plan for the 8a applicant firm
b. The business owner will have taken classes that are designed to teach the owner how to successfully bid on government contracts.

Getting SBA 8a Certified is a challenging process. Following the above checklist will insure that your firm will have all of the pieces in place before your application is submitted to the SBA.

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