The SBA offers a number of certifications to help companies compete and succeed in the Federal marketplace. Many government agencies require that a certain percentage of all contracting and procurement spending be set aside for small businesses, and further incentivize companies that are able to obtain certain specific SBA certifications that are monitored and administered by the SBA. These certifications are similar to professional certifications in that they document a special capability or status of a certified firm, and can often give the edge in competition for government procurement, as well as make your company more attractive as a teaming partner to the larger prime contractors, who also are held to small business subcontracting goals in the performance of their contracts. While some of the certifications require self-certification via your company’s System for Award Management (SAM) entity registration, there are other, often more valuable certifications that require a formal application to the SBA to be considered for program entry. Among the certifications requiring such an application effort are the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development and HUBZone Programs.
Becoming certified in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program allows firms to take advantage of specialized business training, counseling, marketing assistance and high-level executive development provided by the SBA and their resource partners. Additionally, firms can receive sole-source contracts (up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing). Finally, 8(a) certified businesses can form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances their ability to successfully compete for and perform larger prime contracts. 8(a) certification also allows firms to participate in the coveted 8(a) Business Development Mentor-Protégé Program which allows companies to benefit from other more experienced businesses.
Getting certified as a SBA HUBZone company comes with its own special privileges that include set-aside and sole source contracting as well. In addition, all HUBZone certified firms receive a 10% price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities. HUBZone companies also get to enjoy the Rule of Two in which opportunities must become HUBZone set-aside if, during source and procurement research, the government receives at least two responses from qualified HUBZone companies, which allows for a significant competitive advantage when responding to Request for Information and Sources Sought postings.
Whether you are ready to take on the process of applying for an SBA certification, need assistance with a current certification you have in place, or just want to gain a better understanding of the SBA’s certifications and their requirements, we’re here to help. With more than a decade of hands-on experience assisting firms in all things SBA, our experts are ready to answer your questions and get you on the road to SBA program certification.