Getting that competitive edge: SBA 8(a) Business Development Certification

If you’re a business owner, chances are you've heard of the US Small Business Administration, otherwise known as the SBA. Created in 1953, this organization provides loans, loan guarantees, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to millions of businesses across the United States. As an independent agency of the federal government, the SBA strives to help Americans start, build and grow their business. Additionally, they offer several programs and certifications which allow business owners to compete and thrive in today’s business environment.

While beneficial, these programs require the business owner to devote a substantial amount of time toward completing paperwork, filling out forms and gathering documentation prior to being certified, or accepted into these programs. If you’re a business owner, you know, as well as I, that your time is best spent running your business; not trying to navigate confusing government red tape- this is where DecklanGroup comes in.

A client of ours recently received his SBA 8(a) Certification. We would like to tell you a bit about this program, and how we worked with him to turn his frustration, into a positive game-changer for his manufacturing business.

About the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program

The SBA 8(a) BusinessDevelopment Program was created to help small, disadvantaged business owners compete in today’s competitive marketplace. To be eligible for this program, you must be considered a small or disadvantaged business. This includes the following:

Socially disadvantaged- those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within society because of their race (i.e.: Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian Pacific American, Subcontinent Asian American or others on a case by case basis).

Those who have been subjected to prejudice based on their gender, physical handicap, or long-term residence in an environment isolated from mainstream American society.

Once the socially disadvantaged status has been determined, there are other eligibility requirements which must also be met. However, businesses often get so frustrated with all the hoops they must jump through to establish this status, they often give up before the process has even began.

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure of being retained by a small business owner who had been trying (unsuccessfully) to apply for and receive his 8(a) certification through the SBA. He had spent considerable time away from running his own business, completing the lengthy forms and assembling the submission requirements for 8(a) certification. He was disappointed to find out later that he was denied. He knew he met the criteria for this program, however, was discouraged with all the questions, paperwork and tedious processes required to complete the application process, so he decided to contact us for assistance and determine if it was worth giving another shot.

Once he signed on with Decklan Group, I was able to work with him over the course of three months, and submit a complete application to the SBA for the 8(a) Certification Program. After three more months of going back and forth with countless representatives of the SBA, we received notification that his application was approved!


With this certification, he now has opportunities to bid on government contracts, and receive sole source government contracts up to $6.5 million of which he was not previously eligible. In addition, he can work with other manufacturers to "team up" and bid on contracts. This enhances his ability to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling (the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract). What people may not realize is that government contracts/projects utilizing government funds (i.e.: new MN VikingsStadium), are often mandated to award a percentage of their contracts to firms which have 8(a) certification. This means that without this certification, your firm could be missing out on several opportunities.

In addition to obtaining large government contracts, the certification assigns you an SBA expert from the MN Office, to put together a comprehensive business plan.

Moral of the story? This is one of the many government programs out there which are designed to help you grow your business. Rather than simply dismissing them because they look too time intensive or intimidating, contact us to find out more about how you can take advantage our business to increase your competitive edge. In the long run, hiring us to take you to that next level could be life changing for you and your business.