Small Disadvantaged Businesses & 8(a)

A small disadvantaged business (SDB) is a small firm owned by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. SDB status provides eligibility for bidding and benefit programs for Air Force and Federal procurements. SDB’s may self-certify their status. SDB certification is a different process and program than the SBA 8(a) Program.

8(a) Program for Business Development

The SBA 8(a) Program requires an application process and certification by the SBA and provides SDBs with a wide variety of business development support and other management and technical assistance, including contracting with the Air Force in sole source and competitive set-asides. Learn more.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Small firms qualify as SDBs if they are at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are citizens of the United States. For exceptions, see below.
  • A publicly owned business may be considered an SDB if:
    • At least 51 percent of its stock is unconditionally owned by one or more disadvantaged individuals; and
    • The public company's management and daily business is controlled by one or more such individuals.
  • Socially disadvantaged groups are those who have been, historically, subjected to "racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias" within the larger American culture, including:
    • African Americans
    • Asian Pacific Americans
    • Hispanic Americans
    • Native Americans
    • Subcontinent Asian Americans
    • Members of other groups may qualify if they can satisfactorily demonstrate they meet established criteria

Economically disadvantaged individuals have been hampered in their ability to compete in the free enterprise system due to impaired access to financial opportunities (in contrast to people in similar businesses who are not identified as socially disadvantaged). The net worth of each individual does not exceed $750,000 subject to certain exemptions. SBA has changed the certification procedures for SDBs, where offerors can self-certify as long as the agency continues to meet its SDB goals.



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