Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act as amended by Congress created the 8(a) business development program. This program enables SBA to assist small disadvantaged firms to develop their businesses. In applying to the program, a firm is rigorously evaluated on its ownership, operations, financial health, and past performance. Once accepted, the firm is required to provide SBA a detailed business plan and annually show continued success as a viable, strong business entity. The SBA certifies firms that are approved for a period of nine years. The SBA has signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with Federal Agencies allowing them to contract directly with certified 8(a) firms. Participants can receive sole source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services.
The 8(a) sole source vehicle provides agencies a simplified and shortened acquisition procedure:
- Reduced decision cycle: the time required to award an 8(a) sole source contract is usually within days.
- Lowered administrative costs: procurement process and time is reduced to a minimum.
- Prices reflecting the best value: agency negotiates with the firm directly to get the best value.
- Credit for promoting small business participation within agency.
- Can initiate a contract with a simple high-level statement of work.
TIME Systems has a great working relationship with the SBA-assigned Business Development Specialist, who is willing to help clarify any issue related to the 8(a) program and facilitate any contract award.