What is the 8(a) Business Development Program?

The SBA 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program was designed to simplify the federal procurement process for certified business participants. The 8(a) BD Program was developed to enable federal government Program Managers to save time, effort, and cost in the procurement process and to protect the interest of small business concerns.  The program serves to preserve free competitive enterprises and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  Contracting Officers generally have more comfort with a program that is more established, and they’ve had a chance to use successfully for longer. Of the four set aside programs, the 8(a) program represents the least risk. 

Here’s why, at FAR Subpart 19.8:

19.800 General (a) – (c)

Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a) (link is external)) established a program that authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to enter into all types of contracts with other agencies and award subcontracts for performing those contracts to firms eligible for program participation. The SBA’s subcontractors are referred to as “8(a) contractors.”  Contracts may be awarded to the SBA for performance by eligible 8(a) firms on either a sole source or competitive basis.

When, acting under the authority of the program, the SBA certifies to an agency that the SBA is competent and responsible to perform a specific contract, the contracting officer is authorized, in the contracting officer’s discretion, to award the contract to the SBA based upon mutually agreeable terms and conditions.

With projects up to $4 Million, the 8(a) BD Program allows for direct contracting without a lengthy competitive process. 

Why use eTRANSERVICES' 8(a) contract vehicle?
Choosing an 8(a) Firm allows your organization to work directly with a company that is both experienced and efficient in consulting to develop and implement business, technology and engineering initiatives. The benefits of using an 8(a) contract vehicle include:
* Significantly faster procurement process - start the project in days instead of months
* Ability to procure both goods and services
* Streamlined approach to the project - due to reduction in bureaucracy

If you decide to work with eTRANSERVICES as an 8(a) contractor to support your needs? Here's what to do next:
Step 1
Agency Offering (FAR 19.804-2)
Write a "Letter of Intent" that follows the guidelines provided in FAR 19.804-2
Email your "Letter of Intent" to award the procurement to the Richmond SBA for acceptance (Email address:

Step 2
SBA Acceptance (FAR 19.804-3 & 13 CFR 124.503(a))
SBA's "Letter of Acceptance" will be responded to within the following timelines:
Within 2 working days of receipt (Contracts less than $150K)
Within 5 working days of receipt (Contracts between $150K and $4.0M)
Within 10 working days of receipt (Contracts greater than $4.0M)

Acquisitions valued at or below (SAT)

Sole Source Procurements

Competitive Acquisitions

$3,500 - $150,000

Up to $4,000,000

Greater than $4,000,000

  • No offering and acceptance required.  Agency can directly award a firm a requirement that is at or below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT)

  • Offering and acceptance is required.
  • Allow 5 working days at the District office level. On 6th day acceptance may be assumed with the exception for provision of FAR 19.808-1 for 8(a) sole-source procurements that exceed $22 million.

  • Offering and acceptance is required.
  • Allow 5 working days at the District Office level.  If necessary, 5 working days at the Associate Administrator Level; on the 11th day acceptance may be assumed.

Must obtain an eligibility determination from Servicing SBA District Office (Richmond, VA)

Offer and acceptance serves as an eligibility determination.

Must obtain an eligibility determination prior to award

* Offer Letters should be addressed to:  US Small Business Administration - Richmond District Office, 400 North 8th Street, Suite 1150, Richmond, VA 23219-4829