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Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act:  The program assists in the expansion and development of existing, newly organized, or prospective profit-oriented Small Disadvantaged Businesses.

SDB & 8(a) Programs

SDB & 8(a) Programs


A Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) is a small business owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group where the disadvantage stems from circumstances beyond their control. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, individuals who are members of the following designated groups are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:

  • African Americans
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Native Americans (American Indians, Native Alaskans, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians)
  • Asian Pacific Americans

Note: Congress has given tribes and Alaskan Native Corporations (ANC's) unique rights in the federal procurement process. These rights provide federal agencies and federal contractors with strong incentives to contract with tribal and ANC firms. Learn more.

SDB status makes a company eligible for bidding and contracting benefit programs involved with federal procurement. One of these benefits is the opportunity to apply/qualify for the 8(a) Business Development Program.

Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, the 8(a) Program was created by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. The program assists in the expansion and development of existing, newly organized, or prospective profit-oriented Small Disadvantaged Business Concerns (SDBC's). Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing. Learn more.

The Department of Navy (DON) target award for SDB's is 5% of its prime contracting dollars. The DON Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP) is committed to providing assistance to SDBC's in doing business with the Navy.

Eligibility Criteria:

To qualify as an SDB a firm must be small according to SBA size standards and at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged persons.

To be eligible to participate in SBA's 8(a) Business Development Program, a firm must be an SDB and meet all additional SBA application and eligibility criteria. 8(a) Program application and eligibility.


Firms that meet the SDB eligibility criteria may self-represent as an SDB in the System for Award Management (SAM).

8(a) Business Development Program certification requires application to the SBA.



SBA Small Disadvantage Business

SBA Online Course for Native American Small business Owners

SBA 8(a) business development

National 8(a) Association


DON Office of Small Business:

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