SBA: Understanding 8A Certification & TAA Compliance

Here at GSA Contract Pros, we know you want to make the most of your involvement with the federal market and GSA. A Small Business Association (SBA) 8a Certification is helpful for all businesses that meet the criteria. The federal government also offers other SBA contract programs that are set aside for small businesses, limiting the bidding pool to contractors with those certifications.

As with all things government contracting, GSA Pros is here to help your business navigate the programs and certifications that help you succeed. Working with us is as easy as A, B, C.

Our services begin with a free consultation to help you decipher which programs and certifications are best for you.

We’ll help you compile necessary data and meet stringent (and often confusing) application requirements.

You’ll enjoy the many benefits an SBA 8a Certification brings to your small business.

What is 8a Certification?

8(a) is a certification of ownership or diversity that’s sponsored by the Small Business Administration. This certifies that the business is at least 51% owned by a person (or persons) that are determined to be economically or socially disadvantaged. Every year, there are a percentage of federal contracts set aside for 8a certified business, greatly reducing the competition for any 8a Small Business Set Aside Contract. The program also offers business development training and resources that can help small businesses become thriving enterprises.

What are 8a Requirements?

To qualify for the SBA 8a Program, eligibility requirements include:

  • Operate as a small business
  • Have no prior participation in the 8a program
  • Have a business at least 51% owned or controlled by a United States citizen with economic or social disadvantages Meet net worth and adjusted gross income requirements
  • Demonstrate good character and show potential for successful contract performance

If your business meets the criteria, we can help you secure SBA 8a certification. Contact us today and let’s get the ball rolling!

Is 8a Certification helpful for my small business?

Yes! In addition to set-aside and sole-source contracts available with the federal government, the 8a Program also offers business training, technical help, marketing assistance, and business development tools.

These are just some of the benefits available to you, adding to the reasons why entering the federal marketplace is worth it!

How do I get 8a Certified?

First, you must understand the requirements of 8a certification per the code of federal regulations. DUNS and SAM registrations are required and the information you’ll need to provide depends on the structure of your business and your involvement in other SBA programs.

What is an SBA Small Business Set-Aside Contract?

A Small business set-aside contract is a contract that is limited to certified small business. Each different NAICS industry has a different definition of a small business. A percentage of total federal spending is required to go towards business within these parameters. If you’re unsure what the NAICS code is for your business, or if you qualify as a small business under that NAICS, feel free to email and ask us at

What does Set-Aside Mean?

Set-aside means that a percentage of federal spending must be “set-aside” for companies that have certifications for that set aside. For instance, if 25% of total contract spending must go towards small business, then 25% of federal contracts (in funding) will only allow small business to compete in that contract. Each agency has a quota of how much money should be spent on each given certification every year. This means that when a contracting officer is looking into companies to fulfill a contract that doesn’t have any sort of SBA requirements, they will look more favorably on SBA Certified companies in order to fulfill their spending quotas. 

What is Set-Aside “Double Dipping”?

Set-aside double dipping is when a business has more than one SBA Certification and can be counted into the quotas of each certification that they possess. For example: if a company is both a SBA Certified Small Business, and possesses an 8a Certification, they will be counted towards the annual spending quota for both small businesses and 8a businesses.

Other SBA Small Business Set-Aside Certifications

Other than 8a, there are many other Set-aside opportunities:

  • VOSB: Veteran Owned Small Business
  • SD-VOSB: Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
  • WOSB: Woman Owned Small Business
  • HUBZone: Historically Under-utilized Business Zone
  • SBD: Small Disadvantaged Business
  • WOB: Woman Owned Business (other than small business)

VOSB: Veteran Owned Small Business

A VOSB is an SBA Certification for a small business that is majority owned and operated by an individual that is a US Military veteran. 


SD-VOSB: Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

A SD-VOSB is an SBA Certification that a small business is majority owned and operated by an individual that is a US Military veteran, that has a disability related to their military service.


WOSB: Woman Owned Small Business

A WOSB is an SBA Certification that a small business is majority owned and operated by a woman.


HUBZone: Historically Under-utilized Business Zone

HUBZone businesses are businesses that operate in certified historically under-utilized business zones. These are locations that the government has designated in need of economic incentives to increase economic growth.


SDB: Small Disadvantaged Business

Certified Small Disadvantaged Businesses and 8a Certified Businesses are nearly identical in requirements excluding one key difference, SBA SDBs are self-certified while 8a businesses are not.


WOB: Woman Owned Business (other than small business)

A WOB is an SBA Certification that a non-small business is majority owned and operated by a woman.

TAA Compliant Businesses

Contracts with the General Services Administration are subject to compliance with the TAA (Trade Agreements Act). This means to be TAA compliant, products must be manufactured or substantially transformed inside the United States or another approved country.

So whether your business is large or small, there’s room for you in the federal marketplace!

What does it mean to be TAA Compliant?

To ensure that your business is TAA compliant, it’s important to know the countries that are approved for manufacturing. You don’t want to do business or acquire supplies from non-compliant countries. But if your services are purchased from US suppliers or those from approved countries, your business can show compliance.

Contact GSA Contract Pros today to discover how to scale your business with government contracting. We’re standing by, ready to help you walk confidently through the registration process.

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