The Small Business Administration (SBA) 8(a) business development program enables agencies to engage in direct award contracts with certified contractors.
Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act as amended by Congress, created the 8(a) business development program. Federal Agencies can award contracts directly with certified 8(a) firms. Participants can receive sole source/direct award contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods services and $6.5 million for manufacturing.
The 8(a) direct award component provides agencies a simplified acquisition process:
Reduced decision cycle – time required to award an 8(a) direct award contract is usually within days
Lowered administrative costs, procurement process
Prices reflect 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