BOSSTECH is pleased to be an SBA 8(a) certified, IT solutions and strategy consulting firm providing transformative solutions for enterprise operations in the government and private sectors, expertly bridging the gap between business strategy and technology.
Q: What is 8(a), anyway?
8(a) is a program for small, minority-owned businesses through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). It is designed to help small businesses grow by providing support from the SBA. Companies are accepted into the SBA 8(a) Business Development (BD) program only after a rigorous certification process, whereby the SBA thoroughly vets the company to determine its ability to perform on government contracts through the 8(a) program.
Every federal government agency has established percentages of their procurement dollars which must be awarded to 8(a) small businesses. Once companies are accepted into the 8(a) program, they remain in the program for only 9 years, when they then “graduate” from the program and will ideally have grown significantly by that time.
Since the SBA administers the 8(a) program and keeps a close watch on the bottom-line health and growth of the companies in the program, they are also involved in the procurement process. Before an agency can award an 8(a) contract, the SBA reviews the opportunity first to make sure the selected company is capable of performing the work. This means that agencies can be confident about awarding 8(a) contracts because the firm has the backing and oversight of the SBA.
Agencies can award 8(a) contracts either through a competitive process open to 8(a) companies only, or by sole sourcing an award non-competitively if the total contract value is under $4 million (for services) or under $6.5 million (for supplies or manufacturing).
Q: How do I award an 8(a) Sole Source Contract?
- Contact BOSSTECH to discuss project details, such as price estimates, time frame, and technical requirements.
- Contact your Contracting Officer (CO), Agency Small Business Specialist or an SBA Business Development Specialist for assistance and provide a package that includes the requirements description, estimated period of performance, applicable NAICS code, anticipated dollar value, etc. (BOSSTECH can help you prepare the package.)
- Your CO will send an offering letter to the SBA requesting permission to conduct sole source negotiations with BOSSTECH. Please email the 8(a) offering letter to email@example.com.
- SBA will confirm BOSSTECH’s eligibility and authorize negotiations.
- Negotiations between BOSSTECH and your CO can now commence.
- Following completion of negotiations, have your CO prepare a contract award document and send to BOSSTECH for signature.
- Once the signed contract from BOSSTECH has been received, your CO can sign and send it to the SBA.
- All steps have been completed and contract performance can now begin.
What are the benefits of sole sourcing an 8(a) contract?
The 8(a) contracting method allows Government Program Managers and Contracting Officers to save substantial time, work, and cost during the procurement cycle simply because 8(a) contracts can be acquired non-competitively when the value of the contract does not exceed $4 million (applicable to services.)
- Every federal agency has percentage goals for 8(a) contracts to meet each year. Sole sourcing an 8(a) contract will help meet your agency’s goals.
- Once you do your first 8(a) sole sourced contract, you’ll see just how easy and convenient it is and will be able to repeat the process for new opportunities, saving time and energy and significantly shortening the procurement cycle.