Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

How to Benefit through the 8(a) Business Development Program

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

How to Benefit through the 8(a) Business Development Program

Article excerpt

Simon Hsu spent nine years learning how to create a legacy of sustainable success for his Oklahoma City business, Keybridge Technologies, a computer systems design service.

As one of many small businesses to take part in the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program, Keybridge Technologies is now equipped to succeed in a competitive climate outside of the program.

"From day one, they (SBA) prepare you to build a sustainable business for when you leave the program," Hsu said. "The most benefit of the program is the support you get from the SBA and the opportunities that are set aside for small businesses. But overall, it's the resources you get. From day one, you start working on a plan to succeed."

The Small Business Administration created the 8(a) Business Development Program to help small disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace.

In order to take advantage of the nine-year program, a small business must qualify as socially and economically disadvantaged.

What does that mean? The SBA defines socially disadvantaged as "individuals who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities as members of groups and without regard to their individual qualities," said Pat Smith with the SBA.

Economically disadvantaged individuals are those whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities as compared to others in the same or similar line of business.

According to Smith, businesses that qualify for the 8(a) Business Development Program not only receive specialized training, consulting, counseling and mentorship, but also can get lucrative contracts.

"Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $4 million for goods and services and $6.5 million for manufacturing," said Smith. …

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