Small businesses, if qualified, can self-represent their status as a small disadvantaged business (SDB). Doing so could qualify your firm to be considered for federal contracting, including subcontracting, opportunities.
You do not have to submit an application to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for SDB status.
To self-represent as an SDB, you must register your business in the federal government’s vendor database known as the System for Award Management (SAM). Navigate to end of the SAM database to find the section that deals with small business certifications. However, first make sure you and your firm understand the SBA eligibility criteria for SDBs.
In order to qualify as an SDB, generally:
- The firm must be 51% or more owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged persons.
- The disadvantaged person or persons must be socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged.
- The firm must be small, according to SBA’s size standards.
While SBA must still certify all firms that participate in the 8(a) Business Development Program, the requirements to be approved are different and more rigorous than SDB status. If you believe your firm is ready for the 8(a) Business Development program, click here.
For more information on SDB certification, view the October 3, 2008 Federal Register notice which explains why SDBs do not need to submit an application to the SBA.
In addition to self-representing your business as an SDB, if qualified, your firm might also meet the requirements for one or more of the following programs:
- SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program provides managerial, technical, and contractual assistance to small disadvantaged businesses to ready the firm and its owners for success in the private industry.
- SBA’s HUBZone Program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HUBZone certification in part by employing staff who live in a HUBZone. The company must also maintain a “principal office” in one of these specially designated areas.
- The Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible women-owned small businesses.
- The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Procurement Program provides procuring agencies with the authority to set acquisitions aside for exclusive competition among service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.