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Small Disadvantaged Businesses

Since October 2008, small businesses can self-represent their status as a small disadvantaged business (SDB).

You do not have to submit an application to SBA for SDB status.

To self-represent as an SDB, register your business in the System for Award Management. However, you and your firm must still understand the SBA eligibility criteria for SDBs.  Generally, this means that:

  • The firm must be 51% or more owned and control 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 only 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 on why you no longer need to submit an application to SBA.

In addition to self-representing your business as an SDB, if qualified, your firm might also meet the requirements for any 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.