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Government Contracting Made Easy: SBA Introduces A New 8(a) Training Course For Small Businesses

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Government Contracting Made Easy: SBA Introduces A New 8(a) Training Course For Small Businesses

By Marie Johns, Former Deputy Administrator
Published: October 10, 2012 Updated: August 4, 2016

Government contracting provides the leg-up small businesses need to meet their bottom line and become sustainable.  Here at the SBA, and across the Administration, we see government contracting as a win-win. The Federal government gets to work with some of the most innovative, forward-thinking companies. And small firms get tapped into the supply chain of one of the largest buyers in the world. 

The 8(a) Business Development program is one of the best tools the government has to ensure that more small disadvantaged businesses can compete and win contracts in federal, state and local procurement markets.

And that’s why I’m excited to announce the development of a new training series for potential 8(a) firms. The four-part training program aims to inform, educate and engage qualified small contractors in the 8(a) program.  Today, we’re introducing the first two courses in the program. The first, called Setting Expectations, sets the tone for the course and provides an overview of the 8(a) program.  The second, called Introduction to Federal Contracting, is a 40 minute course that outlines SBA resource programs to help more small firms win contracts. This program is part of the larger online training offering under SBA’s Government Contracting Classroom and designed to assist small business owners with the government contracting process. 

We’ve made small business contracting a top priority at the SBA and across the federal government. In fact, since President Obama took office, the SBA has supported over $100.2 billion in Federal government contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses and consistently exceeded the Small Disadvantaged Business goal of five percent, which includes underserved and minority firms. 

The SBA is building on that progress to increase participation and eliminate barriers for small disadvantaged businesses. And this week, here in Washington, we honored 10 Regional Minority Business Persons of the Year from around the country and announced the selection of the National Minority Business Person of the Year. Working with the US Black Chamber, Inc., the National 8(a) Association and JPMorgan Chase, N.A., we also hosted a matchmaking and training event that provided opportunities for underserved businesses to have face-to-face meetings with federal agencies and suppliers, attend training sessions and pre-set matchmaking events.

Helping small businesses succeed is critical to our economy, our communities and our society. And here at the SBA, and across the Administration, we’re committed to ensuring that more small business owners have the access and opportunity they need to grow, build their operations and do what they do best—create jobs.

About the Author:

Marie Johns

Former Deputy Administrator

Marie Johns is a former Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. 


Such amazing things are getting done. There are so many people wanting to start a business, but just don't have the capital. This shows that the money is out there.
This appears to be the Pre-Program for the Prospective 8(a) Program Participant; and it is a very good thing. However, will there also be information included that is targeted to the construction contractor? As an 8(a) firm in its third year, I can attest that a more intense Pre-program should be available to the 8(a)construction firm wanna-be. For sure, clarifying Expectations is critical and your proposed format may satisfy that need adequately. But after an "Introduction to Federal Contracting" in 40-minutes, what additional will be assigned as homework to the construction-related firm to reckon with the challenges of interface with the federal contracting officer in the Federal agencies? Not to take anything away from using on-line resources available to us today, sometimes the face-to-face is still the best way. Is there a specialized curriculum developed for the 8(a) Program Participant in the "Development Phase" (where our firm is today)? We hope to land our first NEGOTIATED construction contract before we are beyond this important phase. This has become an URGENT objective for this firm. We feel that we have done ALL necessary to position correctly, but lacking an "industry expert" to guide us through the "maze" we seem to be stuck. Other than "marketing" (???), what is our next step? We have attended the Mentor-Protege Match-making forums, and these are being made geographically accessible (Thank you). They have a focused content (Thank you). And they offer a practical means to achieve the objective (Thank you). Will you use this model for other information-sharing/training? We do appreciate that you do much with limited resources.
Thanks for this information.
Yeah, business owners would like this news. Thx
It’s a great new for every business owners from SBA by introducing training course for small businesses. Thanks Marie for this article.

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