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8(a) Business Development Program Certification Workshop Schedule for 2012

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Socially and economically disadvantaged business owners from throughout Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties interested in growing their business through federal contracting will benefit from attending one of nine workshops on the 8(a) Certification Program being offered by the Small Business Administration during 2012.  The workshops are scheduled for January 19th, February 16th, March 29th, April 19th, May 31st, June 28th, July 19th, August 23rd and October 18th from 8:30 a.m. to noon and will be held at the SBA Santa Ana District Office, located at 200 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Suite 700, in Santa Ana, CA.

The workshops will focus on helping candidates prepare a winning application package for admission into the 8(a) program.  The free workshops are intended to encourage participation in the business development program, in which certified businesses can qualify for set-aside and sole source contracts with federal buyers.  Additional support available through the 8(a) program includes mentoring, procurement assistance, business counseling, training, financial assistance, and surety bonding.

The instructor for the workshops is Karen Burgess, Lead Business Opportunity Specialist for the Santa Ana District of the Small Business Administration.  As part of the district office's leadership team, Karen is responsible for the compliance and business development aspects of the district's portfolio of 140 8(a) certified firms.  Last year, 8(a) firms based in the district secured more than $102 million in federal contract dollars through their participation in the program.

To qualify for the program, a small business must be owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual.  Under the Small Business Act, certain individuals are presumed socially disadvantaged: African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians), and Subcontinent Asian Americans. An individual who is not a member of one of the groups listed can be admitted to the program if he/she shows - through a "preponderance of the evidence" - that he/she is socially disadvantaged. For instance, an individual may show social disadvantage due to race, ethnic origin, gender, physical handicap, long-term residence in an environment isolated from the mainstream of American society; or other similar causes.  A socially disadvantaged individual must show economic disadvantage by submitting a narrative and personal financial documentation about one’s income, assets, and net worth.  The business must also be small according to SBA’s Size Standards, demonstrate a potential for success (generally by being in business for at least two years), and the business must be owned and controlled by one or more disadvantaged individuals who are US citizens and who are of good character.

Pre-registration for the workshops are required.  Please call Sandra Diaz at (714) 560-7446 or email sandra.diaz@sba.gov for more information.

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