This webinar will focus on how the 8(a) BD Program works, its eligibility requirements, and its benefits. It will also provide helpful tips on completing an 8(a) application. The SBA certifies small businesses considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged under its nine-year 8(a) BD Program. Individuals who are members of certain minority groups are considered to be socially disadvantaged. These groups include: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Subcontinent Asian Americans. Firms owned by Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations are also eligible to participate in the program. The 8(a) BD Program helps these firms develop and grow through one-on-one counseling, training workshops and management and technical guidance. It also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace. In fiscal year 2012, small businesses received more than $15.8 billion in 8(a) contract dollars.