Size Eligibility

All firms approved, and remaining in, SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program must be a small business. Size is determined by either averaging the firm’s receipts over three years, or number of firm employees.

  • Size is determined by SBA
  • All 8(a) certified firms must be a small business

The firm must be small at the time of application and remain small during the firm’s participation. 

Size eligibility is not limited to looking at just the firm. SBA also looks at the firms and principals relationships with other businesses and other individuals through: 

  • contractual relationships
  • prior relationships
  • family ties
  • common investments

Size and Affiliation Requirements for Approved Firms

Once approved, SBA continuously monitors the firm to ensure that the firm is still small in its primary industry.   If the firm grows to be “other than small”, SBA may consider this to be a success story where the firm has fulfilled its targets, objectives, and goals in its 8(a) business plan.  SBA may then graduate the firm from the 8(a) business development program. The goal of the program is graduation and to enable firms to successfully compete in the private sector without 8(a) assistance. 

Use the size standards tool to understand what firms qualify as a small business. See the affiliation page to learn when your small business might not be considered small for the 8(a) program.