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Could This Be the Time to Enter into the SBA 8(a) Program?

By: Tom Linnertz
Business Opportunity Specialist
North Dakota District Office

Is your business growing, but not as fast as you wish it would? Are you considered by SBA to be Socially and Economically Disadvantaged? Are you an American Indian, African American, Hispanic, Asian, Asian Pacific Islander, Hawaiian Native Corporation or Alaskan Native Corporation?

This could be the time to enter the SBA 8(a) program. Consider that about 5 years ago, North Dakota enjoyed approximately 26 8(a) firms, Minnesota approximately 36 and South Dakota, roughly, 28 firms. Today North Dakota has 9, Minnesota has 27, and South Dakota has 19 8(a) firms. In the last year alone, North Dakota has seen a 35% decrease in firms in the 8(a) program. The average decrease nationwide is approximately 35%.

What does this mean? How does this benefit you? If you are one of the socially and economically disadvantaged persons listed above, you may qualify for the SBA's 8(a) Program. As a program participant, SBA, with the aid of its partners - Procurement and Technical Assistance Centers (PTACS), Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and SCORE - will work with you to provide the tools and knowledge you need to develop your business. SBA will provide assistance to you with federal contract access via contract set-asides, which can allow you to be the sole business negotiating a contract with the federal government.

If you belong to one of the groups listed above and are interested in doing business with the federal government, contact Tom Linnertz, Business Opportunity Specialist in the SBA North Dakota District Office, at 701-239-5131 x215 or thomas.linnertz@sba.gov.

Tom Linnertz, Business Opportunity SpecialistTom has been a Loan Officer and Business Development Specialist for the U.S. Small Business Administration since 1989, and the 8(a) Program manager for the North Dakota District Office since 2002. He served in the Marine Corps from 1971 to 1973 and in the Army Reserve from 1976 through 1997, retiring as a Master Sergeant. Tom can be reached at thomas.linnertz@sba.gov.