The 8(a) Program is a Small Business Administration (SBA) program intended to provide assistance to economically and/or socially disadvantaged business owners. The initiative, which originated out of Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act—hence its name—provides participants with access to a variety of business development services, including the opportunity to receive federal contracts on a sole-source or limited competition basis. The program has been an important one for thousands of minority entrepreneurs over the past few years.
Certified Women's Business Enterprise (WBE)
A women-owned business is defined as being owned, capitalized, operated and controlled by a woman or group of women. The business must be a "for-profit" business which physically resides in the United States or one of it territories. Some applications require US Citizenship and some will accept legal residency.
Ownership by women means the business is at least 51% owned a woman or group of women. In the case of a publicly-owned business, at least 51% of the stock is owned by one or more women. Further, the management and daily operations are controlled by those women.
Under the schedules program, GSA establishes long-term government-wide contracts with firms to provide authorized ordering offices with access to millions of services and products that they may order from GSA Schedule contractors. Buyers received “most favored customer pricing”, and enjoy shorter acquisition lead-times, lower administrative costs, and reduced inventories. Also, using schedules provide opportunities for buyers to meet small business goals.
There are dozens of different GSA schedule vehicles. Some of the most popular schedules among MBEs doing business with the government are those for information technology products and services, management improvement services, environmental services, financial management services and professional engineering services.