SBA Dials Back on 8(a) Program “Immediate Family” Restrictions

If you’ve been interested in applying to the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, but have a close family member who has already participated in the 8(a) Program, SBA’s message–until now–has been, for the most part, “thanks, but no thanks.”

But in a new rule taking effect on November 16, 2020, SBA has dialed back on the restrictions applicable to people who want to participate in the 8(a) Program, but who have immediate family members who have previously received 8(a) benefits.

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8(a) Program Participation Down 34% Since 2010

Participation in the SBA’s 8(a) Program has declined from about 7,000 firms in 2010 to only around 4,500 today–a sharp drop of approximately 34% in only six years.

These startling numbers come from a recent SBA Office of Inspector General report, which focuses on whether the SBA properly documented the reasons for admitting certain 8(a) participants.  While that matter is interesting in its own right, the most revealing part of the SBA OIG report is the rapid decline in 8(a) Program participation, and the SBA’s plans to reverse it.

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