Small Business Program

Small Business

A small business is an entity that is independently owned and operated, not dominant in the field of operation in which it is bidding on government contracts, organized for profit and qualified under specific criteria and size standards.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a size standard for all private sector industries in the U.S. economy, using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to identify industries. Size standards are often stated in number of employees or average annual receipts which represent the largest size that a business may be to remain classified as a small business for SBA's programs. You may visit SBA’s website to review current information about small business size standards for a variety of industry groups.

Eligibility Requirements

  • A small business may not exceed the numerical standards for its industry (refer to NAICS).
  • A small business must register in the System for Award Management (SAM) to conduct business with the U.S. Government

Small Business Goals

The federal government has statutory goals for the following small business procurement:

  • 23 percent of prime contracts for all small business categories
  • 5 percent of prime and subcontracts for women owned small businesses
  • 5 percent of prime and subcontracts for small disadvantaged businesses
  • 3 percent of prime and subcontracts for service disabled veteran owned small businesses
  • 3 percent of prime and subcontracts for Historically Underutilized Business Zone certified small businesses

To view USAID’s current small business goal, visit


Small Disadvantaged Business

A small and disadvantaged business (SDB) is a small business entity owned and controlled by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual and is at least 51 percent owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a socially disadvantage individuals who are individuals who have been subjected to racial and ethnic prejudice or cultural bias within American society because of their identities.
  • Must be economically disadvantage individuals who are also socially disadvantaged whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system has been impaired due to diminished capital and credit opportunities.

8(a) Business Development Program

Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act is a business created to help small disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) and controlled/managed by socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).
  • Must be unconditionally owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantage individuals who are of good character, citizens of the United States.
  • Must demonstrate potential for success, and the principals must show good character.
  • Must register with and be certified by the Small Business Administration.

Service Disabled Veteran Owned

A service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) must be 51 percent owned by one or more qualified disabled veterans whose disability is service related, and the management and daily business operations of which are controlled by one or more qualified service disabled veteran.

Eligibility Requirements

  • The service disabled veteran must have a service-connected disability that has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Defense.

Women - Owned Small Business

A women-owned small business (WOSB) is a small business at least 51percent owned by one or more women, and management and daily business operations controlled by one or more women. A WOSB owner must self-certify through SBA’s Contracting Portal.


Historically Underutilized Business Zone

A Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) is a small business owned and controlled 51percent or more by one or more U.S. citizens. This contracting program is intended to encourage the award of contracts to small business located in designated economically distressed urban and rural areas.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be small business in its primary NAICS code.
  • Must meet one of the following ownerships and control requirements:
    • Owned and controlled at least 51 percent by U.S. citizens;
    • Wholly owned or owned in part by one or more Indian Tribal Governments or by a corporation that is wholly owned by one or more Indian Tribal Governments;
    • An American Native Corporation (ANC) owned and controlled by Natives or a direct or indirect subsidiary corporation, joint venture, or partnership of an ANC;
    • Wholly owned by one or more Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs), or by a corporation that is wholly owned by one or more NHOs, if all other owners are either United States citizens or small business concerns;
    • Wholly owned or owned in part by a certified Development Company; or
    • A small agricultural cooperative or a small business concern wholly owned or owned in party by one or more small agricultural cooperatives.
  • Have the "principle office" located in a HUBZone (Except for certain concerns owned by Indian Tribal Governments).
  • Maintain a principal office located in a HUBZone and ensure that at least 35percent of its employees reside in a HUBZone. Or, Certify that when performing a HUBZone contract, at least 35percent of its employees engaged in performing that contract will reside within any Indian reservation governed by one or more of the Indian Tribal Government owners, or reside within any HUBZone adjoining such Indian reservation.

Last updated: November 16, 2017

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