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Skip Navigation LinksPrograms and Incentives for Minority and Women-Owned Small Businesses :: Step One: Getting Started :: Small Business Guide :: Small Business Center :: Home

Step One: Programs and Incentives for Minority and Women-Owned Small Businesses

Minority and women-owned small businesses face unique challenges. Fortunately, there are many programs geared to help them meet these challenges and succeed.

What is a Minority Business Enterprise?

Minority and Women-Owned Small BusinessesThe United States Small Business Administration (SBA) defines the demographic group that includes minorities as "socially disadvantaged" and defines that description within its website as:

"Socially disadvantaged individuals are those who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group. Social disadvantage must stem from circumstances beyond their control. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, individuals who are members of the following designated groups are presumed to be socially disadvantaged:

  • Black Americans;
  • Hispanic Americans;
  • Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians);
  • Asian Pacific Americans (persons with origins from Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Taiwan; Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao, Hong Kong, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, or Nauru; Subcontinent Asian Americans (persons with origins from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal); and
  • Members of other groups designated by the SBA."

The SBA 8(a) Business Development web site lists the following benefits of the 8(a) program:

  • Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $3 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing. While SBA helps 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, the agency also encourages them to participate in competitive acquisitions.
  • Federal acquisition policies encourage Federal agencies to award a certain percentage of their contracts to SDBs. To speed up the award process, the SBA has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with 25 Federal agencies allowing them to contract directly with certified 8(a) firms.
  • Recent changes permit 8(a) firms to form joint ventures and teams to bid on contracts. This enhances the ability of 8(a) firms to perform larger prime contracts and overcome the effects of contract bundling, the combining of two or more contracts together into one large contract.

Forms for 8(a) Business Development and Small Disadvantaged Business Certification are included with this guide and may be accessed by clicking on the links below:

The 8(a) Business Development Mentor-Protege Program and The Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Certification Program

The SBA offers two additional business assistance programs for small, disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). These programs are the the 8(a) Business Development Mentor-Protégé Program and the Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) Certification Program. Companies which are 8(a) firms automatically qualify for SDB certification.

For more information about programs and resources for minority and women-owned businesses, please click here.

Next: The Business Plan >>>


For more information, contact:

Pat Killette
Small Business Center Director
(919) 209-2015
Johnston Community College | 245 College Road | PO Box 2350 Smithfield, NC 27577
(919) 934-3051 - - Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved.