Federal Certifications

Being certified as a “small business” is significant if you’re interested in government contracting. Why? Because there are certain set-asides that the government must adhere to when they’re looking to buy goods or services – there’s a percentage of business set aside for different kinds of companies, including small, woman-owned, veteran-owned, and other disadvantaged groups. If you want to be a contender in the federal marketplace, your small business has to meet official criteria to be eligible for government contracts. Information and eligibility requirements for each of the federal certifications is below.

Learn about State of California SB, DVBE, & PW-SB certifications here.


8(a) Business Development Program

For socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. 

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HUBZone Program

Small businesses in specific urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.

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Woman-Owned Small Business Certifications

Enables Woman-Owned Small Businesses to compete for federal contracts that are set-aside in industries where women-owned small businesses are underrepresented.

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Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Certification

Provide procuring agencies with the authority to set acquisitions aside for exclusive competition among service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns, as well as the authority to make sole source awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns if certain conditions are met. 

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Small Business & Small Disadvantaged Business

Small businesses can self-represent their status as a small disadvantaged business (SDB) with the federal government by checking the box in their SAM registration on the Assertations page. SAM will automatically assign federal Small Business (SB) status to businesses who qualify based on their SBA size standards.

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All Small Mentor-Protégé program

Learn from an experienced government contractor and get valuable business development help from mentors in several areas.

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This APEX Accelerator is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense.