Release Date: [January 27, 2021]
Release Number: 21-14
Public Comments Due by March 15, 2021
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration published an interim final rule effective January 13, 2021 allowing 8(a) Program participants to elect a one-year program extension in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program due to the challenges of COVID-19.
Eligible 8(a) firms must meet the following qualifications:
- Any firm that participated in the 8(a) Program between March 13, 2020, and September 9, 2020, has the option to extend its program participation for one year from the end of its program term;
- Firms that were terminated, early graduated, or voluntarily withdrew from the 8(a) Program during this period are not eligible for the extension; and
- Firms admitted to the 8(a) Program on or after September 10, 2020, are not eligible for the extension.
- Firms participating in the 8(a) Program on January 13, 2021, will receive an automatic one-year program extension unless they decline it in writing.
- If an 8(a) firm previously elected to voluntarily suspend its program participation in connection with the nationwide coronavirus emergency disaster declaration, the length of the suspension will first be added to the firm’s program term, and the one-year extension will be added to the end of that extension.
- Firms that elect to extend their participation in the program will not be subject to a higher non-8(a) business activity target (BAT) for the extension period. The same 50 percent BAT that applies to the ninth program year will apply to the extended program term.
Firms that do not wish to receive the automatic program extension are required to submit notice of decline in writing to:
- SBA’s Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416 or email to 8aQuestions@sba.gov.
- Firms that were participating in the 8(a) Program as of March 13, 2020, but graduated before January 13, 2021, are eligible for program readmittance.
- Firms seeking readmittance must notify SBA as soon as possible, but no later than March 15, 2021. As a condition of readmittance, a firm must certify that it continues to meet all applicable program eligibility requirements. If readmitted, the extension date is the firm’s original program exit date. For example, a firm with a program completion date of April 15, 2020 is readmitted January 25, 2021, their new program end date is April 15, 2021.
Firms must submit readmittance notification to:
- SBA’s Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416 or email to 8aQuestions@sba.gov
SBA will readmit a firm to the 8(a) Program within five business days of receiving a readmittance request. The firm’s new program completion date is one year from the date it initially completed the program, not the date the final rule was published.
Public comments to the interim final rule can be submitted, identified by RIN: 3245-AH64, by any of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
- Email: Van Tran, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Business Development, Small Business Administration, at 8aQuestions@sba.gov.
Firms participating in the 8(a) Business Development can email questions to: 8aQuestions@sba.gov. For more questions about the 8(a) Business Development program, visit: 8(a) Business Development program (sba.gov).
About the 8(a) Business Development Program
The SBA certifies small businesses considered to be socially and economically disadvantaged under its nine-year 8(a) Business Development Program. The 8(a) program helps these firms develop and grow their businesses through one-to-one counseling, training workshops and management and technical guidance. It also provides access to government contracting opportunities, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace.