Step 6: Learn About Small Business Certifications

There are many small business certification programs that document a special capability or status that will help you compete in the marketplace. All certification programs have eligibility requirements and processes for obtaining certification.

The 8(a) Business Development Program was created to help small disadvantaged businesses compete in the American economy and access the federal procurement market.

The Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program is designed to stimulate economic development and create jobs in urban and rural communities by providing Federal contracting preferences to small businesses located in these areas.

The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes contracting officers to set aside certain federal contracts for eligible women-owned small businesses.

The purpose of the Veteran/Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Concern Procurement Program is to 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. (See Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 13 C.F.R. § 125.8-125.10).

A small businesses can self-represent their status as a small disadvantaged business (SDB) if it meets the following SBA eligibility criteria:

  • The firm must be 51% or more owned and control by one or more disadvantaged persons.
  • The disadvantaged person or persons must be socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged.
  • The firm must be small, according to SBA’s size standards

The SBA provides details on each of these programs on their website at

There are two certifications within the state of Alaska that also provide small business contracting programs:

State of Alaska DOT DBE Program (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise):

Municipality of Anchorage DBE Program

Please note that you do not need to have any of these small business certifications to do business with the government. These are specific social-economic programs to stimulate the economy.