By Maria José Subiria
The Small Business and Development Center at Clayton State University -- which is offered through a partnership with the University of Georgia and the U.S. Small Business Administration -- wants to help small business owners learn how to develop relationships with government entities.
The center will present a free workshop aimed at teaching business owners the "ins and outs" of the 8(a) certification application process. The workshop will be held on July 29, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., in room T-152, at the Clayton State School of Business building, at 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow.
Participants must register online at: www.business.clayton.edu/sbdc.
Kyle Hensel, area director for the Small Business Development Center at Clayton State, said those who want to participate in the certification process must be individials who own a business that has been operating for at least two years; is economically disadvantaged, as well as socially disadvantaged, and has experienced racial or ethnic prejudice, or cultural bias.
The certification was created to help small businesses compete in the economy, and access the federal market, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration's web site, www.sba.gov.
Participants are able to receive sole-source contracts with federal government entities, for up to $3 million for goods and services, and up to $5 million in manufacturing.
The U.S. Small Business Administration also encourages 8(a) businesses to form partnerships, or joint ventures, to participate in contract bidding on government projects.
Deandra Stanley, a minority business development consultant for the Small Business and Development Center in DeKalb County, will teach the workshop. She said small-business owners are searching for other avenues to generate revenue during the tough economic times the nation is facing.
"The 8(a) [cetification] step-by-step program helps entrepreneurs begin the process that could possibly open the door to new markets for their products, or services," she said, in a written statement.
Stanley added, in addition to learning how to get 8(a) certification, workshop participants will learn how to register their businesses in the federal government's primary database, the Central Contractor Registration.
The Central Contractor Registration database contains a list of all the companies that seek to do business with the federal government, she said.
Clayton State's Hensel added that, "If a government entity is looking to sign a small business, and they see that a company has received an 8(a) certification status ..., that's a good company to do business with."
According to Hensel, at least 23 percent of all government spending on the federal, state and local levels, goes to small businesses that provide goods and services through contracts.
The Small Business Development Center, which has offices throughout the nation and Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and -- according to the SBA's web site -- was created to provide management assistance to current and future small business owners.