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Small Business Initiatives

As a leader in providing contracting and subcontracting opportunities to small businesses, we continue to challenge the private sector by encouraging our major prime contractors to seek ways to include small businesses in our procurement process. In order to qualify as a small business, the business must meet the Small Business Administration's size standards.

Learn more about our small business initiatives below, or at


8(a) Pilot Program

Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act authorized SBA to contract for goods and services with federal agencies. SBA then subcontracts actual performance of the work to socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses, which have been certified by SBA as eligible to receive these contracts.

View the DOE-SBA Memorandum of Understanding for 2012 on the 8(a) program here.

The 8(a) pilot program has been an effective vehicle used in developing subcontracting opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses since it was started in 1991.  A major advantage of this program is allowing the government to contract on a noncompetitive basis with socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses. 

The 8(a) program, which is voluntary for our major prime contractors, achieved $167,182 in its first year of operation.  Now, the 8(a) program achievies more than $150 million in contracts.

8(a) Program Authority

The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 644) authorizes the Small Business Administration to enter into contracts for goods and services with other Federal agencies, and reserve up to a value of $3 million ($5 million for manufacturing) in contracts non-competitively to 8(a) certified firms. If a procurement is valued in excess of $3 million ($5 million for manufacturing) and two or more capable 8(a) firms can be so identified, the procurement shall be set-aside for competition among 8(a) firms (FAR 19.805-1(a) (2)).

8(a) Program Benefits

  • Participants can receive sole-source contracts up to $3 million for goods and services, and $5 million for manufacturing.
  • Participants can bid/propose on competitive procurements above $3 million for goods and services, and above $5 million for manufacturing that are set-aside for 8(a) participation only.
  • Participants gain a prime position to market private sector firms to become a protégé.
  • Participants gain a prime position to partner with its private sector prime contractor in order to obtain future procurement opportunities.

8(a) Program Participation
Small business contractors that are 8(a) certified and interested in seeking 8(a) business opportunities with DOE's major prime contractors should access our Directory of Small Business Managers to identify prime contractors that participate in the Program.  When an 8(a) firm receives a contract from a DOE prime contractor participating in the Program, the contract becomes a bilateral agreement between the prime contractor and the 8(a) business concern.  Prime contractors that wish to identify 8(a) business concerns to perform its work may use its own sources or contact our small business office.

HUBZone Program

The HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) Empowerment Contracting provides Federal contracting opportunities for qualified small business concerns located in economically distressed communities.

For additional information on HUBZone or to find out if your business is located in a HUBZone, please visit the SBA website under "Contacts" at the following website: To qualify for the program, a business (except tribally-owned concerns) must meet the following criteria:

  • It must be a small business by SBA standards;
  • It must be owned and controlled at least 51% by U.S. citizens or a Community Development Corporation, or an agricultural cooperative or an Indian tribe;
  • Its principal office must be located within a "Historically Underutilized Business Zone," which includes lands considered as Indian Country and military facilities closed by the Base Realignment and Closure Act; and
  • At least 35% of its employees must reside in a HUBZone.

HUBZone Program Authority

The SBA regulates and implements the program, determines which businesses are eligible to receive HUBZone contracts, maintains a listing of qualified HUBZONE small buisinesses that federal agencies can use to locate vendors, and adjudicates protests of eligibility of receive HUBZone contracts. 

Is your business in a HUBZone? Check here on the SBA's map:

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program

The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small business program allows contracting officers to restrict competition to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that not less than two service-disabled owned small business concerns will submit offers and that an award can be made at a fair market price.

Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Program Authority

The Small Business Development Act of 1999 amended the Small Business Act and added small businesses owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans to the list categories of small businesses for which the Federal agencies develop prime contract goals. On December 16, 2003, President Bush signed Public Law No. 108-183, The Veterans Benefits Act of 2003. Section 308, Procurement Program for Small Business Concerns Owned and Controlled by Service-Disabled Veterans, further definining the goals of the program. On October 20, 2004, President Bush signed Executive Order 13360 concerning the program, and in the following years we issued strategic plans for utilizing the program:  FY 2006 DOE Strategic Plan for Small Business - Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Program, and Reporting Requirements in Accordance with Executive Order 13360, February 28, 2007.

On June 7, 2005, the Secretary of Energy issued a statement outlining the Department's policy on Contracting with Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. In addition, the law authorizes sole source awards to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small business concerns under certain conditions.

For more information on the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small business programs, contact the SBA's Office of Federal Contract Assurance for Veteran Business Owners at (202) 205- 7330,  visit the website or visit the U.S. Department of Veteran Affair's website at

Women-Owned Business Program

Today's Women-Owned Businesses have become the pacesetters in entrepreneurship. Although no set-aside authority exists, we make every effort to identify and advise women business owners of contracting opportunities and to encourage their participation in our procurements. 

Women-Owned Business Program Authority

On May 18, 1979, Executive Order 12138  created a National Women's Business Enterprise Policy. The Executive Order directs all Federal agencies to take action to facilitate and strengthen women-owned business enterprises and to ensure full participation by women in the free enterprise systems. 

The Federal Acquisition Regulation also requires agencies to actively encourage their prime contractors to use women-owned small businesses as subcontractors. Contracts valued as $100,000 or more include a clause to achieve this objective. The Women-Owned Business Program is governed under 48 CFR Subpart 19.9.  Public Law (P.L.) 100-656 provides for a means to monitor the number of subcontracts awarded to women. Our office sets women-owned subcontracting goals with prime contractors, and provides lists of women-owned firms that match subcontracting needs of prime contractors upon request.