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SBA announces increased eligibility for its federal programs

After reviewing small business size standards in 16 industry sectors, the SBA increased the screening parameters for its contracting and lending programs.

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Following a review process in which the Small Business Administration (SBA) received more than 1,100 public comments during the proposal period for four new rules to modify small business size standards based on income in 16 sectors of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), it will now be possible to increase the participation of these businesses in the Agency's federal contracting and loan programs for approximately 59,000 new businesses.

Taking into account the SBA’s criteria to qualify the size of each business, according to what is required by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, the Administration announced the increase of 229 requirements on the extension of these companies in 16 different industrial sectors.

This increase translates into 59,000 new businesses that will have access to the SBA programs, which considers that through these four additional rules, contracting opportunities estimated at approximately $1 billion will be generated for 844 recently qualified small businesses. Likewise, loans of type 96 7(a) and 504 for a value close to $450 million for this type of business will be extended.

“SBA continues to evolve its approach on size standards to ensure that we create access to contracting and loan opportunities for as many small businesses as possible,” noted Bibi Hidalgo, Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development.

The criteria considered in these four size standard rules equally reflect SBA considerations, public comment, and the impacts of the pandemic on small businesses and the broader economy. Despite the fact that the data suggest that the number of requirements should be reduced, the Administration is betting on the increase in 16 industrial sectors to promote the passage of some companies, considered medium-sized, back to the small business segment, while these benefit from the Agency's programs for longer.

“The publication of these final rules will make 59,000 additional firms eligible for millions of dollars in revenue and business expansion opportunities across a wide range of sectors. This expansion is equally important for contracting agencies, as a diverse industrial base helps ensure a healthy supply chain and, in turn, supports our nation’s broader economic health,” highlighted Hidalgo.

In the coming months, the SBA will issue a series of additional rules on size standards in Sector 42 (Wholesale), Sector 44-45 (Retail), and Sector 31-33 (Manufacturing).

For more information on the SBA's revisions to small business size criteria, click here.

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