Has your application for the SBA 8(a) program been rejected due to your social / economic disadvantage narrative? Don’t be discouraged, it is not the time to give up, it’s time to get your narrative completed and here’s how.
With less than 8,000 certified SBA 8a companies currently in place (based upon March 2010 data), getting certified is still a complicated and complex process. And there are some unwritten rules to writing the narrative to get it prepared to meet the SBA requirements, known as the “preponderance of evidence” that we will share with you.
Depending upon who is the named owner of the business, will determine what type of narrative you will need to prepare. For example: if you are a designated minority your narrative must only prove economic disadvantage. If you are a woman, non-designated minority, or service disabled veteran business owner your narrative must prove both social and economic disadvantage. If your company is owned by multiple minority owners, each one will need to prepare a narrative as well.
If you are a woman as well as a minority, you can only choose one category. We recommend that you prepare your SBA application as the minority owner, since you will only have to prepare the economic narrative instead of both.
We find that most narratives are rejected for the following reasons:
– Not providing sufficient information to “tell your story”. Most of our client’s narratives that we prepare are between 5-9 pages long. While the SBA 8a application instructions do not give any clue to the length of narratives, we believe that to tell your story to meet the SBA expectations, you have to write more than a couple paragraphs.
– Not including specific details or extended documentation. While the majority of SBA 8a applicants do not have court related documents relating to discrimination and harassment, many of our clients have documents or emails that support their stories of on-the-job nightmares. We recommend that you refer to these documents in your online application and include them with printed documentation to support your narrative.
– Including events in your narrative that address education, career and business history. It is not enough to just write about one aspect of your life, you need to address how you have experienced discrimination in your ability to obtain an education, work for companies in career-building experiences and the variety of business disappointments you have experienced. The best narratives address all three areas.
– Include first hand accounts of your experiences to confirm they really happened. We recommend to clients that they ask former supervisors, co-workers and other staff members that witnessed events of discrimination and harassment to prepare written statements that recount the events you have mentioned in your narrative. This lends credibility to the mentioned events.