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Marie Johns, Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration introduced a new training course for small businesses this week. The 8(a) Business Development program is one of the best tools the government has to ensure that more small disadvantaged businesses can compete and win contracts in federal, state and local procurement markets.

The four-part training program aims to inform, educate and engage qualified small contractors in the 8(a) program. Today, we’re introducing the first two courses in the program. The first, called Setting Expectations, sets the tone for the course and provides an overview of the 8(a) program. The second, called Introduction to Federal Contracting, is a 40 minute course that outlines SBA resource programs to help more small firms win contracts. This program is part of the larger online training offering under SBA’s Government Contracting Classroom and designed to assist small business owners with the government contracting process.

We’ve made small business contracting a top priority at the SBA and across the federal government. In fact, since President Obama took office, the SBA has supported over $100.2 billion in Federal government contracting dollars to small disadvantaged businesses and consistently exceeded the Small Disadvantaged Business goal of five percent, which includes underserved and minority firms.

The SBA is building on that progress to increase participation and eliminate barriers for small disadvantaged businesses. And this week, here in Washington, we honored 10 Regional Minority Business Persons of the Year from around the country and announced the selection of the National Minority Business Person of the Year. Working with the US Black Chamber, Inc., National 8(a) Association and JPMorgan Chase, N.A., we also hosted a matchmaking and training event that provided opportunities for underserved businesses to have face-to-face meetings with federal agencies and suppliers, attend training sessions and pre-set matchmaking events.

Helping small businesses succeed is critical to our economy, our communities and our society. And here at the SBA, and across the Administration, we’re committed to ensuring that more small business owners have the access and opportunity they need to grow, build their operations and do what they do best—create jobs.

For more information, please visit http://www.sba.gov.