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8a Application Narrative Statement of Economic Disadvantage Tips

Mandatory minimum length:  None specified by SBA

Mandatory maximum length:  None specified by SBA

Recommended length:  To ensure you include enough detail aim to write more than one page.

Topics You Should Address in Your Narrative Statement of Economic Disadvantage:

1. How economic disadvantage harmed or constrained your education

2. Economic disadvantage you experienced at past jobs as an employee

3. How you and your business have experienced economic disadvantage in the American marketplace

Other Related Tips:

  • “Disadvantaged” does not mean “destitute.” Your narrative statement must discuss financial hurdles, challenges, and obstacles that have held you back from success and growth, but it should not imply that your company is on the verge of imminent collapse or that you are financially irresponsible.
  • All experiences described must have occurred in the United States and not in other nations.
  • Provide enough detail about each example for credibility, including names, dates, places, dollar amounts, contract numbers, etc.

The GCS Inc. narrative statement of economic disadvantage writing guide containing real and SBA-approved examples is available for purchase and immediate secure access via email through our shop,

For more information or writing help, GCS Inc. can be reached at

Best of luck to you and your disadvantaged small business as federal fiscal year 2013 begins on October 1st!

Why Our 8A Narrative Statement of Social Disadvantage Service Price Has Increased

Government Certification Specialists Inc. recently raised the price of its 8A Narrative Statement of Social Disadvantage writing service to $1,200.00 because the SBA has dramatically increased its “preponderance of evidence” standard in recent months—ostensibly to make it tougher for “non-presumed” individuals to gain admission into the protected SBA 8(a) program—which entails far more labor hours for our staff writers, researchers, and editors.

Whereas a detailed social narrative of about 10 pages in length was typically acceptable to the SBA in the past, the social disadvantage statements we write now are double that length or longer.

In addition, there is an increased need to conduct research to bolster each social narrative, including acquiring quotes, statistics, and legal and court case citations to prove to the SBA what constitutes bias, discrimination, prejudice, harassment, and social disadvantage.

Finally, a standalone narrative statement of social disadvantage is apparently no longer enough to satisfy the SBA even if it contains dozens of detailed descriptions of different incidents and events that harmed the applicant’s business and restricted his or her access to credit and capital—the SBA now demands that each statement of social disadvantage be accompanied by additional separate documentation to prove bias and social disadvantage actually occurred.

This additional burden of proof and documentation is so closely linked and intertwined with the composition of the statement of social disadvantage that our writing service now encompasses both tasks: writing the narrative plus helping each client identify what additional paperwork he or she might possess to help prove he or she is a victim of social disadvantage. This, too, adds to our consultation labor hours.

If you plan to write your statement of social disadvantage on your own—which is understandable considering the price of paying a professional writer to do it for you—here is some fast advice to help you:

1. Document, document, document. Keep a detailed logbook of social disadvantage events that happen to you so that you can give the SBA detailed information. Ask people who see you suffer biased or prejudicial treatment in education, career, or business ownership to write down what they saw and get their statements notarized.

2. File complaints. If possible, when you experience discrimination or bias, file a formal complaint and try to prosecute the incident to receive formal redress from the school, the employer, or the client. Keep copies of your complaint files and do not discard them. Give the SBA copies of your complaint files to prove to the SBA that you protested and fought back when someone violated your rights.

3. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with any applicable laws such as hiring and employment regulations enforced by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the rules governing federal contracts and protests (the Federal Acquisition Regulation). When you write your narrative, be sure to point out to the SBA how the negative treatment you received in education, employment, or business violated federal laws and statutes such as civil rights laws.

Government Certification Specialists Inc. also has an inexpensive downloadable 8(a) narrative writing  kit you can use to help guide you as you write.

And even if you don’t want to use our kit or our social narrative writing service, we always try to answer whatever questions we can free-of-charge—just write to us at if you need help and we will try to assist.

Our 2012 SBA 8a Narrative Writing Guide Is Released and Available for Download

Government Certification Specialists Inc. has released the new 2012 edition of its SBA 8(a) narrative writing guide.

The 2012 edition has been revised and updated to reflect new 8(a) program rule changes that went into effect in 2011 plus we have added more examples of disadvantage to help you brainstorm and remember personal incidents of disadvantage from your past.

The kit contains multiple examples of real 8(a) narratives that were submitted by real 8(a) applicants and approved by the SBA (with names, places, etc. altered to protect privacy and confidentiality.)

Examples in the kit include:

  • Statement of social disadvantage for a Caucasian woman business owner
  • Statement of social disadvantage for an applicant who is claiming discrimination against his ethno-cultural background
  • Multiple statements of economic disadvantage

Use Caution with Automated SBA 8a Narrative Writing Software

One of our clients recently provided us with an SBA 8(a) application narrative he generated himself using an automated software product, and to our horror, the resulting narrative developed by the software system contains numerous remarks and data points that blatantly violate a wide array of SBA 8(a) program rules!

The software product was supposedly intended to help disadvantaged business owners by automating the narrative writing process for them and thus saving them time, yet the narratives generated by this software system can potentially ruin an entire 8(a) application by providing the SBA with remarks that defy 8(a) program rules and extraneous comments that completely invalidate the personal disadvantage examples provided. 

Use caution if you decide to use a software product to automatically create your 8(a) narrative for you–the resulting narrative might not represent you or your experiences in a positive light.

At this time we cannot recommend any automated 8(a) narrative writing software products to you because the risk posed by these systems is just too great.

Nothing compares to a personal 8(a) narrative you thoughtfully craft yourself, one that describes in honest detail the real discrimination, disadvantage, and economic hardship you have faced in your education and career.

Take the time to compose your SBA 8(a) narrative carefully, thoughtfully, and deliberately–the benefits of 8(a) certification make it worth your time and effort, and you want to give the SBA an honest, personal narrative that realistically portrays the challenges you have faced as a business owner.

SBA 8(a) Questions: Can a Caucasian Woman Get 8(a) Certified?

This post, originally authored in 2010, has been updated for 2014.

Yes, Caucasian woman owned businesses can get 8(a) certified, but it is extremely rare.

A Caucasian woman business owner can get 8(a) certified if she can conclusively demonstrate to the Small Business Administration that she has suffered chronic, pervasive discrimination and social disadvantage that has harmed her education and her career, including her small business ownership. (This answer assumes that the applicant meets all of the other 8[a] program criteria, such as economic disadvantage and length of time in business.)

A Caucasian woman 8(a) applicant will have to provide the SBA with a lengthy and detailed social disadvantage narrative containing multiple specific incidents and/or patterns of discrimination from her life, her education and her career. Without multiple examples of discrimination, the SBA will not likely deem the applicant to be “socially disadvantaged.”

The narrative will have to be supplemented with additional evidence of discrimination, such as loan denial letters, payroll records, performance reviews from past jobs, or other documentation. (You do not, however, need to supply the SBA with court records. )

Here is a recent list published by the SBA of forms of evidence the SBA will accept to supplement your personal disadvantage narrative; you can view the most recent list online at

  • payroll records
  • personnel records
  • rejection letters on job applications
  • documents relating to rejected contract offers, i.e., bid abstracts, solicitations, etc.
  • meeting records or related records that document conversations, negotiations, telephone calls, etc.

Again, the key to 8(a) eligibility for a Caucasian woman business owner is to provide the SBA with multiple documented examples of discrimination in business, in career and in education.

One form of documentation a Caucasian woman applicant must provide the SBA is a personal narrative explaining how repeated incidents and patterns of discrimination have harmed her advancement in education, career and business.

The term the SBA uses to describe its burden of proof for Caucasian woman business owners is the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, and this standard of evidence is very high.

A recent court case summarized by attorney Steven Koprince, however, offers hope that more Caucasian women might get their businesses 8(a) certified in the future; however, the SBA has not yet shown any tangible evidence of changing its behaviors when it comes to how the agency treats 8(a) applications from Caucasian women.

Confused About the SBA 8(a) Narrative? Decision Matrix Clarifies 8(a) Narrative Requirements

If you are confused about the Small Business Administration 8(a) application narrative requirements and cannot determine what information you are supposed to provide as a part of your 8(a) application, take a look at this quick, visual decision matrix developed by Government Certification Specialists Inc. to find out which narratives you are supposed to include inside your application:

8(a) Narrative Decision Matrix

This 8(a) narrative flowchart asks you a few basic questions and in turn determines which 8(a)  narratives you are required to provide to the SBA.

While you are certainly encouraged to write your own 8(a) narrative, Government Certification Specialists Inc. is available to do the writing for you if you are tied up running your own business or need some 8(a) narrative help.

We will ask you a series of personal questions to elicit biographical data about your background, then our professional technical writers will compose a multi-page, richly detailed narrative that accurately describes your experiences and meets Small Business Administration 8(a) program criteria.

If you prefer to write your own 8(a) narrative, but you still want some samples and a detailed guide to help you, try the SBA 8(a) Narrative Kit by GCS Inc. that is available for purchase and immediate download at

Government Certification Specialists Inc. is available at 703-350-8381 during standard business hours or you can email us at for more information and assistance.


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