Recent Developments on SBA 8(a) Program and Affirmative Action

September 9, 2023

Dear USPAACC Members and Partners,

I'm writing about a recent U.S. District Court ruling that is impacting the U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program, which helps small socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs in accessing federal contracts. This ruling's implications will likely extend to supplier diversity, a cause USPAACC has championed since 1998 through today in our "Supplier Diversity Champions" program.

In the Ultima Services Corp. case, a federal judge in the Federal District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee declared a key 8(a) provision that presumes certain racial and ethnic groups as socially disadvantaged, unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. This will affect thousands of minority-owned small businesses that benefited from the 8(a) program that promoted diversity and innovation.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Student for Fair Admissions striking down affirmative action in college admissions policies was cited by the Ultima case in support of its decision.

USPAACC, having advocated for equal opportunities for Pan Asian American/AANHPI and minority-owned businesses since our founding in 1984, is deeply concerned about Ultima's implications on our members and partners. The 8(a) program helps underserved and unserved entrepreneurs by promoting and creating a level playing field. Thousands of Pan Asian American/AANHPI businesses fall under this category.

Diversity bolsters our nation's strength and competitiveness. Our certified members have excelled, created jobs, contributed to innovation, and improved the quality of life in our country. Since we began our certification program in 1998, we have increased business opportunities for the underserved and unserved community with Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies.

We would like to hear from you and welcome your thoughts on the U.S. District Court decision on the SBA 8(a) program in the Ultima case; and the U.S. Supreme Court decision on affirmative action in college admissions policies in the Student for Fair Admissions case.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in having a discussion on these recent rulings, or if you have questions or concerns. As we strive to serve you better, USPAACC will keep you updated on further developments or actions that might interest you.



Susan Au Allen


US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce

Education Foundation (USPAACC)

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