May 28, 2024
William Raines Welden Jefferson County

William Raines Welden on How Small Businesses Can Benefit from Set-Asides

William Raines Welden of Birmingham, AL is an advocate for small business empowerment, who understands the pivotal role set-asides play in propelling entrepreneurial ventures to new heights. In the following article, William Raines Welden of Jefferson County discusses how set-asides are shaping the trajectory of small businesses and the instrumental role they play in the journey of entrepreneurs towards sustainable success and community impact.

Small businesses can significantly benefit from set-asides, which are government contracting opportunities reserved exclusively for them. These initiatives are designed to level the playing field, allowing smaller enterprises to compete for government contracts alongside larger corporations.

William Raines Welden Explains Set-Aside Contract Eligibility

Starting a business is already difficult as-is, but to run it at a disadvantage is even more challenging – and the US Small Business Administration (SBA) understands this. As such, they allocate 23% of their spending to small businesses.

In the 23% budget, SBA spends a fixed percentage on the small businesses run by marginalized individuals, including the following:

Business Type/Owners%
HUBZone or 8(a)5
Disabled veterans3

But what is a HUBZone or 8(a)?


William Raines Welden of Birmingham, AL explains that HUBZone stands for Historically Underutilized Business Zone. It’s one of SBA’s programs that provide set-aside contracts to businesses in economically depressed locations.


8(a) is another program that helps minorities run their small businesses – such as Native American business owners, LGBTQIA+ entrepreneurs, or persons with disabilities.

Advantages of Having Set-Aside Business Certifications

William Raines Welden Birmingham AL

William Raines Welden of Birmingham, AL explains that not only does receiving a set-aside contract and certifications provide business owners with assistance – but working with federal contractors can also benefit entrepreneurs in both the public and private sectors. To provide greater insight into what set-aside contracts can do, here are a few examples:

Increased Access to Opportunities

William Raines Welden of Jefferson County explains that set-asides provide small enterprises with access to a pool of contracts that they might otherwise be unable to compete for in a more open market. By default, being awarded a set-aside contract is already promising.

From there, small business owners can expect more opportunities to await them. For instance, The Coca-Cola Company prioritizes small businesses and values supplier diversity.

But other large-scale businesses also uphold similar company values.

William Raines Welden of Jefferson County reports that ultimately, being trusted by the government and private-owned companies can do wonders for a company’s brand and reputation.

Reduced Competition

Set-asides limit the competition to only other small businesses, which tend to be similar in size and resources. This levels the playing field and reduces the likelihood of being overshadowed by larger corporations with greater resources.

Facilitation of Growth and Expansion

Winning a government contract through a set-aside can be a significant milestone for a small business. It not only provides immediate revenue but can also serve as a steppingstone for further growth, allowing the business to expand its capabilities and take on larger projects in the future.

Establishment of Credibility

William Raines Welden of Birmingham, AL says that unlike established companies, small businesses don’t have much of a reputation yet. Therefore, when private contractors work with business owners, they’re rightfully doubtful. Is the business legal? Do the owners comply with standard labor laws? Are their products ethically sourced?

Small businesses with a set-aside certification need not worry about such concerns. Since there are requirements when applying for SBA set-aside programs, anyone awarded with a contract has already provided all the information that the federal agency needs.

Acquiring set-aside certifications will help businesses achieve greater success, boosting a small business’s reputation and credibility. Successfully completing government contracts demonstrates a level of competence and reliability that can attract other clients, both within and outside the public sector.

Stability and Predictability

Government contracts often come with stable, long-term revenue streams. This stability can be crucial for small businesses, allowing them to plan for the future, invest in resources, and hire employees with confidence.

Diverse Portfolio of Clients

Winning government contracts diversifies a small business’s client base. This diversity can help insulate the business from economic fluctuations in other sectors and provide a more stable revenue stream.

Fulfillment of Socioeconomic Goals

William Raines Welden of Jefferson County notes that many set-asides are designed to support specific socioeconomic groups, such as minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses. By participating in these set-aside programs, small businesses can contribute to broader societal goals of economic inclusivity and diversity.

Boosts Reputation

Everyone must forge business relationships.

However, many small business owners find it challenging to do this. Fortunately, for most companies that contract or subcontract their products, set-aside business certifications are enough to trust small businesses.

To them, hard work and dedication make a company seem far more reliable – not the headquarters size, number of employees, or annual revenue.

William Raines Welden Birmingham AL


Set-asides offer small businesses a valuable opportunity to compete in the government contracting arena. They provide access to a market segment that may otherwise be challenging to penetrate, enabling growth, stability, and the establishment of credibility. By actively seeking out and participating in set-aside programs, small businesses can position themselves for long-term success and sustainability.