Understanding the Differences between Prime Contractors and Subcontractors in U.S. Government Contracts

In the world of U.S. government contracting, businesses can participate as either prime contractors or subcontractors. Each role offers unique opportunities and challenges, and understanding the distinctions is crucial for any company looking to enter the federal marketplace.

Prime Contractor: The Lead Player

A prime contractor is the main entity responsible for the execution of a government contract, holding a direct contractual relationship with the government agency. The prime contractor oversees the entire project, ensuring all aspects are completed on time and within budget. This role involves significant responsibilities, including project management, compliance with contract terms and federal regulations, and managing subcontractors. 

Prime contractors bear the bulk of the project’s risk, which includes financial, performance, and compliance risks. They must ensure that all regulations are followed and that the project meets the government’s requirements. This position offers several advantages, such as having substantial control over the project, maintaining direct communication with the government’s representatives, and potentially securing future contract opportunities. However, it also comes with challenges, including high levels of responsibility, complex compliance requirements, and substantial financial risks associated with delays or performance issues.

Subcontractor: The Specialist Support

A subcontractor is selected by the prime contractor to perform specific tasks or provide specialized services that are part of the larger contract. Subcontractors focus on their areas of expertise, executing particular aspects of the project as defined by their agreement with the prime contractor. They are required to comply with the terms set by the prime contractor, which may include adhering to relevant federal regulations and providing necessary documentation and progress reports.

Subcontracting allows organizations to concentrate on their specialization without the burden of managing the entire project. Subcontractors typically face less financial and operational risk compared to prime contractors, making this an attractive option for many businesses. Additionally, subcontracting can be a valuable stepping stone for gaining experience and building relationships in the government contracting space. However, subcontractors have limited control over the overall project and are dependent on the prime contractor’s decisions and performance, which can affect their success and payment.

Strategic Considerations

Deciding whether to pursue a role as a prime contractor or subcontractor depends on several factors, including your company’s size, resources, experience, and long-term goals. For small businesses, subcontracting can provide a way to gain experience and develop past performance without bearing the full responsibility of a prime contractor. Small businesses can also leverage set-aside programs, such as the 8(a) Business Development Program or HUBZone, to compete for prime contracts with reduced competition.

For larger government contracting organizations, becoming a prime contractor can offer greater control and higher revenue potential. Companies with the necessary resources and expertise may find this path more rewarding despite the higher risks. However, even large contractors can benefit from subcontracting on larger projects, allowing them to participate in significant contracts without assuming the full responsibilities and risks of a prime contractor.

Both prime contractors and subcontractors play crucial roles in the federal contracting ecosystem. Each role offers distinct benefits and challenges, and the right choice depends on your business’s capabilities and objectives. By understanding these differences, companies can strategically position themselves for success in the competitive world of U.S. government contracts.

Cited Sources:

“Prime Contractor vs. Subcontractor: What’s the Difference?” Indeed Career Guide, 2024, www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/prime-contractor-vs-subcontractor#:~:text=A%20prime%20contractor%2C%20sometimes%20also,not%20superior%20to%20these%20subcontractors. Accessed 23 June 2024.

“Prime and Subcontracting | U.S. Small Business Administration.” Sba.gov, 2023, www.sba.gov/federal-contracting/contracting-guide/prime-subcontracting. Accessed 23 June 2024.

Cinco, Cielo. “Prime Contractor vs. Subcontractor: Things You Need to Know – ExecutiveBiz.” ExecutiveBiz, 16 Feb. 2022, executivebiz.com/articles/prime-contractor-vs-subcontractor-things-you-need-to-know/. Accessed 23 June 2024.

Understanding The Many Different Types of Governments For Contractors Interested in Working With The Federal Government

As a federal contractor working with the U.S. government, understanding the various types of government contracts is crucial. Different contract types offer unique benefits and considerations, shaping how projects are executed, costs are managed, and risks are allocated.

1. Fixed-Price Government Contracts

Fixed-price contracts establish a set price for goods or services, providing budget certainty for both the government and the contractor. These contracts ensure that the total cost is known upfront and remains fixed unless there are authorized changes. Contractors bear the risk of cost overruns and must manage costs within the fixed price. This setup incentivizes contractors to control costs and deliver efficiently to maximize profit margins.

Fixed-price contracts are commonly used in construction projects, where the scope is well-defined, and in product delivery, such as manufacturing and delivering specific products like military equipment or software systems. They are also suitable for routine services, like janitorial or maintenance work, where the scope and duration are clear.

Types: Firm-Fixed-Price (FFP), Fixed-Price Incentive (FPI), and Fixed-Price with Economic Price Adjustment (FPEPA).

2. Cost-Reimbursement Government Contracts

Cost-reimbursement contracts reimburse contractors for allowable costs and include an additional profit or fee. These contracts offer flexibility and are suitable for uncertain or complex projects where costs are challenging to estimate upfront. The government shares the risk of cost overruns, which encourages contractors to manage costs effectively.

These contracts are ideal for research and development projects involving innovative technology or scientific research with unpredictable costs. They are also used in exploratory projects, where the scope may evolve based on initial findings, such as environmental impact studies. Additionally, they are appropriate for complex systems integration, where technical requirements may change during the project.

Cost-reimbursement contracts reimburse contractors for allowable costs and include an additional profit or fee. Key aspects include:

Types: Cost-Plus-Fixed-Fee (CPFF), Cost-Plus-Incentive-Fee (CPIF), and Cost-Plus-Award-Fee (CPAF).

3. Time and Material (T&M) Contracts

Time and Material (T&M) contracts reimburse contractors based on actual labor hours and materials used. This contract type offers flexibility, making it ideal for projects with uncertain scopes or durations. Under T&M contracts, the government assumes the risk of cost overruns, which encourages efficient resource use. However, careful management is required to control costs and handle the administrative burden.

T&M contracts are often used for emergency repairs, where the full extent of damage is unknown until work begins. They are also suitable for consulting services, providing expertise on an as-needed basis for project support or management. IT support services, offering technical support or maintenance for government IT systems, are another common use case.

4. Incentive Contracts

Incentive contracts align contractor interests with government objectives by providing financial incentives for performance. These contracts are performance-based, meaning contractors earn incentives for meeting or exceeding specified performance metrics. Both contractors and the government share risks and rewards, promoting collaboration.

Incentive contracts are effective for cost savings initiatives, where cost efficiency is crucial, and savings can be shared between the contractor and the government. They are also used in quality improvement programs focused on enhancing the quality of products or services, with rewards for meeting high standards. Additionally, they are suitable for projects that prioritize timely delivery, incentivizing early or on-time delivery of critical systems or infrastructure.

Types: Fixed-Price Incentive (FPI), Cost-Plus-Incentive-Fee (CPIF), and Cost-Plus-Award-Fee (CPAF).

5. Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts

IDIQ contracts allow for indefinite quantities of goods or services over a specified period. They offer flexibility, enabling the government to procure goods or services as needed without repetitive negotiations. Orders are issued as task orders or delivery orders based on specific requirements.

IDIQ contracts are commonly used for supply chain management, providing ongoing supplies such as medical equipment or office supplies over a contract period. They are also used for professional services, offering consulting, training, or IT services where needs may vary over time. Additionally, IDIQ contracts are suitable for construction services, performing construction or renovation work on an as-needed basis for various projects.

Types: IDIQ, Requirements Contract, and Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA).

Understanding these contract types helps contractors navigate the complexities of government contracting, manage risks effectively, and deliver successful outcomes for government projects. Each contract type offers unique advantages and challenges, shaping how projects are executed and how costs and risks are managed.As a minority owned, Hubzone set-aside holder Sabre88 understands the importance of recognizing which contracts are right for us as a team to bid on so that we have the best chance at winning the right bids, and submitting competitive proposals. 

Sources Sought:

“Subpart 1816.3—Cost-Reimbursement Contracts | Acquisition.GOV.” Acquisition.gov, ACQ.gov, 2024, www.acquisition.gov/nfs/subpart-1816.3%E2%80%94cost-reimbursement-contracts. Accessed 29 May 2024.

“Types of Government Contracts.” Government Contracting Academy, 25 June 2021, governmentcontractingacademy.com/types-of-government-contracts/#:~:text=Cost%2Dplus%20fixed%20fee%20contracts%20require%20that%20you,is%20either%20incredibly%20difficult%20or%20relatively%20undefined. Accessed 29 May 2024.

‌“Types of Government Contracts That You Should Know – GovCon Wire.” GovCon Wire, 24 Mar. 2022, www.govconwire.com/articles/types-of-government-contracts-that-you-should-know/#:~:text=Incentive%20contracts%20are%20types%20of%20government%20contracts,encourage%20efficiency%20and%20excellence%20among%20government%20contractors. Accessed 29 May 2024.

‌Mydeen Ferozkhan. “Different Types of Government Contracts | XcelHR.” XcelHR, 16 Aug. 2019, xcelhr.com/resources/best-hr-articles/govt-contract-types#:~:text=Cost%20Reimbursement%20Contract.%20While%20cost%20reimbursement%20contracts,of%20a%20contract%20cannot%20be%20estimated%20accurately. Accessed 29 May 2024.

Photo Credit:

“Free Photo | Side View of Woman Holding Mug and Working on Laptop at the Office.” Freepik, 2020, www.freepik.com/free-photo/side-view-woman-holding-mug-working-laptop-office_7768800.htm. Accessed 29 May 2024.

Exploring the U.S. Government Contract Opportunities: Federal, State, and Local Contracts

Government contracts are a valuable avenue for businesses seeking growth and impact. Navigating the world of government contracts involves understanding the nuances between federal, state, and local opportunities. Between the three, each procurement channel offers both unique advantages and challenges for government contractors.

Federal contracts are governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), there are hundreds of opportunities that are released on national procurement sites on a daily basis. Federal contracts are typically larger in scope and complexity, and therefore attract intense competition from major corporations and small businesses alike. However, they offer diverse sectors such as defense, healthcare, and technology, with higher budgets and potential for global impact. Federal contracts can be found on SAM.gov, as well as Government Agencies specific procurement sites, they are oftentimes the most easy to find as they come out most frequently in comparison to the other two procurement channels.

In contrast, state contracts focus on regional growth and development. State contracts are governed by state-specific procurement laws, these contracts involve smaller, localized projects that address state-specific needs. While competition is generally less intense, the scope may be limited, and funding budgets tend to be lower compared to federal projects. Strategic approaches for state contracts include tailoring offerings to meet local needs, leveraging local networks for recommendations, and using smaller contracts as stepping stones for growth. State contracts can be discovered on state procurement sites such as NJStart, hosted by the New Jersey state government or the New York State’s Office of General Services.

Local contracts emphasize community impact and relationship building. These projects directly benefit the immediate community, ranging from infrastructure to public services. While processes are often simpler and more accessible to smaller businesses, they are limited to local projects and may have smaller budgets. Small businesses can succeed in local contracts by aligning offerings with community needs, optimizing efficiency in processes, and collaborating with local partners for enhanced capabilities. One such example is Sabre88’s contract with the Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH), a pseudo-government organization whose heavy rail rapid-transit system serves as the primary transit link between Manhattan and neighboring New Jersey urban communities, as well as suburban commuter railroads. Local contracts can be found directly on the websites of the organizations who request the contract work.

Government contractors can strategically position themselves in the procurement landscape by understanding the distinct characteristics, opportunities, and challenges of federal, state, and local contracts. Whether aiming for national visibility, regional growth, or local community impact, government contracts offer many avenues for business expansion and meaningful contributions.

Cited Sources:

USFCR. “Understanding Federal, State, and Local Government Contracts.” Usfcr.com, 2023, blogs.usfcr.com/understanding-government-contracts-federal-state-local. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

“LinkedIn.” Linkedin.com, 2024, www.linkedin.com/pulse/navigating-federal-vs-state-contracts-strategic-guide-boun/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Comparison of Federal and State Procurement Requirements for FEMA Public Assistance Grants to North Carolina Local Governments. www.sog.unc.edu/sites/www.sog.unc.edu/files/general_media/Federal%20and%20State%20Procurement%20Comparison%20Chart%20-%20FEMA_3.pdf.

“NJ Division of Purchase and Property.” Nj.gov, 2024, www.nj.gov/treasury/purchase/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

“OGS Centralized Contracts List.” Office of General Services, 2024, ogs.ny.gov/procurement/ogs-centralized-contracts-list. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

‌Photo Credit:


The History of the White House Easter Egg Roll

The White House Easter Egg Roll is a tradition that has captivated generations of Americans, blending the Easter spirit with the nation’s most important house. Since 1878, the White House has been home to one of the oldest annual events in its history—the Easter Egg Roll. The festive occasion, held on the South Lawn, brings families together in a spirit of joy and camaraderie.

The White House Easter Egg Roll began in the 19th century, when children would roll eggs down the slopes of Capitol Hill on Easter Monday. This tradition, filled with laughter and excitement, quickly gained popularity, becoming a popular Easter pastime for families in Washington D.C. and beyond. However, as the event grew in popularity, concerns arose about the impact of egg rolling on the grounds of Capitol Hill. The playful activities of children rolling eggs down the hill began to take a toll on the landscape, prompting authorities to take action. In 1876, a ban was placed on egg rolling on Capitol Hill, effectively putting an end to this beloved Easter tradition in that location.

Despite the ban, the spirit of Easter and the joy of egg rolling remained alive in the hearts of children and families. In a moment of inspiration and goodwill, President Rutherford B. Hayes made a historic decision in 1878 that would forever change the course of Easter celebrations in America. Recognizing the importance of preserving traditions and fostering a sense of community, President Hayes opened the South Lawn of the White House to egg rollers.

Throughout history, American presidents and their families have added their own unique touches to the Easter Egg Roll. From egg roll races hosted by the Nixons to wooden egg hunts with signatures of famous people by the Reagans, each administration has left its mark on this iconic event. Over the years, the Egg Roll has been enhanced by memorable attractions and souvenirs. From certificates of participation to plastic eggs with notes from First Ladies, these mementos add to the magic of the day.

The Egg Roll is not just a singular event but a day filled with many Easter related activities that cater to people of all ages and interests. Beyond the traditional egg rolling, attendees can immerse themselves in a world of excitement and fun through a variety of engaging and entertaining activities. One of the highlights is the egg ball game, where participants use specially designed balls resembling eggs to play a unique and lively version of traditional ball games. Another popular activity is the egg toss and catch, where participants form teams and test their coordination and teamwork skills by tossing and catching eggs at varying distances.

In addition to these egg-themed activities, the event offers a range of live entertainment options that cater to diverse tastes and interests. From musical performances and dance showcases to interactive shows and demonstrations, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and be entertained by. Moreover, storytelling sessions add a touch of magic and imagination to the day, transporting participants into enchanting worlds of  tales and adventures. Storytellers captivate audiences of all ages with their engaging narratives, fostering a love for storytelling and literature among attendees.

The Egg Roll has weathered challenges, including cancellations during wartime and inclement weather. Yet, it has always bounced back, showcasing the resilience and enduring spirit of the White House and its traditions. In recent years, the Egg Roll faced challenges due to the coronavirus outbreak, leading to cancellations by Presidents Trump and Biden, in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

As we look forward to the 2024 White House Easter Egg Roll, let’s celebrate its rich history, cherished traditions, and the joy it brings to families across the nation. It’s a time to come together to celebrate the United States and the Easter holiday.

Cited Sources:

“Easter Egg Roll: Fanfare and Keepsakes.” WHHA (En-US), 2022, www.whitehousehistory.org/easter-egg-roll-keepsakes. Accessed 22 Mar. 2024.

“Easter Egg Roll: Years without an Easter Monday.” WHHA (En-US), 2020, www.whitehousehistory.org/easter-egg-roll-wartime. Accessed 22 Mar. 2024.

“Easter Egg Roll: Games, Old and New.” WHHA (En-US), 2024, www.whitehousehistory.org/easter-egg-roll-games. Accessed 22 Mar. 2024.

“Origins of the White House Easter Egg Roll.” WHHA (En-US), 2023, www.whitehousehistory.org/origins-of-the-white-house-easter-egg-roll. Accessed 22 Mar. 2024.

Image Source:

“Gallery Item Display (U.S. National Park Service).” Nps.gov, 2024, www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery-item.htm?pg=2940588&id=0e506461-0bbe-437f-ae05-278532644125&gid=2EE520BE-1DD8-B71C-07A70F451399D44D. Accessed 22 Mar. 2024.

Unbought and Unbossed: Celebrating Shirley Chisholm’s Impact on Women’s History

During Women’s History Month this March, it’s crucial to honor the remarkable women who have paved the way for gender equality and empowerment. Among these trailblazers stands Shirley Chisholm, a fearless leader whose unwavering commitment to justice and equality continues to inspire women globally. At Sabre88, we are excited to contribute towards equalizing opportunities between genders, following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Shirley Chisholm. The unbought, unbossed empowerment and advocacy embodied by Chisholm similarly fuels our commitment to creating a more inclusive and equitable future for all. 

Shirley Anita Chisholm was born on November 30, 1924, in the vibrant borough of Brooklyn, New York. Raised by immigrant parents hailing from Guyana and Barbados, Chisholm’s upbringing instilled in her a deep sense of resilience and determination. Even from a young age, she displayed a fiery passion for education and social justice, propelling her towards a future of advocacy and leadership.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooklyn College in 1946, Chisholm embarked on a journey that would ultimately reshape American politics. With her sights set on breaking barriers and championing the rights of marginalized communities.

Shirley Chisholm made history in 1968 by becoming the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, representing New York’s 12th congressional district. Throughout her seven terms in Congress, she left an indelible mark on American politics by championing civil rights, women’s rights, and economic justice. Her fearless advocacy earned her the nickname “Fighting Shirley,” a testament to her unwavering commitment to principle.

During her tenure in Congress, Chisholm fearlessly fought for policies and legislation that aimed to address systemic inequalities and empower marginalized communities. She played a pivotal role in shaping laws that promoted social justice, including initiatives to expand access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities for all Americans. Chisholm’s relentless efforts paved the way for progress in areas such as voting rights, racial equality, and economic empowerment, leaving a lasting impact on the fabric of American society.

In addition to her legislative achievements, Chisholm’s groundbreaking presidential campaign in 1972 further solidified her legacy as a trailblazer in American politics. As the first African American woman to seek the nomination of a major political party, she shattered barriers and inspired generations of future leaders to pursue their dreams without limitations. Chisholm’s bold vision and unwavering dedication to justice continue to inspire activists and changemakers around the world, reminding us of the power of one individual to spark meaningful change.

Shirley Chisholm’s iconic slogan, “Unbought and Unbossed,” encapsulates her fearless spirit and refusal to conform to the status quo. Throughout her political career, she defied expectations and challenged the entrenched power structures that marginalized women and people of color. As the voice of the marginalized and disenfranchised, Chisholm shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for future generations of women to pursue their dreams and aspirations.

Shirley Chisholm’s impact extends far beyond her groundbreaking achievements in politics. Her legacy continues to inspire women and activists around the world, reminding us of the power of courage, resilience, and determination in the face of adversity. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Sabre88 would like to recognize the commitment Shirley Chisholm made to the fight for gender equality and empowerment.

Cited Sources:

Michals, Debra.  “Shirley Chisholm.”  National Women’s History Museum.  National Women’s History Museum, 2015. March 8, 2024. 

“Shirley Chisholm.” Biography, Biography, 4 May 2021, www.biography.com/political-figures/shirley-chisholm. Accessed 8 Mar. 2024.

Zapata, Christian. “Shirley Chisholm – Facts, Accomplishments & Legacy | HISTORY.” HISTORY, 18 Dec. 2009, www.history.com/topics/us-government-and-politics/shirley-chisholm. Accessed 8 Mar. 2024.

‌“Shirley Chisholm (November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005).” National Archives, 18 Nov. 2020, www.archives.gov/research/african-americans/individuals/shirley-chisholm. Accessed 8 Mar. 2024.

“Shirley Chisholm for President.” National Museum of African American History and Culture, 30 Sept. 2016, nmaahc.si.edu/shirley-chisholm-president. Accessed 8 Mar. 2024.

“Shirley A. Chisholm Biography» Women of the CBC» Avoice – Congressional Black Caucus Foundation» African American Voices in Congress.” Avoice – Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, 2022, avoice.cbcfinc.org/exhibits/women-of-the-cbc/shirley-a-chisholm-biography/. Accessed 8 Mar. 2024.

‌Photo Credit:

“Shirley Chisholm (American Politician and Activist) | Britannica.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2024, www.britannica.com/biography/Shirley-Chisholm/images-videos. Accessed 8 Mar. 2024.

The Role of the HubZone Program in Empowering Black Communities

In today’s society, economic disparities disproportionately affect communities of color, particularly Black communities. Amidst these challenges, initiatives like the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HubZone) program are positive opportunities for economic empowerment and growth. From limited access to capital and resources to systemic barriers in accessing opportunities, these disparities hinder economic advancement and perpetuate cycles of poverty and inequality. Addressing these issues requires intentional efforts and targeted initiatives aimed at leveling the playing field. Sabre88 has been enrolled within the HubZone program for the past year. In this blog post, we will discuss the significant role of the HubZone program in bridging economic disparities and empowering Black communities across the United States.

The HubZone program is a federal initiative established to stimulate economic development in distressed areas by providing preferential access to government contracts. The program targets areas characterized by high unemployment rates, low median household incomes, or a combination of both. Businesses located in these designated HubZones can gain certification, unlocking opportunities for growth and sustainability.

At the heart of the HubZone program lies its ability to empower Black communities by offering avenues for entrepreneurship and job creation. By designating targeted areas as HubZones, the program directs resources and investments to communities that have historically been overlooked or marginalized. The ripple effect from HubZone designations fosters local business development, promotes job opportunities, and spurs economic activity from within.

One of the most significant barriers facing Black entrepreneurs is access to capital and contracts. The HubZone program addresses this challenge head-on by providing preferential treatment in federal contracting opportunities, including set-asides and sole-source awards. This levels the playing field, allowing Black-owned businesses in HubZone areas to compete more effectively and secure lucrative contracts that drive growth and sustainability.

As we celebrate Black History Month, it’s essential to recognize the role of initiatives like the HubZone program in advancing economic equality and justice. Moving forward, we must continue to advocate for policies and programs that dismantle systemic barriers and uplift underserved communities. By doing so, we can create a future where economic opportunities are accessible to all, regardless of race or zip code.

The HubZone program represents more than just a government initiative; it symbolizes a commitment to bridging economic disparities and empowering Black communities. Sabre88 is proud to be a HubZone company that is actively pursuing HubZone contracts. Through strategic investments, targeted support, and unwavering dedication, we can build a more inclusive and equitable society that represents all individuals. As we reflect on the significance of Black History Month, here at Sabre88 we are committed to the ongoing journey toward economic justice and empowerment for all.

The Role of the 8(a) Program in Advancing Economic Equity for Black Entrepreneurs

As we celebrate Black History Month this February, it’s important to recognize the pivotal role of initiatives like the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program in fostering economic equity and empowerment for Black entrepreneurs. Sabre88 is a proud 8(a) program graduate, during our tenure in the program many of our opportunities stemmed from the SBA’s 8(a) program. In this blog post, you will delve into the historical context and significance of the 8(a) program, tracing its roots back to the efforts of trailblazers like Congressman Parren Mitchell, and examine how it continues to break barriers and drive positive change for Black-owned businesses today.

The Legacy of Parren Mitchell

In the face of systemic barriers and discrimination, Black entrepreneurs have long faced challenges in accessing resources, networks, and opportunities for business growth. The journey towards economic equity and empowerment has been paved with the relentless efforts of individuals like Congressman Parren Mitchell, who fought against institutionalized racism to open doors for future generations. Congressman Mitchell’s advocacy in Congress, particularly his role in crafting the legislation Public Law 95-507, laid the groundwork for programs that support minority-owned businesses, including the 8(a) program.

Parren Mitchell’s legacy as a champion for civil rights and economic empowerment continues to inspire today. His tireless efforts in Congress, including his chairmanship of the House Small Business Committee, were instrumental in advancing policies that promoted the interests of Black entrepreneurs. Mitchell’s vision and leadership paved the way for the creation of the federal set-aside program, which reserved contracts for socially disadvantaged businesses, including those owned by Black individuals.

The Birth of the 8(a) Program

Stemming from Congressman Mitchell’s legacy, the 8(a) Business Development Program was established to provide targeted assistance to small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. This program, rooted in the principles of equity and inclusion, offers a comprehensive suite of resources and support mechanisms, including mentorship, training, access to capital, and contracting opportunities. By leveling the playing field and addressing historical disparities, the 8(a) program aims to empower Black entrepreneurs to succeed in the competitive marketplace.

Through access to federal contracting opportunities, the 8(a) program enables Black entrepreneurs to tap into lucrative markets and expand their businesses. Moreover, participation in the program fosters capacity building and competitiveness through specialized training and networking events. The success stories emerging from the 8(a) program underscore its transformative impact, illustrating how targeted support can break down barriers and unlock the full potential of Black entrepreneurship.

As we reflect on the significance of Black History Month, it’s crucial to acknowledge the profound contributions of individuals like Parren Mitchell and the enduring legacy of their advocacy. Programs like the 8(a) Business Development Program stand as a testament to the progress we’ve made in advancing economic equity and empowerment for Black entrepreneurs. As a minority owned company, and an 8(a) graduate, Sabre88 honors the past and continues to invest in initiatives that promote inclusion and opportunity.  Together, we can continue to break barriers and build a more equitable future for all.

Cited Sources:

Why do we still celebrate Black History Month? What is the intersection of Black History and gov’t contracting? 


Black History Month 8(a) Government Contracting Program Webinar https://www.sba.gov/event/41616

Celebrating Black History Month: SBA Programs and Resources https://www.sba.gov/blog/2024/2024-02/celebrating-black-history-month-sba-programs-resources

Photo Credit:

2019 Parren J. Mitchell Dinner with Rep. Elijah Cummings https://www.md30dems.org/2019_parren_j_mitchell_dinner

Celebrating Black History Month: Exploring the origins and evolution of the month within the U.S. Government

Black History Month, is observed annually in February, and stands as a testament to the long list of contributions by African Americans for the United States of America. This month-long celebration has a profound history rooted in the struggle for civil rights and recognition of the achievements of the black community.

The roots of Black History Month trace back to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, often hailed as the “Father of Black History.” Dr. Woodson, an African American historian, scholar, and educator, recognized the need to highlight the historical and cultural achievements of black Americans. In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the first Negro History Week, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two iconic figures in the fight against slavery and for civil rights.

About Negro History Week

Negro History Week gained popularity across the nation, fostering a growing awareness of African American history. Over the years, communities, schools, and organizations began to embrace and expand the celebration, recognizing the importance of acknowledging black contributions throughout the entire  month of February.

Federal Government Recognition

The U.S. government played a pivotal role in recognizing and institutionalizing Black History Month. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month, urging Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” This marked a significant milestone, elevating the status of Black History Month and emphasizing its national importance.

Subsequent presidents continued to endorse and promote Black History Month through official proclamations. These proclamations not only recognized the historical contributions of African Americans but also encouraged educational institutions and communities to organize events, programs, and activities that celebrate the diversity and resilience of the black community.

The evolution of Black History Month within the U.S. government is reflected in its integration into educational curricula. Schools and colleges now actively incorporate African American history into their programs, ensuring that students gain a comprehensive understanding of the nation’s diverse heritage. Government initiatives, such as the National African American History Month theme designated annually, also contribute to shaping the narrative and highlighting specific aspects of black history.

Black History Month stands as a testament to the progress made in acknowledging the significant contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history. From its modest beginnings as Negro History Week to its recognition by the U.S. government, this celebration has become a cornerstone in fostering awareness, understanding, and appreciation for the diverse and invaluable impact of the black community. As we honor Black History Month each February, we continue to embrace the collective journey towards equality, justice, and a more inclusive future.

Cited Sources:

Black History Month: A Commemorative Observances Legal Research Guide https://guides.loc.gov/black-history-month-legal-resources/history-and-overview#:~:text=In%201975%2C%20President%20Ford%20issued,week%2Dlong%20observance%20to%20Black

Black History Month https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month

About Black History Month https://asalh.org/about-us/about-black-history-month/

African American History Month https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/annual-observances/african-american-history-month

February is Black History Month https://www.blackhistorymonth.gov/

What you need to know about the origins of Black History Month https://apnews.com/article/black-history-month-things-to-know

The Impact of Social Connection on Health

In today’s age of digital connectivity, where virtual communication thrives, an unexpected and concerning trend has emerged – the rise of social isolation and loneliness. Beyond the emotional toll, extensive studies spanning several decades have uncovered a profound impact on public health, highlighting the crucial role that social connections play in our overall well-being.

The Link Between Social Connection and Mortality

A wealth of evidence consistently demonstrates a clear link between social connection and mortality. Individuals with strong social ties tend to live longer, while social deficits, including isolation and loneliness, are associated with a higher risk of premature death. Recent estimates even suggest that the odds of survival increase by an impressive 50% with robust social connections, surpassing the impact of various well-known risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical inactivity.

Impact on Cardiovascular Health

The impact of social connection on physical health is particularly evident in the realm of cardiovascular diseases. Studies reveal that social isolation and loneliness significantly elevate the risk of heart disease and stroke. Poor social relationships are associated with a 29% increase in the risk of heart disease and a 32% increase in the risk of stroke. Recognizing these effects, the American Heart Association now acknowledges social isolation and loneliness as underrecognized determinants of cardiovascular health.

Heart failure patients reporting high levels of loneliness face an array of increased health risks, including higher rates of hospitalization, emergency department visits, and outpatient visits. Additionally, poor social connection is linked to a 55% greater risk of hospital readmission for heart failure patients, emphasizing the intricate link between social well-being and physical health.

Connection to Hypertension and Diabetes

Social support emerges as a critical factor in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, with greater support associated with a remarkable 36% lower risk of hypertension. This positive influence extends even to high-risk populations like Black Americans. Moreover, evidence suggests that social connection positively influences diabetes management, impacting self-care behaviors and overall health outcomes.

Infectious Diseases and Cognitive Function

Socially connected individuals exhibit stronger immune responses, providing a shield against infectious diseases. Loneliness and poor social support, on the other hand, have been linked to increased severity of illnesses caused by viruses like the common cold and flu. Additionally, chronic loneliness and social isolation are associated with accelerated cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia in older adults.

Depression and Anxiety

Social isolation and loneliness contribute significantly to the development and worsening of depression and anxiety. Individuals who frequently feel lonely face more than double the odds of developing depression. However, social connection serves as a protective factor, reducing the risk of depression even among those with a higher probability of developing the condition due to adverse life experiences.

In conclusion, the evidence presented underscores the critical role of social connection in individual health across various dimensions. As society grapples with an epidemic of loneliness and isolation, recognizing the profound impact of social connections on health becomes paramount. Investing in social infrastructure, fostering relationships, and prioritizing community engagement emerge as essential components of a comprehensive public health response. In building a healthier and more connected future, the power of human connection cannot be overstated.

Cited Sources:


* In some instances this document is used as the primary source and in some instances this document is used as a secondary source from which information has been provided.

Image Source:

Recognizing Social Isolation and Loneliness in Yourself and Those Around You

In a world that has become increasingly interconnected digitally, rising social isolation and loneliness has become a pressing concern. As discussed in our last article on the topic of social isolation and loneliness, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, the 19th and 21st Surgeon General of the United States, has been a vocal advocate for addressing these issues, emphasizing the profound impact they have on individual and societal health. As we navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of identifying symptoms of social isolation and loneliness in ourselves and those around us has never been more critical.

Dr. Murthy’s insights reveal a stark reality – loneliness is not just a fleeting emotion but a public health concern with far-reaching consequences. Loneliness is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death. Its effects are comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day and surpass those linked to obesity and physical inactivity. The consequences of a society lacking social connection are evident in diminished performance, productivity, and engagement in schools, workplaces, and civic organizations.

Glossary of Terms:

To comprehend the intricacies of social connection, it’s essential to be familiar with key terms such as belonging, collective efficacy, empathy, social capital, and social cohesion. These concepts form the foundation for understanding the dimensions of human connection and the potential risks associated with its absence. All terms were taken directly from the Department of Health and Human Services’ report on Social Isolation and Loneliness.

Belonging: A fundamental human need—the feeling of deep connection with social groups, physical places, and individual and collective experiences.

Collective Efficacy: The willingness of community members to act on behalf of the common good of the group or community. 

Empathy: The capability to understand and feel the emotional states of others, resulting in compassionate behavior.

Loneliness: A subjective distressing experience that results from perceived isolation or inadequate meaningful connections, where inadequate refers to the discrepancy or unmet need between an individual’s preferred and actual experience.

Social Isolation: Objectively having few social relationships, social roles, group memberships, and infrequent social interaction.

Social Capital: The resources to which individuals and groups have access through their social connections. The term social capital is often used as an umbrella for both social support and social cohesion.

Social Cohesion: The sense of solidarity within groups, marked by strong social connections and high levels of social participation, that generates trust, norms of reciprocity, and a sense of belonging.

*note: for a more detailed glossary of key terms please refer to the Department of Health and Human Services’ report on Social Isolation and Loneliness linked in the cited sources


Trends and Indicators:

Trends in community involvement, changes in social networks, and participation over time offer valuable insights into the state of social connection. Dr. Murthy’s advisory highlights the decline in social participation, particularly among young people, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in exacerbating these trends.

The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a magnifying glass on the issue of social isolation. It disrupted lives, postponed celebrations, and shifted education online, leaving many feeling lonely and isolated. Frontline workers, parents, and those at higher risk faced unique challenges, emphasizing the diverse impact of isolation.

Identifying Symptoms of Loneliness and Social Isolation:

1. Emotional Distress:

  • Anxiety and Stress: Persistent feelings of anxiety and stress, especially in social situations.
  • Depression: Prolonged periods of low mood, loss of interest in activities, and feelings of hopelessness.

2. Disruption in Daily Life:

  • Altered Routines: Sudden changes in daily habits, withdrawal from regular activities.
  • Decline in Productivity: Reduced engagement and performance at work or school.

3. Impact on Relationships:

  • Family Dynamics: Changes in familial connections, feeling distant or closer to family members.
  • Social Withdrawal: Avoidance of social interactions, including online communication.

4. Physical Health Changes:

  • Sleep Disturbances: Disrupted sleep patterns or chronic insomnia.
  • Weight Fluctuations: Unexplained weight loss or gain.

Support and Intervention:

Recognizing symptoms is the first step toward addressing social isolation and loneliness. Individuals experiencing these signs should consider reaching out to friends, family, or mental health professionals for support. Engaging in activities that foster social connections, whether through volunteering, joining clubs, or participating in community events, can be instrumental in breaking the cycle of isolation. In the next article we will discuss methods to support yourself and those around you.

Building a Connected Future:

As we emerge from the pandemic era, the lessons learned provide an opportunity to rebuild social connections intentionally. Prioritizing social infrastructure, engaging in community activities, and fostering relationships can contribute to a healthier and more connected society. At Sabre88, and more specifically within Sabre88, Discover65+, we are dedicated to sharing the growing concern of Social Isolation and Loneliness, specifically as it relates to the United State’s growing population of older adults.

In the words of Dr. Murthy, “Our future depends on what we do today.” Identifying and addressing symptoms of social isolation and loneliness is not just a personal responsibility but a collective endeavor to build a society where everyone feels seen, heard, and connected.

Cited Sources:


* In some instances this document is used as the primary source and in some instances this document is used as a secondary source from which information has been provided.

Image Source: