The challenge

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a government agency that helps entrepreneurs and small business owners find funding to help them start and grow their companies. The SBA had developed a complex application process that heavily relied on paperwork. Small business owners who applied to the SBA faced a long and cumbersome process that included multiple entry points to register, lots of paper forms, and printing. Over the years, the SBA tried four separate times to modernize its systems, but due to the project’s sheer complexity, each attempt failed to produce a cohesive design. CDW, with our agile approach and record of excellence and efficiency, was the perfect choice for a partner who could lead the complex process of modernization using digital transformation.


The solution

CDW’s goal was to help the SBA deploy a modern, cloud-based program application platform and case management solution that would enable small business owners to apply for programs in a fully digital environment for the first time in SBA history. 

CDW’s end-to-end solution included:

  • An agile approach to development
  • Helping the SBA pass security requirements
  • Training and support

In addition to helping the SBA build a cloud solution, CDW also offered the agency extra support to keep everything running effectively and smoothly. CDW provided extensive training at each location and, for the first years, helped fill critical roles until the SBA was fully up and running on its own.



As a result of CDW’s work, four different SBA programs were moved into one easy application system:

  • The 8(a) Business Development Program
  • The Women-Owned Small Business Program (WOSB)
  • Economically Disadvantaged WOSBs (EDWOSBs)
  • All Small Mentor Protégé Program (ASMPP)

The new platform streamlined the process, eliminated redundancies so applicants would only have to apply once. This reduced the program application burden for firms from 120 hours to less than 45 minutes. Today over 100,000 users interact with SBA digitally each year — without the need for paper. Prior to the platform, SBA personnel exchanged files with up to 2500 sheets of paper through the mail, causing long delays and expensive shipping costs. With the new application, firm records are now available for all SBA authorized personnel to view at anytime, anywhere. As a bonus, the reduction in paper and printer needs reduced costs for both SBA and participating firms. The speed has also drastically increased, with the SBA now able to process three times the number of applications with ease. 

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