The Small Business Administration redefined what it means to be small in several different business categories, allowing larger firms to qualify for government contracts reserved for small businesses.

The changes announced Thursday are a result of public comment on proposed adjustments to the SBA sizing standards.

After the change, effective July 22, more businesses will be eligible for SBA loans, and federal agencies will be able to consider a larger pool of small businesses for contracts.

As a result of the changes, more than 7,800 additional businesses will qualify in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector, 7,400 in the finance and insurance and companies and enterprises sectors, 1,450 in arts, entertainment and recreation, and 475 in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector, the SBA said.

The SBA will continue reviewing size standards for the next several years as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Those wishing to submit comment on the rules can do so at www.regulations.gov.