Monday, October 4, 2010

Three Alaska Native Firms Want SBA 8(a) Program Reformed

Three prominent Alaska Native corporations say the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program needs to be changed, as reported on Oct. 3 by the Anchorage Daily News.

Native contracting has grown exponentially since the 8(a) program was created. Although developed to help increase the number of small, disadvantage companies participating in federal contracts, the program has over recent years been seriously criticized, and there have been allegations of abuse. Alaska Native firms have become major players in the program, but they have also attracted a lot of the scrutiny due to a small number of them violating the rules.

The Alaska Native firms that want the program changed — Cook Inlet Region, Inc., Doyon and Arctic Slope — have come up with a nine-point reform package, which, as the article says, mirrors revisions already proposed by the SBA and to be finalized later this year. Among the firms’ proposed changes are: requiring Native 8(a) contractors to annually disclose how they have benefited shareholders and tribal members and capping the size of contracts at $100 million.

"To reform it is to save it," Margie Brown, chief executive of Cook Inlet Region, told Anchorage Daily News.

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