The SBA is responsible for the management and oversight of the small business procurement process across the federal government and is the voice of small businesses across the nation. The 8(a) Business Development Program was created by SBA to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the federal marketplace. Sealaska currently has six subsidiaries participating in the 8(a) Program. It’s vital that SBA representatives have a deep understanding of Alaska and the importance of contracting with Alaska Native-owned businesses. This understanding will support representation in Washington D.C. for all Alaska, American Indian and Native Hawaiian businesses.
“Sealaska applauds the SBA’s initiatives to stimulate small business development and believes the 8(a) Program is working and benefiting Alaska Native Corporations as intended,” said Sealaska Vice President and General Counsel Jaeleen Araujo. “There is also a tremendous need to benefit rural Alaska and tribal governments. Under the SBA there are different procurement areas that tribal and Alaska Native Corporations such as Sealaska have special rights. Alaska Native-owned corporations, tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations qualify for federal procurement preferences based on their shared ownership and the benefits they provide.”
The Native American Contractors Association released a 2011 Economic Impact Study that served as an illustration of the importance and success of Natives participating in the SBA 8(a) Program. In part the study shows:
In fiscal year 2011, Native 8(a) contractors sold $6.8 billion worth of goods and services to the federal government, down slightly from $7.6 billion the prior year. The 2011 Native 8(a) federal contracting represented:
1.3% of all federal procurement;
40.0% of all Section 8(a) contracting; and
6.7% of all small business contracting
Surveys from about half the membership of the Native American Contractors Association, representing about half of the Native 8(a) contracting volume in 2010, recorded employment of 56,076 people and distributions of $111.5 million in the following manner:
Owner dividends $65.9 million
Scholarships $15.3 million
Direct community expenditures $24.0 million
Donations to non-Native groups $6.4 million
Results of participating in the SBA program allow Sealaska to build capacity, thus allowing us to diversify our operations. One example includes establishing Haa Aani, LLC.