Opinion: Native corporations seek reforms in federal contracting
"The Small Business Administration 8(a) program is a valuable tool for Alaska Native corporations fulfilling the mission of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) to be engines of economic and social development. And, in the face of increased scrutiny of businesses participating in the federal procurement system, it must be sharpened.

The Small Business Administration's (SBA) 8(a) business development program helps qualified small and disadvantaged businesses pursue certain federal contracts. Alaska Native corporations are certified as minority-owned, disadvantaged SBA 8(a) businesses under laws enacted by Congress.

As corporations that represent the interests of thousands of Alaska Native shareholders and their descendants, we recognize that change to the 8(a) program is inevitable. By proposing changes, we become an important part of the process. Without participating in the process, Native 8(a) companies risk losing the right to participate in the program. We cannot let that happen.

Last week, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, CIRI and Doyon Limited submitted proposed reforms to the 8(a) program -- "The Agenda for Transparency, Accountability and Integrity" -- to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Our proposed reforms will increase accountability and decrease the potential for abuse while maintaining the program's goal to encourage the growth of sustainable businesses that directly improve the livelihood of socially and economically disadvantaged populations."

Get the Story:
Rex A. Rock, Margaret L. Brown and Norman L. Phillips: Proposal will help Native corporations grow into future (The Anchorage Daily News 9/22)