SBA 8(a) reforms promote accountability, transparency

CIRI, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation (ASRC) and Doyon, Limited are encouraged by reforms published Feb. 11 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The reforms promote accountability and transparency in the 8(a) business development program without denying opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged companies to develop sustainable businesses.

CIRI, ASRC and Doyon proposed a slate of viable and responsible reforms to the SBA in September 2010 to increase competition and accountability in 8(a) contracting while reducing the potential for abuse. For example, in response to draft regulations issued in 2009, CIRI, ASRC and Doyon proposed to prohibit the “rollover” of 8(a) sole-source contracts from one 8(a) participant to an affiliated 8(a) company owned by the same organization. CIRI, ASRC and Doyon are pleased that the SBA took its comments into consideration and adopted their proposed approach.

“CIRI, ASRC and Doyon worked with the SBA to improve the 8(a) program to ensure that it continues to support the business owners it was designed to serve,” said Margie Brown, CIRI president and chief executive officer.

The new reform does not dismantle existing federal Indian policy. Current congressional legislation targeting Alaska Native corporations’ participation in the 8(a) program would effectively amend the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971, the very act by which Alaska Native corporations were created.

“The rule-making process has been long and difficult for the Alaska Native community. The SBA struck a meaningful balance by protecting government and taxpayer interests with these reforms while continuing to provide economic opportunities for disadvantaged businesses,” said Rex Rock Sr., president and chief executive officer of ASRC.

Norm Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Doyon said, “Congress expanded competitive opportunities for Alaska Native corporations under the 8(a) program to benefit thousands of Alaska Native shareholders, families and individuals, and this should remain a priority of the federal government.”

View a copy of the reform proposal and a letter to SBA Administrator Karen Mills on CIRI’s news feed at