Government Contracting

The Native 8(a) program demonstrates Congress’ commitment to promoting tribal self-determination and self-sufficiency. This business development program reflects the unique character of Native communities and their responsibility to provide governmental services and other benefits to their members. It also offers a critical tool to prepare the next generation of Native leaders to lead economic enterprises that benefit all Americans.

To promote economic development for American Indian tribes and Alaska Native Regional and Village Corporations (ANCs), Congress authorized their participation in the Small Business Act’s Section 8(a) Business Development program. When certified as an eligible 8(a) participant, American Indian tribes and ANC start-up businesses may contract with the federal government under terms that permit a federal agency to award a contract not subject to the competitive threshold that applies to individually owned 8(a) companies and allows tribes and ANCs to operate multiple 8(a) firms. Congress purposefully created these distinctions to further its federal trust obligation to American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and to provide tools to combat escalating poverty in tribal communities and to remedy the low level of American Indian and Alaska Native participation in the government contracting industry.

NCAI has long sought reforms to improve the program and has worked with partners in the federal government to establish best practices in 8(a) contracting.  The 8(a) Business Development program has demonstrated that it brings revenue growth, employment, profits, and social investment to tribal communities.