ADVANTAGES OF A NATIVE AMERICAN FIRM

There are a number of specific advantages available to Native American-owned enterprises. A partial listing includes:

1. Department of Defense Indian Subcontracting Program – The Native American Incentive Act (FAR 52.226-1) that implements 25 USC 1544, provides an incentive to Department of Defense prime contractors who use Indian organizations and Indian-owned economic enterprises as subcontractors. If a contracting officer includes in an RFP the clause at 52.226-1 that is titled “Utilization of Indian Organizations and Indian-Owned Economic Enterprises,” the program provides for an incentive payment equal to 5% of the amount subcontracted to the Indian organization or Indian-owned economic enterprise.

2. SBA 8(a) Program - Companies with at least 50% of the equity owned by an Indian or Alaskan Native Tribe may also be eligible for certification by the Small Business Administration as an 8(a), “American Indian–Tribally Owned Concern, Small Disadvantaged Business” (SDB). This classification allows the federal government to award contracts to qualified firms on a “sole-source” basis beyond the standard $3 million 8(a) limitation. The affiliation rules that are normally applicable to size standard determinations by the SBA do not apply to tribal 8(a) enterprises. Tribes may form and operate multiple 8(a) companies without regard to affiliation if the NAIC codes are unique to each. Tribally owned enterprises do not have to be in business for the two-year minimum period usually required by SBA regulation if they can provide an acceptable business plan indicating the firm can meet the various performance requirements established by the SBA for 8(a) companies (13 CFR 124.109(c)(6)(ii)).

3. Sole Source - Through sole source contracts, businesses are given an opportunity to enter the government-contracting arena and gain the experience necessary to compete in the full and open market. Competitive bidding on limited opportunities allows 8(a) contractors to gain valuable experience in various market arenas. Under 13 CFR 124.506(b), the Small Business Administration may award sole-source federal contracts to tribally-owned, certified 8(a) companies without regard to contract value. This CFR provision exempts contracts to 8(a) companies owned by Indian or Alaska Native tribes from the competitive dollar-limit thresholds of other 8(a) contracts. Also, protests by other contractors are not allowed with respect to a tribally-owned company in connection with such sole-source contracts. IDIQ contracting with tribally-owned entities has proven especially lucrative for some tribally-owned organizations.