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Alaska Native Corporations and the Federal Construction Market – How to Help and How to Benefit

Have you heard all the buzz around Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and their positive impacts on the federal-contracting market? Meridian West always encourages fostering working relationships with various small business (SBs) concerns and here we are summarizing why ANCs could be your company’s next checkmate.

The US Congress passed the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) in 1971, dividing Alaska into 12 geographic regions, each region containing numerous smaller “Village Corporations,” totaling about 225 corporations organized under Alaska law. Eventually, a 13th Regional Corporation was subsequently formed for non-resident Alaska Natives.

Congress enacted ANCSA in an effort to provide a means for Alaska Natives to receive economic benefits from the resources around them. Development of their surrounding resources offered ANCs an opportunity to generate jobs and other economic benefits for their shareholders. Originally missing from the ANCSA, was promising business opportunities and relationships to Alaskan corporations. Subsequently, a contracting status offered by the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) 8(a) Program between ANCs and the federal government complemented ANCSA, by providing true business opportunities and fostering economic self-determination for Alaska Natives and Small, Disadvantaged Businesses (SDBs).

Since ANCSA was enacted, and through this 21st Century, entire communities have been lifted. ANCs have benefited regions of economically and socially disadvantaged people. They have funded shareholders, created thousands of jobs and donated millions for cultural and social programs. Additionally, ANCs have provided subsistence programs, scholarships, internships and youth programs, land leasing and gifting, employment assistance, management training, support of non-profits, as well as elder benefits and burial assistance.

ANCs have been learning the complex intricacies of government contracting and how to compete in this competitive industry. The growth of ANCs indicates that the Native 8(a) program is working. They have gained unprecedented experience in the contracting industry including design, engineering and construction.

Developing relationships and hiring ANC companies has distinct advantages for federal contractors including:

  • Sole Source – ANC 8(a) firms are eligible to receive sole-source 8(a) contracts regardless of dollar size, with no upper limit, while other 8(a) firms may only receive sole-source contracts up to $3 million for services and $5 million for manufacturing.

  • SDB for Subcontracts – Subcontracts awarded to an ANC can be counted toward a Prime Contractor’s SB subcontracting goal, regardless of the ANCs size or SBA certification status.

  • 5% Subcontracting Incentive Bonus – Department of Defense (DOD) contractors that subcontract with a firm that is 51% or more Native American owned is entitled to receive a bonus equal to 5% of the amount of the subcontract award.

To fully put all their rights and opportunities to work and continue supporting their communities, ANCs often need mentoring from large established government-contracting firms that can help guide them through the difficult DOD contracting processes and provide technical support while the firms are building in-house capabilities. Working with ANCs provides DOD contractors an opportunity to help the local economies in Alaska, meet SDB goals, financially benefit from their competitive workforces and sole-source eligibility as well as help with future legislative initiatives.

Connecting and counting on each other is an integral part of this industry. Let’s utilize each other and our resources to make our biggest goals a reality. If you’re interested in learning more about ANCs, or if you are an ANC and need help navigating the giant federal proposal field, please give Meridian West a call anytime.


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