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8(a) hearing in Seattle draws large turnout

Several prominent members of the Alaska Native community travelled to Seattle last week to participate in the Small Business Administration's tribal consultation and public hearing on proposed changes to 8(a) regulations. Those testifying at the hearing included Gail Schubert from Bering Straits, Calista's Matthew Nicolai, Maver Carey who leads the Alaska Native Village CEO Association, and Sealaska's CEO Chris McNeil.

The hearings are designed to gather input on the proposed amendments released by the SBA in late October. Many Alaska Native corporate leaders echoed each other's testimony on some of the highly technical proposals.

One issue to generate unanimous disagreement is the proposed change that would allow SBA to graduate a firm from the 8(a) program if it exceeds the size standard of its primary NAICS code for two straight years. Many noted this was contrary to the diversification needs of many businesses, that revenue was not the accurate gauge for a business' success, and that two years was not enough time to build a competitive capability that would be sustainable.

The Seattle hearing is one of two tribal consultations planned by the SBA. The second is scheduled for January 14 in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the American Indian Cultural Center. The deadline to pre-register to participate in the Albuquerque consultation is January 8.

Albuquerque consultation is January 8. Click Here to read more about the Albuquerque hearing and how to testify.

Click Here to read the proposed 8(a) amendments published in the Federal Register.

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